On September 19, 2018, Judith Nelson called a meeting at The LGBT Community Center in Denver, Colorado to gather those interested in starting a choir for LGBTQ and Ally seniors. We had our first rehearsal on Sunday, October 7 at First Baptist Church on14th and Grant. Here are Judith's opening remarks:
Judith Nelson's Invitation
Welcome! We are so glad to have each and every one of you here at our Lunch and Learn in which we will delve into the possibility of forming a senior chorus for our Denver metro LGBT community, something that, as far as we know, has not been done before anywhere!
My name is Judith Nelson, a 74 year old lesbian who has a wonderful partner of 35 years, Carol White. Many of you know Carol’s work in the gay choral community. She is saying that she is not wanting to start another chorus at this point, but her partner is!!
Judith Nelson, 2018
So WHY? I became inspired when we viewed this movie Young at Heart, about a straight chorus for seniors, all of whom are over 80 years old. We all know that in our culture old people are not valued as highly as youth are. AND of course in our culture LGBT folks, frankly, are not valued as highly either. SO - we have a double whammy, being old and gay. (I’d like to simply use the word gay to include all LGBTs for convenience purposes today.) And so - its time to stop “apologizing” for who we are! Its time to stop hiding. It's time to quit pretending that we are not as old as we are. It's time to stop supporting the huge anti-aging industry!
Our lives have been unique, as well as varied. We have seemingly seen it all - stories of bullying, marrying someone of the opposite sex in order to fit in or get cured, hiding in the closet, rejection by families of origin, our churches, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, ETC. The kids coming up now are reaping huge benefits from “standing on our shoulders,” as we also reaped huge benefits from standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. SO - in my opinion, the time is perfect for us not only to accept all of this, but also to zestfully EMBRACE and CELEBRATE and share our lives by SINGING, during this challenging, unique and wonderful time in our lives.
The aforementioned film is 1 hour and 49 minutes. We will only look at about 20 minutes of it, and if you wish, you would be able to finish it on your own. I also want to say here that IF we do establish a singing group, I hope that we do not call it Young at Heart. I think that using the term “young” precludes the incredible life experiences that we all have had, and DID NOT have while we were “young.”
Following the movie snippet, our young conductor Kevin Crowe (and how can we be so lucky) will do a mini presentation. Kevin conducts 2 other community choirs in the area. A couple of interesting things about him: he spent his first 2 college years at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and he has been with his partner for 14 years. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s in music. He is very interested in making our musical experiences together ones that are relevant to our singers and our audience. I also have a personal goal, that being that our group travels to Minneapolis for the 2020 GALA Choruses conference (and if you have never attended a GALA conference, you must talk with someone who has!), and we perform there, perhaps with seniors from other cities, where there has never before been a gay senior chorus performing. So - please enjoy, and thank you again for being here today.