Life gets messy at times. For instance, Tuesday morning Tom and I were grocery shopping at Fry’s near our home in south Scottsdale. We picked up a pint of blueberries and placed them in our cart.
As we turned the corner and left the produce section, the container popped open. Half of the contents spilled out and tumbled to the floor. Some smashed and splattered. Others rolled fifty feet away.
Of course, accidents happen. We apologized. We helped a few kind Fry’s employees clean up the mess.
On the other end of life’s spectrum, there are spectacular moments that produce a cascade of love and joy. Crescendo moments we imagine and envision on paper, which work out better than we had planned. Seminal moments that transcend our dreams.
Last weekend was filled with those moments–standing on stage at Tempe Center for the Arts with about seventy of my Phoenix Gay Men’s Chorus mates, manufacturing an amazing blend of transformative music and stirring stories for three appreciative, enthusiastic, and occasionally tearful audiences. (They were simply responding to the heartfelt, emotional, honest Born to Be Brave moments that revealed themselves on stage.)
From stage right on the top riser, I sang as a chorus member and watched as a writer. With style, panache, and musicality, five of my chorus friends embodied and embellished a quintet of LGBTQ characters I created months before.
Over the course of the past few months, I’ve observed as they’ve evolved: Bry, a trans character from Idaho who found their voice with the support of friends; Toni, a bisexual artist with an unruly heart of gold; Gregory, a wise-and-resilient survivor of the AIDS-plagued 1980s; Les, an ultra-available, funny and sexy accountant; and Q, a young, flamboyant, energetic, queer leader who owns the stage and won’t be denied.
The premise? In an ode to A Chorus Line, they all audition for the Phoenix Gay Men’s Chorus in Act One. Ultimately, in Act Two, they each grow and join the group. They take the stage. They sing and dance. They find their voices and a new community of friends. In the show’s finale, they perform with the chorus and realize they were born to be brave.
Now, a few days have passed. The show is over. The blueberries at Fry’s have been cleaned up. I’m enjoying the high of a successful performance and artistic experience … the creative aftermath … but also recognizing the lull that comes after.
I’m beginning to regain my energy. (I left a lot of it on stage last weekend.) I’m also realizing the power of music and theatre. Friends who attended the concert have told me how much they enjoyed the show, and what a positive emotional impact it had on them–seeing and hearing the triumphant stories of five LGBTQ characters told through music in a world and community that needs love in all its forms … in all its splendor.
It gives me solace to know that — maybe — all of my chorus members and I have helped to create and produce sweet, luscious blueberries for the brave. To help nourish all of us on the rocky road of life.