“I have no choice. I hear your voice. Feels like flying.”
If you love Madonna or remember who she is–please say you do–these eleven words from Like a Prayer, her 1989 pop hit, may prompt your musical heart to soar.
On June 4 and 5 at the Tempe Center for the Arts, these lyrics also will comprise my solo in the Homecoming concert with the Phoenix Gay Men’s Chorus.
I’m a lifelong lover of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and an ardent Arizona admirer of a majestic bald eagle that likes to pose atop a telephone pole along Hayden Road near Chapparal Park in Scottsdale every May.
Still, I don’t know what it feels like to actually fly without the aid of an aircraft.
No matter. Singing has always felt like flying–or what I imagine it to be–with the wind lifting me up as I spread my wings and raise my voice. Particularly the sensation of standing on a stage and harmonizing with a chorus of like-minded, artistic-and-musical souls.
The last time I sang a solo on stage was 1979. I was a senior at the University of Missouri and performed On and On (the way-too-precious-sounding Stephen Bishop tune) with a vocal jazz ensemble of fresh-scrubbed faces and silky-smooth voices. We called ourselves The Singsations. (I know. It was pretty corny.)
Anyway, if you’re a Baby Boomer, you know the lyrics from Bishop’s 1976 song …“Down in Jamaica, they got lots of pretty women. Steal your money, then they break your heart …”
At that point, pretending to be a straight man, I wasn’t in touch with my true orientation. It would be June 2010–long after the birth of my two sons and a failed first marriage–before I would discover the safe haven and friendship of the Windy City Gay Chorus in Chicago.
But from 2010 to 2017, I never auditioned for a solo with Windy City. I was content to be a voice among voices.
In 2022–in the autumn of my life a month before my sixty-fifth birthday, in a city where it feels like summer lasts forever–I will be singing my next solo. I’ll be surrounded by a community of about forty gay friends.
As you might imagine I’m excited and a little nervous … waiting to take the stage on June 4 and 5 with more than a dozen friends and family in the audience.
I know I will savor every note of the experience. No doubt, it will feel like flying.