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Archive for May, 2009

…busy…

Suddenly I’m very busy. I’m singing two concerts with The Good Choir and they have lots of rehearsals.

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Yesterday was Tertiary Adjunct’s 9th birthday. (Younger brother of the twins 1of2 and 2of2) I had planned to wish him a happy birthday, but of course I chickened out. I failed to ask 1of2 and 2of2 about the dance they were doing in the parking lot last week too. Most of the older choirboys were doing it. Some sword dance for the end of the school year festivities it seems. Oh well.

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The Boys are moving in in July. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it will please my father to have another source of rent. And it will ease my burdon slightly having someone to share the utilities. Also, I’ll have company again.

On the other hand, I’ll have company again. I’ve gotten very comfortable living alone. Not needing to be careful at home. Not only will I need to keep myself more in check (I won’t be able to write these entries at my kitchen table) but I wouldn’t put it entirely past Boy Wonder to snoop. He and Bread Winner are convinced that I’m gay and just need some help coming out. Problem is, these two are not high on my list of people who can handle the truth. So I’m going to need to be extra cafeful. All sensitive files must be protected, papers kept locked away.

I probably need a safe. I can’t afford one, but it would solve many issues. I could keep my journals and all my other writings in it confident that they wouldn’t be casually browsed while I’m in England.

I’m going to England. Did I fail to mention that? I sang an Evensong at another church last week. After the service, the director asked if I’d be available to tour England with them over the summer. Turns out, I am.

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I have to get to bed soon. Hour drive to rehearsal tomorrow morning.

It amazes me every time I go to an English Cathedral Choir concert, that first note sung by the boys. Such an incredible, beautiful, surprising sound. I hope I never get used to it, no matter how often I hear it.

I hear the sound quite often in recording. I suppose I just am so used to the sound coming from a speaker that when i hear it live, seeing the beautiful creatures in front of me, hearing the whole pure unadulterated sound is so transporting.

Company seems to be a good tool to stave off the depression that these concerts can bring. Either that, or i’m just in an emotionally different place today that doesn’t lead to depression. But I met a woman who sat next to me at the concert today. She thought I looked familiar. Eventually we figured out that she played in the orchestra when I sang Jesus in a performace of St. John’s Passion a few years ago.

The concert was of one of the most major English Cathedral Choirs. Obviously, they’re very good. But it was plain they had quite a few subs in the men’s section that weakened them. The boys, however, were amazing. There were several soloists, but none that affected me quite like that one nameless boy from the last concert I went to. He still makes me shiver.

I don’t have time to write down all my thoughts. I have to go to bed.

I hope I can read this later. (note: It was hard work, but I was able to figure out everything I wrote without resorting to guessing.)

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Dread

I’m teaching voice lessons from 3 to 9 tomorrow. I really don’t want to. As in, I’m absolutely dreading it.

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I am listening to one of the first CDs I ever bought. When I was 13 my mother took me to the newly opened Borders in the town. I selected two CDs to buy with my allowance that remain among my favorites in my now considerable collection. Exultate is a Vienna Boychoir CD featuring soloist Max Emanuel Cencic.  Only one track does not have him as a soloist, and only two tracks actually involve the choir. The rest are purely Max solos (or duets). I didn’t know that when I bought it, but I was pretty happy about it when I realized it. When I initially brought them home, Exultate was my preferred CD. I didn’t much care for the other after giving it a thorough listen.

That other is The Music of Westminster Cathedral Choir. Many of the tracks are 20th century works, and my 13-year-old ears didn’t care for that music. A few years later, however, my preference switched. I guess I matured enough and learned how to listen enough to enjoy the more modern music.

As I listen to the music tonight, the Unknowable Longing is in full force. Listening to those sublime boys’ voices, sweet clear, gentle or forceful according to the demands of the song, that familiar, almost friendly melancholy overtakes me and I race and struggle to put a name to it. (The power of the name.) All the usual suspects are considered and, as usual, set aside but not dismissed.

I love the music. The glorious, perfect beauty of the Renaissance polyphony. The exciting, exhilarating power of the 20th century compositions. So many different types of songs from different eras. I want to sing them, yes. I want to hear them life. But that’s not quite it. Hearing kjese songs, or performing them with women’s voices would be wonderful, but wouldn’t fulfill that longing. The boys’ voices are very important. Singing the Mendelssohn “Ave Maria“, I would feel this longing even in the middle of the performance. Yet when I consider singing it with boys, I still can’t conceive being satisfied.

If I were to go to London and join the Westminster Cathedral Choir I’m sure I’d still feel this way.

One last possibility occurs to me. One I hope is not true. Maybe this longing isn’t to sing with boys, but as a boy. To be a cusping 13-year-old (alas, my voice changed at 11, so I never had that pleasure) whose voice would soar through those Palestrina motets and Britten and Martin masses. If that is the answer, then I can never fulfill this need no matter how long I live, how much I accomplish.

However, if the name has as much power as it is said (I suspect is does) I feel that simply speaking (or writing) that desire would give some modicum of satisfaction. It doesn’t. It should be a relief just to know what I want. So it doesn’t feel like the answer. So along with singing the music and singing with boys, wanting to sing as a boy goes in the category of “true, but not the answer.”

It also occurs to me that how I feel has nothing to do with boylove. I think I mentioned that before. That, too, doesn’t feel quite true, but it’s worth considering. Maybe this feeling which manifests so deeply, primally, is the nature of music. Maybe music is an expression of a feeling that has no name. Do non-boylover-music-lovers experience this Unknowable Longing when they hear the music they love best? What half-formed imagery flits through their minds, ungraspable?

Sometimes I wish I could speak to a psychologist. Someone who knows how to poke around in the subconscious to help me name my desires.

 


 

Sometimes, when I feel this way, it makes me think that I should never listen to this music again. Save myself the pain. But writing about it really helped today. The Longing is still there, but it has its pleasant bittersweet quality now. Pen and paper. Cheaper than a shrink.

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The Boys (once again, not actually children) are gay.  OK.  Established.  Their best friend, Grace, sometimes gets annoyed with them because quite frequently when they’re talking about someone, or they pass an attractive male stranger on the street, they’ll immediately say, “he’s gay.”  It angers Grace, so she usually responds, “not every man is gay.”

That’s true.  Not every man is gay.  Know what else is true?  Not every man is a boylover.  But some are.  Enough are that it’s very likely that most people know one personally.  But more than that, it’s almost guaranteed that some famous people are.  Especially when you think that, often people who are in some way different make the best artists.  They’re insane, or have some deep trauma or a substance addiction.  Or they’re socially repressed because of their sexuality.

The stereotype of homosexuals in the arts, especially music, theatre and dance, didn’t come out of nowhere.  There are more gay people in those arts than in most other professional fields.  Quite likely because it gives them a more socially acceptable way to be self-expressive.  It will be interesting to see if increased societal acceptance of homosexuality will result in fewer gay performers, or if there is something else about the sexual orientation that leads them to the arts anyway.

But if the above theory is correct, and homosexuals go into the arts to escape a repressive society, then the arts would also attract boylovers.  It attracted me, anyway.  I am a musician because I am a boylover.  But I think I’ve expressed that before.  (Inspiration)  On the other hand, boylovers tend to like to stay out of sight, and on a stage doesn’t exactly fit that pattern.

But that’s not the point.  The point is, I just watched Unbreakable.  I’d seen it once before right when it came out, but I left it needed rewatching.

Just like The Boys, I can’t help guessing about others.  Are they like me?  There are certain things I do, interests I have, patterns I follow, that I do because of my sexuality and that give me away to those who know me.  It’s why The King and MFotF found me out.  I like boy performers, obviously.  Movies with them, choirs, dancers.  So when I see that pattern in others, I always wonder.

Consider this.  Wide Awake.  Stars Joseph Cross, 12 years old at time of release.  Sixth Sense.  Pivots around Haley Joel Osment (beloved boy of many boylovers), 11 years old at time of release.  Unbreakable.  Spencer Treat Clark, 13 years old at time of release, is a central character (and gives a very moving and endearing performance, I might add).  Signs.  Rory Culkin, 13 years old at time of release.  (A very young looking 13.)

Now as the King would tell me, this isn’t proof of anything, and I’m not trying to suggest anything.  It’s just a pattern.  One that strikes me.  It’s also a pattern that breaks down when you continue down the list of M. Night Shyamalan’s film credits.  On the other hand, something else breaks down with his most recent three movies.  Quality.  His newer movies have not been as well received as those with major boy characters.  And I don’t think that’s just because the movie going public started to learn his tricks.  The movies just aren’t as good.  Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Shyamalan has less emotionally invested in the newer movies.

So, the point is I don’t want to be like The Boys.  I don’t want to say every time I see someone pick up a Libera CD, “Oh, he must be a boylover.”  I want to believe that people can be interested, even passionately so, in boychoirs without being boylovers.  Same for boy actors, dancers, etc.  Because if it isn’t true, then:

  1. I truly am telegraphing my sexuality to the world, and all the world has to do is wise up and I’m outed.
  2. If the world wises up, these wonderful artists will lose their outlet, their audience, their venues.
  3. What a sad, pitiful species is man if the only thing that can get us to appreciate art is sex.

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