I was singing with my brothers, I was singing with my friends

Good morning and happy Saturday! Last week I wrote a bit about the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat and I referred to the guys with whom I had the great pleasure of attending this retreat with as my brothers. That term applies to every guy at every retreat, not just the most recent one, and not just the guys who come back year after year. This week, I promised to write more about my experience with the Albany Gay Men’s Chorus and many of the same words I used to describe my knitting retreat experiences apply to the chorus as well.

A year and a half ago I took a big step outside of my comfort zone when I joined the Albany Gay Men’s Chorus, and wrote about my experience right before the first spring concert I performed in with the chorus. Here we are now a year later and I not only survived that spring concert, I survived the winter concert as well. Now my second spring concert with the chorus is next weekend.

In between the spring and winter concerts there have been many other smaller performances. Sometimes it is the national anthem at a hockey or baseball game, or a selection of songs from our concert for at some other type of event. Last night we sang at the First Friday Concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Albany. Here is one of the songs we performed, and will be performing again in our concert next weekend.

Am I any less nervous? Of course I am. Am I any more musically literate that I was at this time last year? Yes, but not much more. The ability to name those notes on the page on sight still eludes me, but there is a lot more to reading sheet music than naming the notes which I do feel significantly more confident with. I’m getting there with the notes though. Really, I am.

One of the biggest reasons I have continued with this journey despite my struggles with musical illiteracy is how welcoming these guys are and how supported and valued I feel as part of the group. At a recent rehearsal session we were asked to describe, on video, our AGMC experience in one word. I declined to do so mostly because at that point in the day, and for several reasons, I was not very comfortable appearing on camera (and honestly, I never am) but also because one word would simply not have been enough to describe my experience with this amazing group of men.

One word that did come up often from those who did participate is ‘community’ and I am so incredibly grateful to be a part of this chorus and what we contribute not just to the LGBT community but to our local community as a whole, and also for how we support each other within the group as well. At the last couple of men’s knitting retreats I asked the guys who had been to multiple retreats to think about what it was about their firs time experience that made them want to come back, and I asked them to do their best to help make that part of the experience for our first timers. I have taken the same appproach with new members of the chorus who have joined us since my first concert cycle. I want them to feel as welcome and supported as I was made to feel my first time, and I hope they do the same with the new chorus member who come after them.

Learning the music and how to perform it is hard work, but these guys make it genuinely fun. Do I still get nervous before we perform? Of course! Do I still question my competence and ability to perform well what we spent the last six months working on? Of course! But my confidence has outgrown my nervousness and fear and that is all thanks to this amazing group of men that I am still very proud to call my brothers.

Come see us next Saturday night at the Massry Center for Performing Arts. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

I was knitting with my brothers, I was knitting with my friends

Good morning and happy Saturday! It has been two weeks since the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat and it is now two weeks until the Albany Gay Men’s Chorus spring concert. The title of this post is a play on a line from the song “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” which is one of the songs we will be performing. I thought the altered words appropriate. I am amazed by the knowledge and talent so willingly shared by the men in both groups and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of both. Next week’s post will be more about the chorus, and this week there will be mostly pictures from the knitting retreat. Continue reading “I was knitting with my brothers, I was knitting with my friends”

Retreat Excitement!

Good morning and happy Saturday! In just a few hours, at 10:00 AM, registration for the second Northeast Men’s Fall Knitting Retreat will open. Last year’s fall retreat was an incredible success. Registration opened at about the same time in May and was kind of slow. We were weren’t sure what to expect as the spring retreat sells out in minutes after registration opens. We were still selling rooms for the first fall retreat right up to about three weeks before the event, so I am very interested to see if that is different this year. Continue reading “Retreat Excitement!”

Re-Plying Pride

Good morning and happy Saturday! Some time ago I spun and plied this lovely blend of merino and nylon from Mad Color Fiber Arts that I bought a couple-ish years ago at the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair. I had two 4oz braids that each became a 2ply skein measuring between 560 and 590 yards. When I had finished plying both skeins and both had been soaked and dried, what I thought was a sufficient amount of ply twist was clearly not. Continue reading “Re-Plying Pride”

Fiber fun for everyone next weekend on the Washington County Fiber Tour!

Good morning and happy Saturday! It is gray and wet and dreary this morning and it looks like it will be that way for the rest of the day. Perfect knitting weather. I have irises and day lilies that I want to dig up and move, roses I want to dig up and move, and a small vegetable garden that will be moving too. The ground where that is going needs to be prepared first, and I need to either borrow a roto-tiller or rent one for a day from wherever I can. None of that is likely to get done today though. Other than a couple of vehicular wellness appointments and a dog groomer appointment, my day will be spent mostly at home and I have plenty of fun fiber projects to occupy my time here. Continue reading “Fiber fun for everyone next weekend on the Washington County Fiber Tour!”