playing and singing

Yesterday, Jeff posted about his recurrent bouts of the “drama bug,” whereby he periodically gets nostalgic about his theater experiences in high school and college, and begins to think about auditioning for some local community theater.

For my part, I have two activities–singing and gaming–for which I have a similar chronic affliction, with intense cravings periodically flaring up like sunspots (though that creates a mixed metaphor, it seemed a nicer image than my first idea of “periodically flaring up like herpes,” which I thought also might give the mistaken impression that I have direct experience with the latter).

I sometimes feel like Sophie in Mamma Mia! who in the words of ABBA’s “Thank You for the Music” notes “Mother says… I began to sing long before I could talk.” My own mother was the organist and choir director for the family church, and some of my earliest memories are of standing around an old pump organ singing old-timey gospel songs with my parents and grandparents. In high school I sang with the choir, and was drawn to musical theater, where I played Albert Peterson in Bye, Bye Birdie and, true to type, Og the Leprechaun in Finian’s Rainbow. In college I sang with the all-male Harvard Glee Club for two years, the mixed Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum for one, and with a variety of small close-harmony groups and even a barbershop quartet throughout. One memory I particularly cherish is soloing with the Glee Club while on tour at the National Cathedral in Washington, a concert my parents also were able to attend.

In the nearly twenty years since graduation, though, I’ve done very little on this front, beyond a few aborted attempts to start up some close-harmony groups. This holiday season, at least, I’m singing in the choir at work–it’s far from a polished group, but it’s better than not singing at all.

Gaming, specifically role-playing, is another hobby I once was nearly completely immersed in but for which my participation now is changed in kind–primarily one-person or multi-player online computer rpgs instead of in-person tabletop gaming–as well as greatly reduced in quantity. In 1990 I met my lifelong friends Sheldon and Lisa through gaming, and our gaming together played a large role in our deciding eventually to become housemates. While we lived together in the early 90s, we gamed every weekend and one or two weeknights, and attended several annual gaming conventions. Sheldon is a world-class game master–perhaps the best I’ve ever encountered–and we had an incredible group of players. After Sheldon and Lisa were transferred to Belgium, our gaming group disbanded, and I left the activity in favor of some new hobbies, primarily squaredancing.

Recently, though, I’ve caught the bug again, and my experience with hundreds of computer-based rpgs–and even the half-dozen massively multiplayer online rpgs–just haven’t scratched the itch. So I’m starting to actively look for a new gaming group, specifically one that is expressly queer-friendly.

One thought on “playing and singing

  1. The wonder years

    Tonight Thom and I are going to see an all-male production of Bye Bye Birdie, by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. Sounds like fun! It premieres at Lisner (GW) tonight and plays through Sunday. Side note: did you know…

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