Incubation Period
Volume 3 Book 9 Part 5 of
Living in the Bonus Round

Steve sings with the Gay Men's Chorus of LA at the Skirball Center.
[ Book 3-8 ] --  [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 1a ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ]
[ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

April 16-19, 2004.
When You Care / GMCLA.
This week has been a tough one for me. I've been slogging through three musical arrangements for a couple of weeks. I don't know why this is so hard for me. I know people who can throw an arrangement together before breakfast while feeding the kids and doing the laundry.

Steinbeck always makes me feel better.
But I did finish them. Just in time to give them to Dr. Bruce Mayhall of the Gay Men's Chorus of LA. But I'll get to that story in a second. First I want to tell you about last weekend. We were invited to the Magic Castle, which is one of the coolest places on the planet earth. Membership required!

The Magic Castle in Hollywood.
We were to be guests of Rich Bloch, a very successful magician/raconteur. (He much more than that, btw. He's a historian and an author, recently publishing a book about the relationship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Houdini. Houdini was famous for exposing charlatan "spiritualists" and Doyle was a strong believer in them).

Just above the entrance is a window.
In the window you can see someone rocking in a rocking chair.

And there he is!

Jim, Sue & Rich Bloch, Steve stand in the entranceway.

In the entranceway, there is a small lobby and a check-ing desk. But looking behind the desk and at the walls, there is no door. However, there are a couple of bookcases. When you stand at the bookcase and say, "Open sesame," the bookcase unlocks and swings open letting you into the Magic Castle.

They wouldn't allow me to bring my camera in, however. So I can't show you what we saw. First we visited "Irma." Irma is a ghost who sits at a piano in a little room just behind the first bar. (On the wall is a "picture" of Irma, an invisible woman wearing a bridal veil). But in the room, all you see is a piano surrounded by little tables.

Jimmy off-handedly said to Irma, "Hello Irma. Haven't seen you in awhile. Seems like old times..."

He didn't get the words out of his mouth before the piano sprang into action, the keys moving right in front of our eyes and what song did Irma play? "Seems Like Old Times." We made a few other requests, which Irma immediately responded to (and we pressed dollar bills into the bird cage near the piano).

But just as I was about to request something from "The Last Session," Irma signaled that she was going on break. Oh well... Next time.

After we had a nice meal together, we moved down the serpentine hallways covered in vintage magician posters, and went into the "main room." Rich was the both emcee and comic magician, pulling audience members onstage and having fun with them. (He took one woman's wedding ring and somehow it ended up in a capsule inside a bubble gum machine that was onstage the entire time.).

The most impressive thing was a magician (whose name I don't remember) who pulled a dove out of thin air and then, holding it out, he literally tore it apart and it became two doves. That trick was gasp-inducing. (And I don't usually "like" magic acts).

Then I got a call from Dr. Bruce Mayhall of the Gay Men's Chorus of LA inviting me to sing "When You Care" with them at a community event, a fundraiser for leukemia at the famous Skirball Center. Their arrangement is a little different, rhythm-wise than how I sing it, so I got the arrangement just before the event and Jimmy snapped this pic of me studying it. I look like my dad.

Steve studies his music.

A small contigent of the GMCLA at the Skirball Center.
(The entire chorus numbers 202).

You can see even more of the room in this shot.
(The Chorus is singing "We Love L.A." doing funny "choralography".)

Steve sings "When You Care."

Singing with the chorus wasn't easy. I started off really well but then got kinda lost once the whole choir joined in because I never knew when any part was going to sing. So I kind of drifted back from the microphone until the bridge, which was another solo designated for me. The other thing that's different is that they end the song repeating, "It teaches us" over and over. So when it was my turn to riff a little I wasn't quite sure when to come in.

Nobody really noticed, though, and it was fun hanging out with the members of the chorus. I took lots of pictures of them afterwards in the lobby and just outside. I also slipped Dr. Bruce a copy of the new arrangments of three songs from New World Singing, the cantata I'm in the middle of writing.

Lots and lots of handsome chorus members!

Lots of CDs to sell.

Meanwhile, on Sunday morning I got up early and once again slipped over to MCC-LA an hour before the 9 am service started and just sat there playing and singing as people dressed the room and then as members filed in for the service. I'm going to be singing more formally (for the services) there on May 2nd.
[ Book 3-8 ] --  [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 1a ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ] [ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ]

© 1996-2004 by Steve Schalchlin.
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