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GCAC Presents: Opening Hearts and Minds Via Music

 Matthew Arnold GCAC Presents: Opening Hearts and Minds Via Music
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(The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent)

Martha walks into the sanctuary, realizing this is the first time she’s been in a church in the three years since her divorce. She walks towards the ushers and chuckles to herself as she notices how hard she’s been clenching her ticket. She gives the ticket to an usher, takes her program and walks towards the pews. She elects to sit in the back row. Although part of her doesn’t like being so far away from the action, she can still see well and feels more comfortable being in a seat where she can escape easily.

Eventually the lights dim and the gentlemen in the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus begin parading in.

My goodness, there are a lot of them.

They begin with an uplifting holiday piece that jolts her a bit from her own thoughts.

Wow, these guys are really good!

As the music continues, Martha begins to settle in and, despite her trepidation, she finds herself enjoying the music. She allows herself to relax a little bit. Soon it becomes time for intermission. She slowly rises from her pew and makes her way over to the refreshments area. She grabs a cookie, smiles at a few other patrons, and busies herself by perusing her program. She finds her seat again and waits for the performance to resume. As the men file in for the second half of the show, she realizes that these sharply dressed men don’t look any different from any other men. She’s not sure what she was expecting, but she somehow finds herself surprised by the normalcy they portray.

The second half of the program is slightly more upbeat and offers some fun secular music. She even finds herself giggling at some of the campy themes woven into the show. All too quickly the concert is over, and Martha finds herself relieved that she made it but a little sad that it’s all over.

As she stands to pull her coat over her shoulders, she can’t ignore the stinging sensation of tears in her eyes. When Jim left town and left her for another man after 30 years of marriage, she couldn’t even comprehend the fact that her marriage was ending, much less the fact that it was ending because her husband is gay. Yet here she was, invited by one of the singers and finally showing up for a concert after many requests, putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

Walking out of the church and towards the car she still feels grief about her loss. But for the first time since Jim left her, she feels a burden lifted from her shoulders and she feels like she can understand her ex-husband.

I get it.

Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus will perform next on Saturday, June 19, 2:40pm at Bicentennial Park as part of the Columbus Pride Festival.

GCAC presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insider’s look at the arts in Columbus.

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