Juneau Pride Chorus to celebrate 'Freedom to Marry Day'

Posted: Thursday, February 10, 2005

T he Juneau Pride Chorus always puts together a show in early February. This year, they've expanded to two performances that happen to coincide with Freedom to Marry Day, a national movement in support of same-sex marriage.

The group will present "Rhythm of Life" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, at Aldersgate Methodist Church in the Valley, and at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 at Resurrection Lutheran Church, on 10th Street downtown.

Friday's show is pay-as-you-can. Saturday's show will be preceded by a silent auction to raise money for the group's April 30 performance in Anchorage. Tickets are $10 for Saturday and are available at the door or from chorus members.

The chorus is sponsored by PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays. Feb. 12 is Freedom to Marry Day (www.freedomtomarry.org).

"I'll introduce the songs and introduce the fact that's Freedom to Marry Day and my daughter and her partner do not have the freedom to marry," said chorus co-manager Marsha Buck. "That's one reason I sing, until I can wish them a happy Freedom to Marry Day and until they're free to marry."

Each performance will include 15 songs. Local storyteller Pat McClear will also read "Sanyan the Storyteller."

Thunder Mountain Big Band vocalist Vicki Van Fleet will sing two torch standards, "My Funny Valentine" and "On A Clear Day." Bass singer Christina Wallace will sing three solos, including "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries," popularized by Rudy Vallee in the early 1930s.

"She hasn't done any solos before in concert, and she has just a wonderful solo voice," Wallace said. "She's not just a bass."

Love songs include "When We Speak" and The Beatles' "I Will." Local resident Beverly Haywood has arranged for the chorus a version of Pat Humphries' "People Love."

Several other songs, including "Gravity Blues," are about aging. A few more are about death. One, "Breaths," popularized by Sweet Honey and The Rock, will be dedicated to Juneau resident Carla Timpone, who died in 2004.

Each evening will conclude with Cy Coleman's "Rhythm of Life," from the Broadway musical "Sweet Charity." Dorothy Fields wrote the lyrics.

The chorus includes just more than 20 members, and the age span ranges from grandmothers down to pre-teens. Home-schooled sixth-grader Megan Behnke joined the chorus in August, when she was 11.

"It's just made a delightful difference for all of us," Buck said. "She's showing us old women up. She has every song memorized before we do."

"I learned I love singing in the (Juneau) Charter School, through fifth grade," said Behnke, now 12. "Now that I'm home schooled, I wanted to do more part signing. It's more complicated, but every time I go, even if I'm going to practice in a grumpy mood, I always come home feeling real happy."

Behnke is a soprano II, a lower soprano. This is her first full concert.

"One of the songs I really like is '1,000 Grandmothers,'" Behnke said. "It's a really beautiful song, fun to sing. Another one is 'Rhythm of Life.' It's a fairly fast song, and upbeat."

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