Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington

by Yusef Najafi
Published on December 10, 2009, 1:15am | Comments

I love to sing, but I'm no Susan Boyle. And until recently, I thought the shower was the only suitable place for my inner-diva. I was wrong. I found another place where I can sing without hesitation or fear of disapproval.

It happened on a recent Tuesday evening with the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington. Singing with the other 20 or so members of the chorus at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in Southeast during the LGCW's regular rehearsal, I quickly learned that singing with a group could make even my nasal and monotone efforts seem harmonious. If you're going to join the group, first you have to figure out your vocal range. Will you perform best singing with the tenor group? Sopranos, altos or the bass section? I was late for rehearsal, so I had to make a rash self-determination. If only I'd known the simple test: When singing Lady Gaga's ''Poker Face,'' what's the part of the song that you wouldn't mind singing in front of an audience? If it's the ''Mum mum mum mah'' hook, sit with the bass group. If it's the ''Can't read my, can't read my,'' your best bet is to go with the tenors. If you haven't discovered your vocal talent before joining the LGCW, there's probably only a slim chance that you're in the soprano or alto range, so skip those.

Of course, showing up a few minutes early and meeting with the music director, C. Paul Heins, is probably your best option. I quickly learned that I did best in the tenor section when singing along to Patty Griffin's ''Up the Mountainside.'' There's something special about singing empowering songs like Griffin's with a lesbian and gay chorus. The conductor's facial expressions and hand movements help you with your timing and the way you emphasize some vocals. And he's also funny. ''Okay, we're not singing for Sears,'' Heins chided when our vocals didn't soar to their fullest potential.

The Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington's next rehearsal is Tuesday, Dec. 15. Visit lgcw.org for details.