Montréal, mon ami, our time was shortened but I had a wonderful time.
I came home a couple days early due to a lack of funds and a huge dose of homesickness. But that didn’t stop me from having a wonderful time and enjoying nearly every second of the trip.
Nearly… well, there were a few moments where I wondered whether my trip was ever going to be a vacation and not a whole lot of work. But then it turned around and became everything I had hoped it would be, and more.
First of all, yes, I did have sex. Once. With one guy. And then it was over. It was fun but it could have been better. Oh well… at least I wasn’t completely dry all weekend.
Second of all, yes, I did have a few lap dances by a few stripper boys. Oooh la la are the boys there BEAUTIFUL. Everywhere you turn, another gorgeous man would walk by. Talk about distractions. So why not more sex? Well considering that I am painfully shy in public and have the confidence of a groundhog who sees his shadow around all those hot boys… well, I would probably say that sums it up.
Third, Montreal is not as pretty of a city as I had imagined. It makes Chicago look like the crown jewel of cities. I have never seen so much graffiti in all my life. And if you ever thought the panhandlers and street people of Chicago were bad, you haven’t seen (or smelled) the ones in Montreal. Not pretty.
Don’t get me wrong, there are parts that ARE pretty, I just didn’t get a chance to see many of them. Instead, I took a day trip to Quebec City, and I would have much preferred to stay there. It was gorgeous… romantic, charming, everything I wanted from a destination city. Everywhere you turned was another perfect postcard waiting to be snapped. I will definitely be making a return trip there.
So anyway, back to GALA..
The premise for the weekend was the GALA Choruses quadrennial festival where all of the LGBT choruses from all over the world who wish to participate come together in one city and present concerts for all of their peers. The larger choruses do the 30-minute sets and small ensembles of the larger groups present the 15 minute sets. I am a member of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus who did a 30-minute set and the Windy City Slickers who did a 15-minute set. And let me tell you, when you perform in front of literally thousands of people who know what it’s like to do what you are doing and appreciate you for coming out and singing your heart out as much as they enjoy doing it, the response is the most gratifying and stimulating thing you will ever hear. It’s like being at a rock concert and YOU are the reason they all came and paid $300 a seat to see you.
(Ok so maybe the $300 a seat is a bit excessive, but it’s not too far from the truth considering the travel expenses, registration, etc. But I digress…)
CGMC opened the entire festival, which is a pretty big responsibility to take on. Of course, since there are always two concert blocks going on at any given time, we were up against the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, which also is a very good chorus. But CGMC has opened every one of the last 7 GALA Festivals, so people come to see us. We had a full house. The set was extremely well-received and I heard nothing but raves the entire weekend. In fact, a documentary crew was filming our set and wants to include one of the numbers in the final film. I think that’s pretty exciting.
The Slickers also had a fun set.. although I was much more nervous about their set than I was for CGMC, and for obvious reasons… there’s only 10 Slickers, whereas there were over 70 guys in CGMC. The same screw-up in the Slickers is seen or heard a lot more clearly than in CGMC. Luckily there were none.
The rest of the time was spent watching other choruses perform and catching some of the sights, sounds, tastes, and other sensual pleasures of the Montréal/Québec area.
So, here is a list of the most memorable moments (good and bad) during my trip to Montréal:
- Performing on stage with CGMC and hearing the audience roar– numerous times.
- Performing on stage with the Slickers and getting such an amazing response.
- Québec City. In a word: Magnifique.
- Seeing my friend (and former duet partner) Sonelius, who was formerly in CGMC but now lives in New York and is now in the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.
- Getting to know the men and women of Windy City Performing Arts better.
- Cringing and pretending I could disappear during The Rainbow Chorus (“Flowers Have Agendas!” Honest.)
- Stunning performances by:
- The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus
- The Los Angeles Choral Artists (only in extistence for 10 months before coming to the Festival)
- MUSE- the Cincinnati Women’s Choir
- Lavender Light Gospel Choir
- The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles
- The Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus
- Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus (Them boys is just out of control!)
- Heartland Men’s Chorus
- and of course all of the Chicago choruses.
- The comedy stylings of Lily Tomlin and Kate Clinton, forever goddesses.
- Singing “The Hiiills are alive with the sound of MUUUUUSIIIIC” on the hills of the Citadel in Québec City
- Lunch at Le Saint Amour in Québec City, where I had some of the most delicious Mushroom Creme soup I have ever tasted (along with everything else I had there that was amazing)… and I hate mushrooms!
- The Travelodge Montréal Centre, the tiniest hotel room I have ever been in. God I am glad to have my bed back.
- Birthday dinner for Arnie at Food. Yes, that’s a restaurant.
- Parties on the Sky Bar terrace.
- Arnie, Jeremy and John in the hot tub on the Sky Bar terrace.
- The cute boy that joined them in the hot tub after they had been in there a while.
- The pictures I have to bribe them with.
- Naked strippers at Campus.
- Lap dances at Campus.
- Being on vacation with all of my closest friends.
- Coming home to a clean apartment and my two adorable kitties!
I’ll be posting pictures shortly to accompany this post, so check back. Til then, cya.