March 15, 2016 Peter Hillsman

Memories of GALA 2000: San Jose

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I had just finished my fourth year singing with CGMC. I was so excited to attend the festival, I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was my first GALA, and I was determined to enjoy the hell out of it.

From the second I got on the plane it was apparent that it was going to be an experience that I wouldn’t forget for my entire life. There were already a ton of guys from our chorus on the same flight. The flight stopped in Kansas City and there were at least 30 gay men that boarded the flight. It was a GALA party flight from then on!

What really sticks in my mind is the performance. I was nervous, as I didn’t know what to expect. When we filed on the stage, the anticipatory energy was palpable. I was immediately overwhelmed at seeing the entire hall completely filled for our concert. It was filled with gay men and women, all singers in choruses just like ours from around the country. That sight brought me nearly over the edge. I say nearly, because my attention was snapped quickly back to the task at hand when Patrick raised his hands for the downbeat of our first song.

What I remember most about our set is two things. Our performance of “In Whatever Time We Have” and the finale of our set. I can still remember hearing the sniffles from the audience crying as we sang in unison the last decrescendo phrase — “at least we’ll be together in whatever time we have.”‘ We were all balling with the audience.

Then came the finale. It was a “Les Miserables” mashup with uniquely relevant lyrics that only Patrick could write. It culminated with the triumphant “Do You Hear The People Sing?/One Day More” medley with the familiar choreographed steps and the rainbow flag raised high, flying side to side in the background. The audience went nuts! Applause like I’ve never heard in my entire life. It was overwhelming. It’s still overwhelming writing this nearly 16 years later.

It’s memories like these that last a lifetime and I can’t encourage you strongly enough to do everything you can to attend the Festival in Denver. I promise you’ll make memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.


— Bill Rosen, T2

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