More from GALA Festival
by Andy Tran
July 1, 2016: As I boarded Frontier flight 359, about to embark on my first GALA experience, I was ecstatic! I took my seat among my fellow choir friends - friends who had taught me so much since I joined the Perfect Harmony in January. I had been awake since 6AM trying to finish packing, so much sleep was needed. I dozed off thinking about how lucky I was to go to GALA in Denver. I appreciated how much Perfect Harmony helped me improve musically and collaborate creatively, like when Steve Spera and I designed the new choir shirts that we would be wearing on stage! Perfect Harmony brought me into the welcoming environment that I always felt missing since I had moved to Madison three years ago.
We landed in Denver around 4PM, a little jet lagged, but slightly well rested from the flight. There was no time to waste because I knew my time in Denver would be jam packed with fun events. My awesome roommates and I dropped our belongings off at our very comfortable hotel room. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which was an easy 8-minute walk to the Denver Performing Arts Center. Several of us decided to head over to registration so we could begin attending concerts right away the next day. I began exploring parts of Denver, too- had to get my 10,000 steps in somehow!
The most moving and large performances that I got to attend at Festival were Naked Man, I am Harvey Milk
, and my hometown, Seattle Men's Chorus' performance. Some international choirs gave the GALA Festival a multicultural flavor, like the Beijing Queer Chorus and Mano a Mano, one of Cuba's first gay men's music groups.
The most meaningful of my Festival experiences were when I got to see Perfect Harmony's Common Chords and Milwaukee's City of Festivals Men's Chorus perform. Later I performed on stage with PHMC; we sung our hearts out and the audience loved us. We received standing ovations! We concluded our music set by combining Perfect Harmony and City of Festivals Men's Choruses under the direction of Ken Forney. This was a unique collaboration to perform at GALA Festival. After the GALA Festival performances concluded, I had one more night of celebratory fun in Denver. The next day we boarded our flights home, and I knew that I wanted to attend every GALA Festival in the future.
I am so appreciative of the many supporters who helped fund our "Buy a Mile" GALA Festival fundraiser, and to those who bid on silent auction items at our recent "Twisted Mister" Cabaret show. Even those of you who purchased tickets to come to our winter and spring concerts helped to make this amazing experience possible for me and my fellow chorus members. Thank you all. I am excited to return this season to continue lending my voice to Perfect Harmony and to make our community a better place, one song at a time.