I am an atheist.
But that doesn’t stop me from loving religious music of varying types.
It certainly doesn’t stop me from loving to get to sing with a really good church choir, especially one that is doing really good and interesting music.
The Metropolitan Community Church of the Valley (MCCV) in Burbank, California had just that kind of a choir.
God (that I don’t believe in) did I love singing with that choir.
I loved that choir enough to get my happy fat ass out of bed at the crack of dawn every Sunday and call my folks in Florida and chat with them in order to warm up my voice before church.
The people in that choir were wonderful, and truly cared about each other.
We had so much fun.
Probably more fun than our director Steven Applegate approved of.
Steven found the best music and was so good at getting the best out of that choir.
It was a small church, but they had a kick ass choir.
And the Christmas concerts were things of legend.
Then I moved to San Jose.
Singing with a choir is a kind of performing.
It is also a way to keep your pipes and skills honed.
So I started looking for a choir to sing with.
I found one and tried it – for a while.
Bigger church than MCCV; and a reasonably good choir.
Music kind of ho-hum; but I was singing.
However, a member of that choir was an elderly woman, obviously in the grips of dementia or Alzheimer.
And these good God-fearing choir members pusher this old lady off onto me.
Now, usually I get along fine with old folks. I love their stories (even the ones they make up because they have dementia).
But these were the days when I still had a sense of smell, and this lady was always unbathed and always reeked of urine and body odor.
I didn’t know her. She certainly didn’t know me.
It was not a good situation for either of us.
Clearly, somebody was not doing their job taking care of her – and nobody seemed to give a flying fuck.
Let me tell you, at MCCV, if one of the parishioners showed up at church (or choir practice) in the same state as this old lady, it would have been looked into and she would have been taken care of.
That was the kind of Christianity I was used to.
Not these folks.
I quit that choir and I let the choir director know exactly why.
How I didn’t appreciate having this poor woman latched onto me – the new kid (I might mention, with a certain smugness from the current choir members) – when it was clear this woman had been with this church and choir for many years. And I really didn’t appreciate that nobody there gave a flying fuck that this woman was not properly being taken care of.
Later, I found another group that my husband and I sang with briefly, but I just didn’t enjoy it.
I guess MCCV and Applegate spoiled me for any other group.
(Steven, if you read this, did you notice I didn’t call you Applebutt even once?)
If you know of a good choir accepting members in the South Bay Area, I would love to hear about it.
Caveat – any choir I sing with is going to have to put up with my mouth. I could probably fund a whole season of music if you have a swear jar!
But for now, I’ll just keep singing in the car and doing theater.