As you may (or may not) know, I am an atheist and have been for quite a while.

That has never stopped me from singing/performing at churches. 

My one rule, however, is that the church must not participate or condone discrimination. 

That rule eliminates a disappointing number of churches.

While living in Los Angeles, I was so fortunate to make the acquaintance of Steven Applegate.  He was, when I met him, the arranger and musical director for A Winter’s Tale – which I have spoken of before. 

Steven was also the choir and music director for MCCV – Metropolitan Community Church of the Valley.  MCC is a Christian denomination church that has a specific outreach to the LGBTQ+ community.  The Valley in MCCV – is the San Fernando Valley. 

Through Steven, I became a member of the choir and performed as part of their Christmas Concerts (always a spectacle) and their fundraising musical variety shows. 

It was out of one of those variety shows that the Hot Cross Nuns were born. 

The church also did theatrical productions and I was in two of these – Blithe Spirit and Bloodlines – two ends of the theatrical spectrum. 

It was always an adventure doing a show at the church because the set had to be completely taken down after each Saturday performance and put back up after Sunday services.  Whee.  However, this did not dissuade the folks from designing and building amazing sets! 

One year the theme for the variety show was movies; and three of the Hot Cross Nuns decided to do an extra-curricular performance (something we often did – I mean, we were already there, might as well sing some non-nun material too, right?). We decided we would perform You Gotta Get a Gimmick from Gypsy.  I want to say it was my idea, but to tell the truth, I simply don’t remember anymore.

Linda Dodson was Tessie Tura.  Laura Sheriff was Electra, and I was Mazeppa. 

We each designed and created our own costumes. 

Oh boy.

Instead of a trumpet, my Mazeppa played the French Horn!  And around the edge of my metal mesh skirt, I had all my medals from Band competition and Solo and Ensemble competition.  (I do love to tie a costume together with a theme.)  I painted a curvy naked torso on a t-shirt and somewhere got my hands on a Gladiator helmet and red mylar wig.

And voila – the three hotsy-totsies of MCCV – Electra, Tessie and Mazeppa (with her revolution in dance).  (You have to respect a church that understand the joy of creativity and go with it.)

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