OEBGMC Gives Back!

Did you know that the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus uses part of all ticket sales for a community cause? For the Summer 2017 Concert, “Come Swing With Us,” the chorus Board decided to support a cause close to our hearts, and one with which we have partnered for more than three years, the music program at the Willard Middle School (Berkeley Unified School District) afterschool LEARNS program. This music program is run by member of Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus, Billy Lawley (Bass), and this summer, I sat down with Billy, to discuss his career and how he got interested in this kind of teaching.

Upcoming Auditions 2017

Daniel Radigan Photography – http://www.danielradiganphotography.com

Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus
invites you to audition with us!
If you (or someone you know!) have an interest in becoming a singing member we invite you to audition!
We welcome all singers that sing in the Tenor/Baritone/Bass range.
There is no need to prepare any music beforehand.
Our artistic director and membership committee will guide you through the audition process.
If you are unable to make it to the main auditions on August 29th you are welcome to come the following week to our season’s first rehearsal on September 5th.
AUDITIONS:
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
7:00pm-9:30pm
(depending on your chosen time slot)
Location:
Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church – Barnett Hall
3534 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
REHEARSAL/AUDITIONS:
Start the following week on Tuesday, September 5th.
7:15pm-9:45pm
Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church – Barnett Hall
3534 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
For audition information and to schedule your audition slot
please contact membership chair, James Berglund, at membership@oebgmc.org
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Thank You For An Amazing Summer Concert!

Thank you for an amazing summer concert this past weekend, July 15 and 16 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. This concert included a few nice touches this time around – upgraded table seating with complementary wine or beverage, a fun and fabulous swing dance stage, and costume contest winners…congratulations!

You’re Invited To Our Summer Concert!


 

The Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus and City Swing cordially invite you to a fun-filled night of swing music and dancing at our summer concert, “Come Swing with Us”, with guest artist Leanne Borghesi!  

Watch as Woody gets ready for his date with Wally, sure to be a night filled with toe tappin’, finger snappin’, hands clappin’ and swing dancin’!  We encourage our audience to dress up in 40s-60s era attire.  Not sure what to wear?  See costume ideas in the video, then pick out your outfit and get ready to dazzle us and participate in the best costume contest for prizes! 

BUY TICKETS HERE

Join us on Saturday, July 15 @ 7:30 pm or July 16 @ 4:00 pm
at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center
388 9th Street #290, Oakland 94607

Inspiration:  

When asked for ideas of how to market our concert, Woody suggested a simple storyline of someone getting ready for a great night of singing and dancing, excited to be going on a date to the concert, and wearing his most dapper zoot suit! We filmed at our star’s Berkeley home, and then cut some scenes during rehearsal. This hour’s worth of shots and scenes kept us laughing and having a good time. Our marketing team brought the story to life through editing and music, and we were excited with the final product. We hope you enjoy it, too!

_______

Video Credits:

Script/storyboards: Woodrow Thompson

Director/ Camera Operator: Dave Woemmel

Actors: Woodrow Thompson, Walter Bishop, Steve Smith

Editing/Sound: Alison Stripling – SPARQ Marketing 

Music: “Come Fly With Me”

 

Pride | Joey Raven

On June 6th, the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus took to the field to sing the Canadian and National anthems for Pride Night before the A’s game at the Oakland Coliseum. It was a truly amazing day, and indeed filled me with pride to walk down from the stands and belt out my love for where and when I live.


This is the first year that I’ve celebrated Pride Month in any way, and so it’s the first time I’ve really felt a bit of the importance it has in the world. I don’t believe fear and hatred are more present in our society today than in the past, however I do believe those feelings are now largely unrestrained. People are raw, weary of each other, and I will admit to being a part of that when I walked out onto the field. In my mind, I was entering the world of “jocks,” a world I have feared and felt unwelcome in for as long as I can remember. I was worried I wouldn’t feel support or acceptance. Perhaps I even felt an instinctive pang of anger at the thought of being seen only for my suddenly very public sexual orientation, rather than for any of the things I feel make me an individual. I will forever be profoundly proud to stand side by side with my OEBGMC mates, however I find it much more challenging to summon feelings of personal pride than pride for the people I stand with.


I am pleased to say that on that day, my fear was not necessary. These feelings were coming from inside me, not from the crowd around us. Within seconds of starting our first song, I was able to shed the fears I brought with me. It didn’t feel as much like a performance as I expected, but rather like a shared experience with everyone in the stadium. We were a welcomed part of the evening, proof to me that people can come together and celebrate despite their fears and differences. Walking back through the stands, shaking hands with complete strangers who were smiling and thanking us, I started to think about those feelings I had brought with me onto the field—in a word, I would call it inadequacy, a belief that others see me as inadequate and so therefor I must be.


This was by far my most public appearance as an openly gay man, and I don’t think I really understood what Pride meant to me before that. It’s a reminder that we are not inadequate, that no one is less deserving. It’s a reminder of both our similarities and the things that make us unique, of our strengths and our faults as a people. While there may be those who would condemn us, there are also those who would celebrate us and each other, who understand that our pride, love, and concern for our country is as real as anyone else’s.


So as we move on from Pride Month, it’s important to remember the progress that has been made. The chorus will be participating in Alameda’s 4th of July parade, and I for one am thankful to live in a time and place that allows us to walk in this event and feel relatively safe doing so. Especially in the recent political climate, now is the time to come together and hold fast, to keep reaching for equality. I hope that one day Pride Month will be an obsolete concept, that the necessity of holding fast in the face of fear and hatred will fade away as society evolves to let ignorance be replaced by acceptance. Until then, I am proud to stand with you all.