“In high school, being a part of the LGBTQ community didn’t feel like something that could happen in real life—it felt far away or only on the internet or something I’d find in the future. So when I saw an Instagram post for Youth Pride Chorus (YPC) auditions at The Center, I jumped on it because I couldn’t believe there was a place where both LGBTQ young people and my love of singing were combined! The rehearsal room was full of people who very quickly set the tone that everybody is loved and included. I think most LGBTQ people can relate with what it’s like to catch yourself or leave something unsaid in certain spaces, but there’s never a time in YPC where I feel like I need to do that. I can bring my whole self into the room.
The day that New York City shut down also happened to be a YPC rehearsal at The Center. When we were told rehearsal was being canceled and we all had to go home, it was really deflating and difficult. Throughout the pandemic, it seemed like I was either sleeping or working from home—and of all the things to do virtually, choral singing felt impossible. But then Thursday would come around, and every time I logged onto the YPC Zoom call, I was elated to see everyone. There was definitely a learning curve to recording songs virtually, but we got into the groove. Our end products were terrific: we created several music videos and live-stream collaborations. They’re all things I’m really proud of.
The steps for returning to in-person YPC rehearsals at The Center were gradual and careful. This September, when we finally all gathered, it was so surreal after seeing each other on screen for so long. By keeping our masks on and having the chairs far apart, it felt like a weird dream—but at the same time, it was amazing that even after everything we’d been through, we were together and we are still making music! We’ve gone so far in the other direction, it’s such a celebration that we’re starting to move forward.”