The lights go down, the lush red curtain is pulled back, and choir president Connie Jones introduces "Miss Celie's Blues," from The Color Purple. She reminds us that "Miss Celie's love helped her overcome abuse and discrimination and allowed her to live her life with pride something we can all use a little more of." Then the women's section begins singing, "Sister, you been on my mind. . . ." It's sexy and soothing.
For some reason, I find myself overcome with emotion. I try sorting it out while the chorus sings its last number, "Love, Lift Us Up Where We Belong." We stand, applauding, and the chorus launches into an encore "The Time Warp" again. This time the audience sings and dances too.
By now I understand why I'm overwrought with sadness. I'm remembering the reality of recent malicious acts against gay folks, in addition to their long history of discrimination and physical danger. My usual response is anger, but these happy folks singing with passion and pride about love, hopes, and dreams catch me off guard. I simply cry and sing along and pray that someday, Love will lift us up where we belong.