Frank McMullan's blog

My post-retirement blog adventures

Archive for September 2010

Sell! Sell! Sell!

leave a comment »

Portland Gay Men’s Chorus is already publicising its 2010/2011 Flashback! season [its 31st!] with 2 major publicity events this coming weekend.   Jet-lagged and all as I will be, I had previously volunteered to man a publicity stand on Friday morning next, and I still hope to follow through on my commitment, despite arriving in Portland almost a week later than originally planned.  This first event is the Komen Health Expo.  [My new US bank card sponsors Susan G Komen for the Cure.]

PGMC's 2nd LGBT community publicity event

The BIG publicity event will be on Sunday afternoon when PGMC, Portland Lesbian Choir, Portland Gay Symphonic Band, and Confluence LGBT choir, perform on Pioneer Square in the heart of downtown Portland. This is the 2nd Gay Fair on the Square organised by PGMC with many local LGBT organizations participating.  I won’t get to sing with the chorus (this time), though they again have me on publicity stand duty for part of the afternoon.

There’s no rest – even though I’m not in the least bit wicked!!  😉


Written by Frank McMullan

16 September 2010 at 00:06

Posted in PDXGMC

Remote rehearsal @ 5,000 miles remove

leave a comment »

2006 PGMC Cabaret

Uncle Sam, in his wisdom, decided I could not attend rehearsals with my new choir earlier in the week!  In my enthusiasm I have signed up for the cabaret ensemble in Portland Gay Men’s Chorus‘s annual adult Burlesque show on 16th October @ 8pm in the Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland.

I missed the first ensemble rehearsal last Sunday afternoon 😦 but I since got the sheetmusic and recordings, including some line recordings, which I am using to learn my part. Whatever about hitting the ground running when I attend rehearsal on Sunday next, I hope to be fairly familiar with the pieces by then. Shhh, but don’t tell anyone, one of the pieces is a totally inappropriate send-up of ‘My Favorite Things’ from The Sound of Music: disgustingly delightful!  Julie Andrews would turn in her grave…

Now, where’s my toothbrush and toilet bag?  Don’t forget your new drivers licence, OK!  I definitely need a new suitcase.

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu.

Written by Frank McMullan

15 September 2010 at 01:45

Posted in PDXGMC

Guest post: A Living Word, another Glen O’Brien radio broadcast

with one comment

Transcript from A Living Word, RTÉ Radio 1, broadcast 22 April 2010: podcast

Healing Simon’s mother-in-law [Mark 1: 30,31]


Healing of Simon's mother-in-law


Lord, I often imagine when I read the account of the healing of Simon’s mother-in-law that in order to get dinner, first you had to cure her!  🙂  I am not questioning your motivation in healing her but the idea does leave me with a smile on my face!  Mind you, I have no doubt you needed dinner with your long day’s work into night.

I want to focus on the healing that you extended to Simon’s mother-in-law in bed.  In Mark, your apostles spoke to you about her.   We, gay men, Lord, also need healing in our minds, our bodies, our souls.  Many of us are unseen.  Some of us are blessed with parents and friends who speak on our behalf for our healing, our acceptance, our being healed into service and ministry for your kingdom, as indeed was Simon’s mother-in-law! In so many ways our service remains nameless as does the woman in this story.

Lord, allow me look at the fact that this woman was in bed when you healed her.  Not much is written about the healing that takes place in bed.  For many people, Jesus, the topic of gay men in bed is taboo.  Yet in my own experience and that of my friends, being with a lover in bed can bring about powerful healing.  This can happen, among other ways, with the extraordinary life-giving power of touch. And there’s (a bit) more…

Written by Frank McMullan

12 September 2010 at 18:00

Posted in Church, Glen O'Brien

Fr John McKay RIP

leave a comment »

Here’s a classical bit of personal homophobia.  When I first heard in the late ’60s or early ’70s that the Legion of Mary had an outreach group for gay men in Dublin, my immediate reaction was: “Why in heaven’s name would they do that?  Sure that only encourages them!”  Haven’t I come a long long way?

Reach, a largely Catholic Christian group formed in the early ’80s, grew out of the original Legion of Mary group.  It functioned for over 20 years, meeting in Marianella, a Redemptorist house in Dublin.  I joined shortly after it started: A Carmelite priest in Whitefriar Street – I kid you not – gave me as Penance in Confession the task of making contact with the group.  He will never know the truly life-enriching favour he did me.  I belonged to Reach for many years.  As much as I gave to the group, especially on the musical side of the liturgy, I got so much more in return.

Fr John McKay

Confidentiality was probably the single most important characteristic of Reach.  People who were not involved in any other way on the gay scene in Dublin could feel comfortable attending its meetings and liturgies.  Indeed, some people travelled very great distances to attend meetings.  In one of its first tentative steps at being a more open group, the annual Reach carol service was brought to St Bart’s Church in Ballsbridge.  Fr John McKay was the Vicar at the time and he made us feel extremely welcome.  Previously, the late Canon Cecil Wilson gave us use of All Saints’ Church in Raheny for the carol service, but this was still only on a private basis.  The service at St Bart’s was open to the public.  [Confidentiality, in the form of closetedness, was probably the main cause of the eventual demise of Reach, although the annual carol service continues to this day – though now it is held in the Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green.  This year’s service there will be on Saturday, 11th December.]

It is almost unheard of for a Church of Ireland priest to referred to as Father, or for the letters RIP [Rest in Peace] to be used when a church member dies.  The high church anglo-catholic credentials of St Bart’s Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Frank McMullan

10 September 2010 at 21:54

Posted in Church

Archive post: Glória’s place in the history of the LGBT choral movement

with one comment


From the programme notes for Glória‘s 2002 debut in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, singing with the Garda Band and the Garda Male Voice Choir – the first LGBT choir in the world to sing with its national police force, in itself history:

“Touching Hearts. Changing Lives.”

Kevin Gallagher, ASL interpreter

This was the theme of Festival 2000 in San Jose, California, organised by GALA Choruses, which Glória triumphantly attended two summers ago.  GALA Choruses is the association of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) choirs, particularly for North America.

For a whole week nearly 150 choirs, made up of more than 5,000 voices, sang back-to-back in two enormous concert venues in the scorching summer sun of downtown San Jose. Glória performed to rapturous applause, especially for its ‘Cor na Síog’ – The Fairy Reel – duly renamed ‘Cór na Síog’ – The Fairy Choir! – for the occasion that was in it.  🙂  A tradition of deaf signing has grown up amongst many of the larger US choirs.  Kevin Gallagher, of Irish descent and from the Seattle Men’s Chorus, offered his services free of charge to each of the overseas choirs at San Jose.  His antics (ahem, interpretation) And there’s more…

Written by Frank McMullan

8 September 2010 at 15:54

Posted in GALA Choruses, Glória

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…

with one comment

…gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!
[from “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough”, by Robbie Burns]
Meaning: Our best plans often go wrong, and leave us with regrets, rather than the satisfaction expected!

Well, today was supposed to be the start of the next phase of my post-retirement adventures, this time in the USA, but Uncle Sam had other ideas.  I knew about the 90 day limitation on the US visa waiver program, and even on the restriction of not being able to use adjacent countries, ie Canada or Mexico, as a means of effectively extending the visa waiver for a further 90 days.  What I didn’t know was that this restriction also counts the days spent in the adjacent country: I know it now!  I had originally wanted to stay only slightly longer than 3 months and to make up the shortfall by staying the extra days in Vancouver, BC – my favourite city in the world.  This was not to be, as I learned the hard way this morning.  I have had to rearrange my flights to fit within the 90 day restriction: I won’t now  travel to Portland until next week.  Sadly, I miss out on the opportunity on the way over of staying with my sister, Maria, who lives in Montauk on Long Island.  😦

Opening stanza of Burn’s poem:

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,  [Small, sly, cowering, timorous little beast]
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!  [Oh, what a panic is in your heart]
Thou need na start awa sae hasty  [You need not start away so hastily]
Wi bickering brattle!  [With argumentative chatter]
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,  [I’d be loath to run and chase you]
Wi’ murdering pattle.  [With a murdering paddle]

Written by Frank McMullan

7 September 2010 at 23:41

Posted in Travel