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Out & About in Cleveland

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Gay Games 9 Chorus

On Monday, August 11th, we worked with the Gay Games 9 Chorus from 10:30am to Noon and from 2pm to 3:30pm at the Old Stone Church. Our duties mostly consisted of holding the electronic door open for chorus members and straightening up the rehearsal room. We should say that the main reason that volunteers like us were there was in case something unexpected happened. For instance, one of the chorus members was also an athlete who hurt her toes in a recent competition and needed some fresh bandages but one of our fellow volunteers just happened to have a first aid kit in her car which solved the problem.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to hear the chorus sing on Wednesday night at the State Theatre but we got to listen to them practice "What a Wonderful World" and several other songs which we hadn't heard before but were quite lovely.

We introduced ourselves to the Choral Artistic Director, Mr. Dennis Coleman who has worked with choirs for 30 years and is currently working with the Seattle Men's Chorus as well as the Seattle Women's Chorus. Mr. Coleman was very grateful for the volunteer assistance and the support of Cleveland/Akron for Gay Games 9. We loved watching him rehearse the singers because he was a real professional who really related to those he was coaching to do the very best that they possibly could.

We look forward to listening to some more fine singing when we volunteer here again on Tuesday afternoon.

After we ate our lunch in the Gay Games 9 volunteer room in Tower City, we stopped at Peet's Coffee for a coffee with soy milk and ended up sharing a table with Ms. Edith Kaplan, a very delightful Gay Games 9 Dancesport (aka Ballroom Dancing) contestant from Marin County, California.

Actually, Ms. Kaplan is initially from Austria but she moved to South America in 1995 and later immigrated to the United States in 2004 and settled in Marin in 2007. In 2008 she became a United States citizen. She now has her own company called "Divine Organics" which is a combination organic foods/marketing firm.

We talked to Ms. Kaplan about her experience in Cleveland with Gay Games 9 and she said that it was very exciting for her to be here and went on to say that when she walked out on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena during Opening Ceremonies last Saturday she felt "so much freedom to be together here with friends."

In the Dancesport competition, Ms. Kaplan is happy to be paired with her life partner Michelle (although she likes to be called 'Mitch') who is a fire fighter working in Oakland, California. Ms. Kaplan poignantly described her partner as being "very caring and strong-a real people's savior." We wish them both well.

After our duties with the chorus ended at 3:30pm, we walked over to festival village to volunteer at the Stonewall Democratic Club booth from 4pm to 11pm or so we thought.

We were encouraged to wear a t-shirt promoting any candidate or issue we wanted so we changed into the t-shirt we got at the recent immigration reform rally/march that said "Immigration Reform Now!" and put on our Margaret W. Wong and Associates name tag for all to see. So we gathered at the booth along with our fellow club members like Rob Rivera, Steve Bennett, Win Wetzer, and Mark Szabo and together we passed out stickers promoting the club to as many of the passers-by who would wear one.

The only trouble was that the weather was very uncertain with several periods of rain so, unfortunately, there were not as many people in festival village tonight as we had hoped for. We did meet an athlete who had just won a medal in the rowing competition who recognized the Ms. Wong's name and had heard that Ms. Wong was "pretty good".

Finally about 9pm we decided that it would be best to shut down early, as many of the other vendors were doing, so we packed up and went home but we are scheduled to work here again this Friday night when the prospects for good weather are excellent.

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