really starting to polish it,” Thea Kano says.The artistic director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington was referring to a rehearsal of “My Tennessee Mountain Home,” part of the group’s upcoming tribute to Dolly Parton. “Some of our songs are upbeat and fun and all that,” Kano says. “Others, such as this one, are more choral and really show off the range of our singing — both with our technique and our dynamics.”“My Tennessee Mountain Home” has proven to be challenging for the group to get right — and in ways going beyond simply mastering the technical aspects of the vocals and arrangement.Since they started rehearsing the show in March, Kano has had several singers approach her with how emotionally difficult the song is to perform, especially “given all that’s going on — anti-LGBTQ/trans laws and drag queen bans.”The ugly, hateful reality of contemporary politics and culture in the state is hard to square with the distorted, rose-tinted view painted by Parton’s romanticized lyrics, playing up Tennessee’s natural beauty and the friendly, folksiness of residents.Some members of the chorus struggled with the idea of singing it at all, and saying anything positive about Tennessee. “It’d be really easy to say ‘f-you’ to Tennessee and Florida, and leave it at that,” Kano says.
Instead, the chorus will pursue “really a very artful way of addressing [the issues].”During between-song banter from the stage, two chorus members originally from Tennessee will be “talking about…how important it is that we sing for the queer community in Tennessee.
There are a lot of great people in Tennessee doing the hard work.”Furthermore, another chorus member with “a drag queen following [is] going to actually come on stage and conduct the.