Last Sunday evening I got to sing some excerpts from Two Boys Kissing. And I’m kind of excited by it!
Okay… Let me back up for a second.
Two Boys Kissing is (sort of) a young adult novel by David Levithan.
The central storyline involves two boys trying to break the Guiness record for longest kiss. But the novel chronicles the stories of several different young male couples in various stages (first date, end of relationship, friends, and one boy’s lonely downward spiral of self destruction).
The interesting conceit here is that the whole novel is being narrated by a Greek chorus of “shadow uncles”– all the gay men who have lost the battle with AIDS. They watch over these boys and comment on their lives and choices.
At first it was difficult for me to get into the book– I mean, great. Another downer story involving AIDS, right? But the novel grew on me. And there is really some lovely and poignant writing in the narration sections.
But now you’re thinking “wait– you said You got to sing the book.”
And I did.
For the Twin Cities Gay Me ‘s Chorus 35th anniversary (and also for the GALA festival next summer), we have commissioned an original work based on this book.
And on Sunday night, the chamber singers got to sight read a couple excerpts to see how the piece is going to sound. And it was exciting! And not just because being the first to sing brand new music is pretty damn cool.
The musical setting will basically follow the novel. The chorus will be the Greek chorus and sing some of that prose. Then individuals will narrate parts of the story with underlying music.
Below is a quote of one of the chunks that we sang on Sunday:
The music for this is moment is spare and simple– the word love gets repeated as we slowly ascend a simple scale. Then the painful part is a bit darker. But then the next lines…. Omg. When we reach “essential”— the chord changes unexpectedly and it’s heart wrenching and glorious and tear inducing.
I’m definitely excited to sing more of it.
And the cool thing is that we get to take this to Denver over July 4th next year for the GALA festival, where we get to perform it in its entirety.
I hope the whole piece turns out well. We’ll know in January when we start rehearsing it.