A lot can be learned from a gay man. Especially a teacher.
My favorite teacher kept it real, simple and really simple! He had such an impact on my life. While other teachers would make me do what THEY felt I needed to learn, Mr. Chris would make ME figure out the songs I needed to work on.
He would let me choose top 40 songs and then adapt them to the opera I studied at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis MN. Who knew Madonna's songs could be transformed into music that even the opera would relish. :-)
He had such an incredible attitude. He was always glad to see me. He would open his window so all of downtown could hear us both singing in harmony. :-)
Many times he would close his eyes and say, "when I don't look at you, and only hear your voice... child, I swear you were black." Lol.
I always got a kick out of that. Highest honor, as all of my heroes and role models in music were African American.
We'd study #Prince, #Whitney Houston, #Aretha Franklin, #Eartha Kit, #Billie Holiday, #Ella Fitzgerald, #Michael Jackson... What a party we had by the little window with the white paint chipping off...
Many times Mr. Chris would rather teach at his little downtown apartment. I would rather go there any day! He had 3 cats! Say No More!
We would sing and so would his #Persians. They knew good music.
I would arrive and candles would be burning & the songs I would be studying playing in the background. A cup of Jasmine tea would be waiting and the cleanest home possible would be influencing me in a way I didn't realize until now.
Mr. Chris was a teacher. A music teacher at that. He didn't have a ton of money.
But he was rich. :-) He had an attitude that wouldn't die.
He would understatedly preach the importance of a clean space. How it was almost an insult to God and the angles to not make your place as clean and organized as you possible could. Even having a home was a blessing and gift. He reminded me this as the homeless people could be seen pushing carts of aluminum cans outside his Grant avenue apartment window.
He said whatever you are given, make the best of it. Make it count. Make it beautiful.
His place was spotless. So was his his heart.
So many gay men in my life influence me to see the beauty in everything.
Even a kitchen drawer.
He took pride in even that.
No stone unturned.
#RIP Mr. Chris.
I'm sorry those 3 letters took you, but you left behind a legacy of #Appreciation, #Organization, a #CleanHome & one hell of a #BigVoice.
Props to all of the great #Teachers out there.
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