Chicago is alive with not only the Gay Games sports competitions but with a festival of arts and cultural exhibits and performances as well.
Tuesday afternoon we went to the Chicago Cultural Center to see a beautiful combination of the arts and a hopeful look into the future.
The concert combined the music of the Diverse Harmony Gay/Straight Alliance Youth Chorus from Seattle, and Chicago (now Los Angeles) singer Alexandra Billings and pianist Russ Long.
The chorus members ages 13-22 are 15 of the most beautiful children I've ever seen. As they were singing I knew some were gay, lesbian, Transgendered and straight. It wasn't obvious which were which and it didn't matter. That's their beauty, and their lesson to us.
Alexandra was fantastic. This is the funniest woman in this world. Her rapport with the audience is electric and her rapid fire ad libs and facial expressions are unbelievably funny. Of course she sings. She sang Judy and Liza songs and told Judy and Liza jokes. We were in heaven.
The young chorus members watching Alex were too. It was obvious she is a role model and now a hero to these kids. They see accomplishment, strength, and hope in Alex. She has paved the way for them. In these young people, we see hope for a tolerant society where people can be accepted for who they are.
The last song was a Russ Long arrangement for Alexandra and the chorus of Carley Simon's anthem Let The River Run . If you've ever heard Miss Billings sing this song you know it belongs to her. The combination of Alex and this very special talented young choir was magical.
Pass the tissues.