Thursday 11 April – singing your politics – The SAGE singers

Did I really wish it would get cool and rainy so I could wear The Coat? What am I, crazy? It hasn’t stopped raining.

I go to visit the SAGE singers, yet another of the opportunities for participating in the arts for older LGBT. There is a huge affection for this organisation that serves its community so well. I speak to some of the women: “I wouldn’t be straight you know. All they do is play bingo. Look at all the stuff we get at SAGE. And everyone’s nice.”

As with all other SAGE groups I’ve attended, everyone is nice. Every group is mixed, both men and women, and every group starts on time with energy and focus. There are about 12 people, mostly women. They sing a number of songs through only once, songs they’ve obviously been singing for years. There is a huge variety, from typical American Western songs played on the guitar to things that have words that have been “gayed up”:

Cowboys are frequently, secretly fond of each other
That’s why they wear leather and belts that are buckled up tight


Gay Pride Forever! Gay Pride Forever!
Join the Parade and take your love by the hand

and (in a song about gay marriage)

New York made us legal, it feels so great
Let’s fight until we’re legal in every single state

After which one man said “I’m so glad we sang that song. Last week my Fred and I made it legal!”

Much applause from all. Within the rehearsal there is a huge amount of good feeling. Lots of laughs, chatting and giggles. I asked Bill the guitarist afterward if the group performed. “Not enough” he replied.  But no one seems to mind. SAGE Singers really seems to be about the process of getting together every week and singing through their songs in a friendly atmosphere.

Bill told me the Singers were started by a woman who died in January. Two  years ago she told Bill she needed to talk to him. “I’m sick. I’ve got to pass the group over,” she said “so you’ve got to learn the guitar.” Since that time Bill has been learning his chords and preparing for the seamless takeover. The group has been going since 2007. And it seems as though there’s no reason it shouldn’t continue in its unhurried, unpressured loving way forever.


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