Doug Yocum loves choral singing so much, he’s in several local groups.
He sings in the National Cathedral choir, another group called District 8 and a Spanish group called Coral Cantigas. His group Chantry, which specializes in Baroque and Renaissance “early” music, has two concerts this weekend.
Though he loves singing different types of music with the various choirs, he says the balance of parts in early music makes singing with Chantry especially enjoyable.
“It really provides an opportunity to interact with the other singers,” he says. “You’re not just up there watching a conductor wave his hands. We do have a conductor, but there’s something about the way we sing that’s really special. You can truly interact with each other and the music is really a dialogue.”
Chantry has two concerts in the region this weekend. Tonight (Friday), its members will be St. Bernadette’s (70 University Blvd. East in Silver Spring) at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 8, the group will perform at St. Mary Mother of God (72 Fifth St., N.W.) in Chinatown. The group will perform “Spain in the Sistine at Christmas” a Mass by Cristobal de Morales. Tickets are $35 and $15 for students under 24. Visit chantrydc.com for details.
Yocum has been in the group for about a year. The 27-year-old Philadelphia native came to D.C. to go to school at the University of Maryland. By day, he works as a sales and supply support specialist for IKEA at its College Park, Md., location.
Yocum is single and lives in Columbia Heights. He enjoys music, kickball and exploring new bars and restaurants in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out my first year in college. The toughest person to tell was my best friend from high school. I kept so much of my personality guarded, so when I wanted to share that part of my life, even with someone close to me, it was like reintroducing myself.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Teresa Butz. As she and her partner were repeatedly raped and stabbed, Teresa sacrificed her life fighting off the attacker to give her partner a chance to escape. While opponents of equal rights continue to question the legitimacy of LGBT relationships, Teresa is an undeniable example of the love that can exist between two people, whatever their sexual orientation.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
MOVA. The bar is beautiful and the bartenders are friendly. The location is also convenient, and the rooftop is amazing in the summer.
Describe your dream wedding.
I’ve always dreamed of a big, traditional wedding mixed with some fun, quirky elements. It will be one of the most important days of my life, so I want to be able to share it with my family and friends.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Animal rights is an issue close to my heart. We all have a responsibility to advocate for animals. They can’t speak for themselves, so when we see injustices against them, it’s up to us to raise our voices.
What historical outcome would you change?
The 2000 presidential election. In addition to undermining the electoral system, it put us on a path that turned away from progress and reconciliation.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Probably the Janet Jackson nip slip. I was at a Super Bowl party with my church youth group when it happened, which, of course, resulted in immediate chaos, making it even more laughable for me. “Wardrobe malfunction” jokes were totally in vogue for months after.
On what do you insist?
Punctuality. It’s such an easy way to show respect to others.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
An Instagram of the National Cathedral in the snow.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Wall Cats, Temper Tantrums and Other Short Stories”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
The world is only as interesting as the people living in it. I definitely wouldn’t want to live in a less diverse world, so I would encourage everyone to embrace what makes them unique, and to share that with those around them.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe we’re all connected on some level. Every action, whether positive or negative, has consequences, so it’s important that we think about how our actions might affect someone else.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
I think it’s important to highlight the unique accomplishments and social contributions of LGBT people. It’s also vital that members of the LGBT community live lives that exemplify the values we wish to see in the world.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
Really good sushi. I was only recently turned on to sushi and now I can’t get enough of it.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
When straight friends think that their gay friends should date, just because they’re gay. “Oh you’re gay? I have a gay friend, I’ll have to set you up!”
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.” My grandmother let me watch it on Pay-per-View when my parents weren’t home. I don’t think she cared for it, but I thought it was great. It still makes me laugh and the ending gets me every time.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Asking “How are you?” We say it out of ritual, just to be polite, but we rarely stop to listen to the answer.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The TED Prize (Technology, Entertainment, Design). It’s a grant awarded to an extraordinary thinker to help them inspire others to change the world. It would be an incredible opportunity to leave a lasting mark on the world.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
I know it’s a cheesy cliché, but I wish I had truly understood that “fitting in” is really about being comfortable in your own skin.
If you’ve never gone to the National Mall for the Fourth of July, do it. Every summer, relaxing between the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument with thousands of other Washingtonians to enjoy the fireworks, I’m reminded how awesome this city is.