Music is an integral part of the holiday season for many and the Choral Arts Society of Washington is in the midst of its annual holiday concert series.
“As a musician, there’s always such great music to sing and play this time of year,” says Marty Brown, an alto who joined the chorus last year. “I like the chance to be a bit reflective as we head into the coldest part of the winter.”
One of Brown’s favorite pieces in the program is “Fourteen Angels” by Jeffrey Van in memory of a child who died in infancy. She especially enjoys the acoustic guitar accompaniment by Michael Bard.
“It’s really more of a duet between the choir and the guitar,” the 52-year-old Wilmington, N.C., native says. “It’s lush and soulful.”
Brown, who also sings in the smaller Choral Arts Chamber Singers choir (about 30 people vs. about 175 in the full choir), says there’s a good representation of LGBT singers in the choir.
“I must say the group has embraced my LGBT-ness wholeheartedly,” she says. “Even allowing me to wear the same uniform as the men since dresses are not my thing.”
The choir performs mostly classical repertoire although they also do pop and gospel on various occasions. Brown also plays piano and enjoys playing for fun in the evenings at home.
The alto works by day as an IT consultant. She and wife Laura Wisotzkey and son Jack live in Kensington, Md., in Garrett Park Estates near the Strathmore. Brown enjoys swimming, singing, piano and cooking for her family in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out since 1994. My mom was the hardest to tell. Although she didn’t take it well at first, she’s supportive now.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Ellen DeGeneres. She’s handled being the first lesbian celebrity with such style and grace and managed to stay positive and upbeat. Very admirable.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Absolutely no idea. I’ve never been a nightspot type of person, much preferring quiet dinners with friends.
Describe your dream wedding.
Casual, on the beach, barefoot, with friends and family around.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
The emotional health of children — encouraging both boys and girls to embrace the full range of human emotion and to pursue whatever they’re passionate about, regardless of whether or not it’s a “girl’s” or “boy’s” activity.
What historical outcome would you change?
The 2016 presidential election. I believe the damage the Trump administration is doing will take us decades to recover from, if we even can.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
When the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. I remember walking out of my office building, getting a text with the news of the decision and just bursting into happy tears.
On what do you insist?
Treating everyone with respect and dignity.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A share of an article I wanted my wife to read entitled “Why Your Grumpy Teenager Doesn’t Want to Talk to You.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“She Loved Big”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Work to educate people that it is unnecessary and harmful to change sexual orientation.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
It’s about every oppressed minority, not just LGBT folks. Let’s work together to raise everyone up.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My family (including my pets and my family of choice).
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
All stereotypes are annoying because they limit how self-expressed we can be. The most annoying one is that LGBT people are somehow a threat to children, that we’re pedophiles.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Clothing restrictions based on gender.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I have the respect and love of my family and friends and coworkers and couldn’t ask for more than that.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I should just relax because my life was going to be awesome and amazing and I had time to learn how to live my truth.
It’s a great city with so much to offer on so many levels, especially culturally. I love the multi-cultural melting pot that is D.C. and the perspectives of folks who’ve lived all over the world. My worldview is so much richer for having lived in D.C. the last 20-plus years.