January 24, 2020 at 9:47 am EST | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: Marc Donnelly
Marc Donnelly, gay news, Washington Blade
Marc Donnelly (Photo courtesy Six Degree Singers)

Marc Donnelly has filled many roles in the Six Degree Singers. As a countertenor, his range was expansive enough that he was formerly the alto section leader. He accompanies on the piano. He’s been on the board and this year he’s serving as associate artistic director under director Rachel Carlson, who started the 40-voice choir in her mom’s basement in early 2009.

The Singers have two upcoming concerts. They’ll perform on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 4:30 p.m. at Hughes Methodist Church in Wheaton, Md.; and Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. The program for both is “SHOWER to SHORE: a Celebration of Water,” featuring music from various genres and periods. Tickets are $12-15 (or $15-20 at the door). Free for youth 18 and younger. Details at singsix.com or e-mail to sixdegreesingers@gmail.com with questions.

About 20 percent of the choir is LGBTQ. Their repertoire is varied — contemporary, renaissance, world, folk, jazz and more. 

Donnelly, a 34-year-old, North Kingstown, R.I., native, moved to the region from New England in 2012 for his husband, Chris Wilbert’s, work with MedStar Emergency Physicians. Donnelly runs his own music studio offering piano and voice lessons by day (marcsdonnelly.com). 

He and Wilbert live in Silver Spring. Donnelly enjoys baking, cooking, gardening, neighborhood walks, dinner parties, ice skating and travel in his free time.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

A high school friend who’d also confided in me about something significant. We were able to support each other. I came out to the rest of the world over the following year.

Who’s your LGBTQ hero?

Either Ellen or Rachel Maddow. 

What LGBTQ stereotype most annoys you?

When someone inevitably asks my husband and me who does the cooking? Our answer: we both do! 

What’s your proudest professional achievement?

I’m very proud of having developed a music studio that focuses on a wholistic music education for all students: technique, music history, theory, listening skills, concert behavior and general civics among students.

What terrifies you?

Heights. I remember being at the Grand Canyon and my dad wanted a photo of us at the edge. My brother picked me up to get me closer to the edge for a picture. I wasn’t a big fan of that at all, but seeing as he was more than twice my size, I didn’t have much of a choice.

What’s something trashy or vapid you love?

Back in the day, I remember loving to binge “Dante’s Cove.” It was terrible and fantastic.

What’s your greatest domestic skill?

Gardening. I’m particularly proud of my ghost and scorpion peppers that I’ve been growing for the past four years. I really love learning about the entire gardening process and appreciate the time, planning and care that goes into helping something grow.

What’s your favorite LGBTQ movie or show? 

“Queer as Folk.” This was transformative for me in college, helping me realize that LGBTQ relationships were possible by actually seeing one. We didn’t receive this input from most media growing up. Seeing it helped me to visualize that what I have now was a real possibility.

What’s your social media pet peeve?

Seeing people out together at a meal and all of them are on their phones. I hope for a return to our society valuing face to face interactions over screens.

What would the end of the LGBTQ movement look like to you? 

Like attending our welcoming and embracing church, but out in the everyday world. There would be no fear of holding hands or showing affection to those you love.

What’s the most overrated social custom?

Having to ask permission to use the restroom.

What was your religion, if any, as a child and what is it today?

I grew up in the Episcopal church and am still a regular at Christ Church in Kensington on Sunday mornings. I love that I can openly hold hands or kiss my husband in that community. We celebrated our wedding there and are joined with other LGBTQ couples in a truly blessed community.

What’s D.C.’s best hidden gem?

Biking the monuments at night is pretty spectacular. We have a route for taking out-of-town guests around the tidal basin. It’s a bit more precarious in the dark, but no one has fallen in yet.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?

Y2K

What celebrity death hit you hardest? 

Ned Stark on “Game of Thrones.” When did TV decide it was OK to kill off title characters before the season was even over?

If you could redo one moment from your past, what would it be?

Honestly, I wouldn’t want to change any personal decisions.

What are your obsessions?

Vowels and intonation. I spend a lot of my days talking with singers about tall vowels. If they aren’t right, the music will never be in tune and I’m overly sensitive when they aren’t what they should be. That and ridiculously hot, hot sauce.

Finish this sentence — It’s about damn time:

… for some snacks. I’ve gotten hungry answering all these questions! Who’s bringing the nachos?

What do you wish you’d known at 18?

That the best parts of life and my best friends would come in the future. It gets better!

Why Washington?

Despite the traffic, life in the DMV is amazing. The cultures and languages represented, restaurants, liberal politics, access to good airports and wonderful neighbors.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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