How I Scored Vacations and Supported my Chorus at the Same Time

Denver Gay Men's Chorus, Denver Women's Chorus, Rocky Mountain Arts Association News

Written by Denver Women’s Chorus Member V Rose McDougall Two-Spirit, She/Her

I’ve always wanted to travel. Growing up watching Carnival Cruise commercials and vacation timeshare advertisements, it always felt like something that would forever be out of reach for me. Well, folks, I’m going to Mexico AND another destination of my choice! WHAT? No, it’s not a dream (I tell myself), I bid on and won TWO trips!

But what’s even better is, I supported my local non-profit LGBTQIA+ community chorus that I sing with!

                The Rocky Mountain Arts Association hosts a big to-do every year entitled “Cabaret: UNLEASHED!” and this past Saturday the 21st was the 4th annual cocktail hour and fundraising event. I got there right on time, but then again so did everyone else. Got through the check-in process all the while glad there’d be dinner at the end of the line as I was quite hungry already when I stepped into it. I was not disappointed. The caterers were buzzing about the room and the buffet table was already well-stocked after a first big wave of hungry folks. It was a PASTA bar.

Two different kinds of salad, both good for their own reasons, and many choices to top the mound of penne I piled on my plate. I couldn’t choose between the robust marinara sauce or the cheesy, buttery alfredo sauce so I mixed the two. They also had the meat SEPARATE on the table which I appreciated, with a choice of spicy sausage or chicken. I went with sausage on my noodles and threw some chicken in my salad; couldn’t choose yet again. I thought the staff did an excellent job keeping everything full, fresh, and the people were definitely loving it all! I had a couple of signature “Step into the Dark” tequila sunrise-type drinks (the other specialty offer was a take on a Bloody Mary) and it must’ve been the perfect choice to lubricate my bidding arm. I checked out the Silent Auction items on beautifully decorated tables as I made my way to my seat.

Who Will Join in our Crusade!

In addition to the wonderful food and refreshments, we were all treated to a top-notch SHOW for our ticket price! The whole ensemble came out and sang a number together first, and I was struck by how coordinated and polished my fellow singers are; they really worked their buns off!! They were dressed in crisp black with accents of bright fire-engine red. I see suspenders, bow ties, pocket squares, flowers, shirts, scarves; each one had their own little pop of red. After a group number came solo performances complete with costume changes! Some sang of their heroes and heroines; some sang like they love every single molecule of Disney villainy ever produced, but ALL my song siblings were simply fantastic!

First live bidding was “Winner’s 1st Choice” out of 4 prizes. You could hear the crowd falling over themselves at the mention of Denver HAMILTON tickets, and I got a little excited myself. I attempted, with a few bids, to get the tickets for a top bid of $1000 but was quickly outbid; SO quickly in fact, I just let it go, but since I was one of the highest bidders I got one of the other prizes! I chose the 2-night stay and 2 tour tickets at the Historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Halloween is coming up, what a perfect little get-away complete with true hauntings!

Soon there was more wonderful music to be heard! We had our own Ursula tricking ‘Poor, Unfortunate Souls’ into giving up their voices, a trembling Fatima of Les Misérables who ‘..Dreamed a Dream’ of a life worth living, the Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen professing that she’ll “kill your friends and family to remind you of [her] love” (a catchy little number from Hamilton), we saw TWO incarnations of Regina George (who is SUCH a big deal), and a scary witch cursing us all to have our ‘Last Midnight!’    

After an exciting round of Heads or Tails for Colorado Avalanche tickets in which my friend and cocktail-tablemate WON, it was time for the big-ticket items to be auctioned off. I don’t know how I ended up winning TWO trips, but the live bidding was just SO exciting. There’s something about having a numbered paddle in your hand that just gets your adrenaline pumping to thrust your hand up. I’m so glad we had such a big turn out and that I had good competition for these packages! It’s no fun unless there’s a bidding war! And we were able to sell multiple packages at my top bid price of $2000!

First was the trip to MEXICO! This is a 7-night stay for 2 adults (and 2 children 12-years-old and under) in a Grand Mayan Master Room at one of 5 destinations at a beautiful VIDANTA members-only resort. I can choose from Acapulco, Nuevo Vallarta, Cancun-Rivera Maya, Los Cabos, or Puerto Penasco. These destinations are 4- and 5-Star resorts with world-class restaurants and bars, crystal clear pools, miles of private beachfront, entertainment and activities, and shopping on-site as well as access to off-resort excursions and historic adventure activities. I have 12 months to book, 18 months to travel, and there are NO blackout dates. I am free to book as if I am already a Vidanta Mexico Resort MEMBER! How cool is that!?

The second trip, the Ultimate Beach Package, is EVEN BIGGER and includes 7-nights in a studio or 1-bedroom RESORT CONDO for up to 4 guests with choices of over 100 different destination resorts all over the WORLD including Maui, Bali, Spain, and Mexico. I wanted to bid up to help my chorus, but I also just REALLY wanted to win. It’s an incredible value (both resort stays over ½ off retail price!), and I get to support my safe space, my impossibly wonderful chorus, while I’m at it!

Back to the show:

More music, including more group numbers, finished out the night on a high note! We learned that ‘Mother Knows Best’ when it comes to Rapunzel leaving her tower, Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd stopped by with a new gruesome business proposal for their meat pie shop, and a heartfelt plea from The Last 5 Years entitled ‘If I Didn’t Believe In You’ reminded me that we have heroes that love us in our lives every day. Such a well-rounded show, and Mark Zwilling was wonderful accompanying every single number! That guy works pretty darn hard too.

I couldn’t keep up with all the costume changes, the choreography was so well done, and I could tell that everyone involved had bent over backwards working long hours to bring this show together. What dedication! What showmanship! Big, big thanks to all the performers and staff, organizers and volunteers that made this event possible. It might’ve been the BEST ONE YET! I can’t wait to see the stops we pull next year.

I will always support the Rocky Mountain Arts Association and its choruses, and I can think of no better way to do that than making a considerable donation AND getting to feel warm sand between my toes and go places I’ve NEVER been before! I thank RMAA and all the supporters and donors that made the 4th Annual Cabaret: UNLEASHED! fundraising event such a WILD success this year. I get to knock items off my bucket list while supporting an organization that is beyond important in my Front Range community and my life. Please consider joining us at future events and concerts! The Denver Women’s Chorus has a fundraiser coming up for Halloween that’s even PARTICIPATORY (Scary-OKE Karaoke Fundraiser 10/25/19 at LIVE @ Jacks downtown Denver) and Denver Gay Men’s Chorus is about to take YOU on a world tour for the Holidays (Passport to the Holidays Dec 5-7th)!  Tickets on sale NOW!

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