After Chen, Roy, Faye and I met with Ambassador Gary Locke we spent a few hours debriefing about the meeting, the concert, and the future of the Shining Jazzy Chorus. Faye (who has been one of the music directors of the group) said to me, “Before you came, we never really looked at ourselves. Now we have a whole new perception of who we are and what we can do.” This, to me, was the best possible outcome of my two weeks spent with the chorus: an ability to look much further ahead and take on new accomplishments. I really enjoyed the musical and staging rehearsal time I had with the chorus, and feel we made good strides in lots of different performance areas. But to see them taking on new roles, new responsibilities, stepping up to the gay choral plate as it were – this is truly marvelous. I feel honored and grateful to have been part of this time in their history.
A plan is afoot to get the Shining Jazzy Chorus (about 12 members or so) to the GALA Choruses Festival in Denver of 2016. I think this is very possible, and would be a life-changing event for everyone involved. I will most likely be creating a new USA Project to bring me back to Beijing in 2015 with a camera crew.
Since their inception in 2000, Barnes’ ensemble Captain Smartypants has performed with Margaret Cho, Jennifer Holliday, Kristin Chenoweth, American Idol finalist Blake Lewis and many others. Captain Smartypants has toured the Northwest and beyond with their shows Sticks and Stones, Undercover, Trousers of Terror, PowerPants, Cirque du Slaque and Air Smarty. ‘Fruit of the Month Club’ and ‘Undercover,’ Smartypants’ two CDs, are available online through iTunes, CD Baby or flyinghouse.org. Their video performance of ‘Kislev Cowboys’ (aka ‘Brokeback Dreidel’) has received over half a million hits on YouTube since it posted in 2008. Their 10-year anniversary show ‘Captain Smartypants: the First 100 Years’ broke all previous Smartypants box office records in its run at Seattle’s Town Hall in May of 2010.
Barnes’ list of choral commissioners includes The Esoterics; The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC; The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus; One Voice Charlotte; The Quire; Sound Circle; The Turtle Creek Chorale; and The Windy City Gay Chorus. Several of his pieces are published through Shawnee Press, including “Lambscapes” “It’s Our Christmas Cheer” and “Glee.”
Recently Eric wrote songs and underscoring for the independent films In-laws and Outlaws, Waxie Moon, Seattle to Ghana and the upcoming Fallen Jewel.