”About four years ago I took a stab at writing a song,” says J.T. Hatfield Charles, ”which is by no means anything more than something a first-grader would write.”
Hatfield wrote the song, ”And Then Came You,” for his partner Dixon Charles, who’s 47. But the 42-year-old didn’t sing it to Charles. ”I’m tone-deaf,” he explains. So instead, he recruited a girlfriend from high school to do the honors. Next weekend, he’s lined up the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington to put its own spin on the song.
(Photo by Peter Serko)
The chorus will serenade the happy couple as part of the program My Big Fat Gay Wedding. The two will even get hitched onstage at the concert, which also features ”wedding singer” Matt Alber. It’s the result of the couple being the highest bidder for the deed at the chorus’s annual gala last year. ”When Dixon and I saw that opportunity in the brochure,” says Hatfield Charles, ”it was one of those things, we were going to get it no matter what.”
Together eight years, the Maryland couple is actually already married, having eloped to Connecticut four years ago. But especially now that their home state allows same-sex nuptials, ”we wanted to be able to have our ceremony in front of all those people that supported us,” says Hatfield Charles, a GMCW board member. The program includes Broadway love songs – such as Sondheim’s ”The Little Things You Do Together” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ”Something Wonderful” – as well as pop songs by Whitney Houston and India.Arie, covered by San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Alber. It ends with a Champagne-and-cake reception in the Lisner Auditorium lobby.
”I’m looking forward to one hell of a toast,” says Hatfield Charles. ”From a marriage standpoint, I look forward to a lifetime of my last eight years. I can’t ask for anything more than what I have.”
The Gay Men’s Chorus performs Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. Lisner Auditorium, The George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $55. Call 202-293-1548 or visit lisner.org or gmcw.org.