Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sexi Sopranos- Just Married, Still Laughing!

By Christi Amonson 

After the SCOTUS ruling allowing gay marriage in all states, I think it is timely to tell a story about two sopranos who fell in love…and got married. Tami Petty and Sarah Griffiths have agreed to answer my questions without any bribery whatsoever. All information divulged in this storycomes from the primary source of Facebook interviews. 

I met Tami while we were young artists at Chautauqua Opera. Her last name is my maiden name, so although not related, we considered ourselves insta-soul-sisters. Tami never dated much. She excelled in school, began a successful career singing opera and with a lot of courage, she embraced her authentic self and came out as gay. Not so long ago, she heard a laugh. Now my friend Tami has the greatest laugh you’ve ever heard. Friends of hers will tell you it is her best quality—tied with her loyalty, sense of humor and her gorgeous voice--yes, she’s practically perfect. Well, the laugh she heard touched her somewhere new and when she met the soprano behind the laugh, two lives were changed forever. Tami and Sarah, two sopranos with careers in different parts of the country, fell in love and committed to sharing their lives. Sarah moved to New York City with Tami and a year ago they got married where it was legal, in New York. Spend five minutes with them and you will get the warm fuzzies you may vaguely remember from your first crush. These two sopranos are crazy for each other and they make each other so happy that you cannot help but feel happy, too. Tami Petty is a full lyric towards dramatic soprano with a career in oratorio, and she is the 2014 international winner of the Joy In Singing Competition, and will serve this year as Interim Music Director at Middle Collegiate Church in lower Manhattan. Sarah Griffiths is a specialist in early music, she makes a living singing with the best choirs in NYC and she has recorded two albums with the early music ensemble she co-founded, Armonia Celeste, check them out!

Of course their Fachs cross paths occasionally as Sarah also sings contemporary music and opera and Tami also sings concert works and choral gigs. When asked if they ever get competitive, they live in denial and refer to the age-old question, “How many sopranos does it take to change a light bulb?” I asked them if they coach one another or if that was taboo. Tami answered, “We provide help and encouragement to one another. We both have terminal degrees in our field, but we learn a lot from each other. For the past two seasons we have worked together as Artistic Directors for a local salon concert series. This has helped us grow together as a couple and learn more about each other as artists.” Sarah mentioned that early on in their relationship Tami helped edit her doctoral dissertation but, “we drew the line at the bibliography.” I think I can speak for those of us who have experienced this process and say, “Oh, hell yeah!”

I did my due diligence trying to stamp out any stereotypes, but sorry, but they DO shop at Home Depot. They watch Battlestar Gallactica and it is rumored that one of them follows America’s Top Model…. These sopranos are active Christians that believe "all are welcome at God's table," and they strive to treat all people equally because, “God = love.” I love these two amazing humans and I think they are living proof that our country needed to make progress and we should support the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize the rights of all American citizens to legally marry. I asked them if the SCOTUS ruling has changed their relationship and the answer was a resounding, “YES.” Tami and Sarah want to live in a state where they have equal rights and now they can both consider universityteaching opportunities and travel for gigs in all states. The girls both told me, “This is a very welcome, positive change!” When asked how the ruling will change the lives of their LGBT friends, Tami simply stated in her lovable smartass way, “Now they won’t be jealous of us anymore.” 

I asked Tami and Sarah about their own wedding and their tips for a successful marriage. As newlyweds, of course they know it all! They both have incredibly supportive family members and their first obstacle in their wedding planning began in 2012 when they found they could not be legally married in the states where their families lived.  They opted for a small, destination wedding in the Adirondacks, which held strong childhood memories for Sarah and was reminiscent of Tami's family cabin in Ontario. What is their immediate Rx for a happy relationship? “Separate desks are a must—even in a tiny Manhattan apartment.” They love to be silly, sing tuneless songs and they each agree that being married to a soprano may lead to gray hair, but they want to age gleefully and gracefully…together."