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Community Profile: Women's chorus president giddy about Indigo Girls collaboration

SAN DIEGO -- Carin Scheinin, the president of the San Diego Women’s Chorus (SDWC), isn’t joking when she says the group has a BIG show coming up.

The SDWC will perform alongside the Indigo Girls next month in the "Songs of Protest, Songs of Peace" concert, and they plan to raise money for a great cause: the Lesbian Health Initiative Fund of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation.

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News speaks with Carin about her excitement about the upcoming event as well as her passion for the performing arts.

Age: 34

Hometown: San Jose, Calif.

Single or taken:

I'm engaged, so very much taken. My fiancee (who I met in SDWC) and I will be married next March.

How many years have you been in San Diego?

12.5 years. I arrived in San Diego on November 1, 2001.

As president of SDWC, what does a typical day look like for you?

I have a full-time time job working in administration for a local social services/child development agency, so technically being president of the chorus is my almost full-time unpaid second job. I'm not sure a typical day really exists with chorus work, though almost daily I interact with the members of our board of directors about the various items on our plate and interact with members of the chorus, via email, on Facebook, sometimes in person and via phone. I respond to A LOT of email - from our members, from our collaborative partners, and from outside people in the community. I correspond with our artistic staff, as well as our venues (both for rehearsal and events). I spend time researching venues for future performances, create email announcements for our members, update our social media site, brainstorm about better ways to run the chorus. I try to really know the pulse of everything happening in the organization and I think it helps that I'm a singing member and really like to be in the loop in general.

Did you have one “moment” or time in your life when you knew immediately you had to pursue musical passions?

I can't think of a specific moment when I knew I really loved music or anything in particular that inspired me. Lame response, I know. When I was young -- I think 4 or 5 -- I really wanted to learn to play piano, though I don't even know why. I started taking lessons at the very end of Kindergarten and took lessons until I graduated high school. I loved singing and dancing from a really young age. I was one of those toddlers in tap class. In Kindergarten, my class did a performance of “Cinderella” set to the music of “My Fair Lady” and I think I feel in love with musical theater. I had a really husky, gravelly voice when I was younger and I never thought I was a good singer. I didn't really actively sing in an organized fashion until High School, but I've always been drawn to music. I remember my great grandma singing me to sleep with lullabies and my mom doing the same. I love singing with SDWC because I love singing with a group. I love the power of creating something together and those moments of magic that can appear.

What was the first album you ever bought?

Oh man, I don't even remember. I listened to a lot of late '60s/'70s music growing up because my parents loved the songs that came out of that time. I'm pretty sure I bought a Richard Marx single tape in middle school. I can tell you that my first Indigo Girls album was “Swamp Ophelia,” followed by “Rites of Passage.” I'm pretty sure I wore those two albums out from playing them so much.

The May matchup of SDWC and Indigo Girls sounds phenomenal. Are there any Indigo Girls songs or musical passages that never fails to move you emotionally?

I'll have to say this: I'm a HUGE Indigo Girls fan and performing with them is beyond a dream come true. It's hard to narrow down to just one song or even one passage. "The Wood Song" is one of their songs that always makes me really emotional. It's about getting through those hard times and realizing that you have to walk through challenges and experience the pain to grow. When I've experienced really tough times in my life, that song helps remind me that I need the rough patches to become a better person and to just try to hold on for the ride. Another passage that almost knocked me to the ground the first time I heard it is from "Fleet of Hope." When the song came out, I was really exploring the idea that I could become the person I was seeking in others, that I could be enough for myself and didn't need someone else in order to be happy. This line about waiting for me and not for someone else is really powerful.

When I was a girl
All of my fancy took flight
And I had this dream
Could outshine anything
Even the darkest night
Now I wait like a widow for someone to come back from sea
I've always known
I was waiting for me.

What’s a little piece of trivia we don’t know about you?

I can be really shy and socially awkward when meeting new people. I don't like networking events because I don't know what to say to people. Also, I can't wink with my right eye.

What would you like to see change in the LGBT community?

I’d like to see the San Diego LGBT community have a stronger, more prevalent, inclusive women's community. I'd love to see a more cohesive community that can really include everyone, not just the people who are into the social scene. San Diego feels very much like a boys' town and it can be a real challenge to find and create women's spaces that are honored within the larger community. I'd also really like to see San Diego become more inclusive of the transgender and bisexual communities. I've definitely seen improvement in the last number of years, but I think the L and G can get a little self-focused at times. We’ve fought so long and hard for the rights of lesbian and gay men and women, but we can’t forget that we shouldn’t rest until all people have the right to live openly and proudly about who they are.

What do you like most about the local LGBT community?

We are lucky in San Diego to have a strong LGBT presence within the city. I love that we have LGBT and LGBT-allied representation in San Diego and from San Diego. We can see ourselves in our local and state government and know that our representatives have our interests in mind. People like Todd Gloria and Toni Atkins are such shining stars in our community. I also totally love our strong ally community, in the SDWC, but also in San Diego in general. I think being involved with SDWC and AIDS/LifeCycle, as well as prior volunteer work with the No on 8 campaign, has allowed me to realize how many people are willing to step forward, be a part of something and take a stand for something that may not have to do with their personal identity, but that they feel strongly about. I’m constantly in awe of that.

What sorts of things do you do to enrich your social life outside of SDWC?

I really enjoy yoga, cycling with AIDS/LifeCycle Team San Diego (I've done AIDS/LifeCycle for the last 3 years and am a certified Training Ride Leader), country dancing at Kickers, and spending time with friends just hanging out or playing games. I sometimes have to remind myself that I need downtime too.

If you could host a dinner party and invite three people (dead or alive), who would they be and why?

My Grandma Claralee, who died before I was born and who I'm named after, President Barack Obama, and Julie Andrews. Man, that would be an awesome night!

The details

Community members should save the date of May 18 for the show, which will take place at 7 pm at the Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego. Tickets sales are already through the roof. Grab your tickets now to assure yourself a seat.

For additional information, click HERE.