Come April 9, some big changes will take place, as Clare House passes the Bingo A-GoGo scepter—make that dauber—to the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus (TCGMC), now celebrating its 30th Anniversary.
Bingo Babe Lee Haugee, TCGMC Executive Director Jeff Heine, and Bingo Babe Shannon Regan recently spoke with Lavender concerning this tectonic shift.
Interview with Lee Haugee
Would you fill us in on the change?
After almost a decade of presenting Bingo A-GoGo, Clare Housing is turning over the reins to the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus. In the fall, Park House and the chorus will present Bingo A-GoGo. Clare Housing will now be diversifying our fundraising efforts to support our rapid growth in affordable housing and supportive services to people who are at risk of homelessness and living with HIV/AIDS.
What will become of the Bingo Babes?
I will continue with my Bingo Babe role through Beauty Pageant Bingo on April 9, and then help with training and a smooth transition for the chorus. Shannon Regan, the other Bingo Babe, will still proudly wear the title, and will no doubt add a Bingo Boy from the chorus.
Will you be staying with Clare Housing? If not, what are your plans for the future?
I will retire in June. However, this will not be the last that people see of me. I am so excited to actually be able to play bingo in the fall! More importantly, Clare Housing and the wonderful residents we serve are so important to me. My work in this arena has changed the way I look at my life in relationship to others. I am looking forward to volunteering with Clare Housing by cooking dinner at our care homes on a regular schedule.
Interview with Jeff Heine
How do you and the chorus you feel about this new challenge?
I am of the firm belief that you don’t fix what works, and Bingo A-GoGo works. However, each one has its own theme, and there is an opportunity to reinvent Bingo A-GoGo with each event. I think what you can expect from the chorus is a continued involvement. Several chorus members already volunteer, and help Park House with this and other events. You will see a larger involvement from the members of the chorus. Maybe even some music-related themes will show up in the future. That’s what is exciting for me right now—all of the possibilities for continuing to make Bingo A-GoGo a successful event!
Interview with Shannon Regan
What is your Babe’s-eye view of the new Bingo A-GoGo?
When Park House found out a few months ago that Clare Housing would be adopting a new model of fundraising, we needed to start searching for another partner. This was not an easy decision. For the last nine years, Lee and I were known as the Bingo Babes, and the thought of finding another Bingo Babe that could fill Lee’s shoes was unthinkable. Where would we even start? The more I thought about it, the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus kept popping into my mind. Park House and the chorus have had a wonderful 11-year history working together. It just sounded like an incredible opportunity to work together again, and to bring our respective friends and supports together to celebrate all that we do.
How do you see Bingo A-GoGo’s future?
In the past 26 Bingo events, we have all stood and raised our daubers in the air, as Miss Richfield took us through the Bingo oath, stating, “I solemnly swear that I am here to raise money for people living with HIV/AIDS.” This will not change. We are still raising money towards this effort, but we are adding to it. The Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus helps fight discrimination through its work and mission. Basically, things will remain the same—it will still be that wacky game of Bingo.
Would you share a few last words?
Park House would like to thank Clare Housing, and especially Bingo Babe Lee Haugee for her dedication these last nine years. I have never worked with anyone who is so dedicated to her task. We would also like to recognize all the volunteers—without them, these many years of successful events would never have taken place. We look forward to our new partnership with the chorus, but we will never forget where we came from, and who helped us get there. Lee, you will always be Bingo Babe #1. Thank you, my friend, for nine wonderful years. My God, Lee, it’s taking 143 gay men to replace you!
Bingo A Go-Go
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
1300 Nicollet Ave., Mpls.