Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers out there. I continue to hope that you all are staying healthy and wearing your masks and washing your hands and staying at least six feet apart when you do go out. I missed you recently since my old Mac died and I ordered a new iMac which arrived last week so I am ready to go. This week I am continuing my series of Pride Concert Program and Poster Art. I have included four photos of the art from 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987.
On June 22, 1984 was the 6th Annual Gay Musical Celebration at the Nourse Auditorium. In these early years the Pride concert was produced by Golden Gate Performing Arts and Remy Martin Cognac. The program cover for this concert was nostalgic. It featured a photo of Clark Gable and Jeanette McDonald in the movie "San Francisco". Also there are photos of San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, an old photo of a cable car and one of the "painted ladies" houses along Alamo Square. I noticed on the back of the program under "Art and Design" the name of Mark Woodworth and Terrific Graphics so I imagine they designed this program. The concert starred SFGMC with special guests S. F. Lesbian/Gay Chorus, the Dick Kramer Gay Men's Chorale and the Barbary Coast Cloggers. In this concert our Artistic Director was Matt O'Grady.
On June 28 and 29, 1985 was the 7th Annual Gay Musical Celebration at Mission High School Auditorium. This particular program was actually a free newspaper and on the front page is a picture of a few members of SFGMC. This was published by Golden Gate Performing Arts and the concert was produced again by GGPA and Remy Martin. The groups who performed on June 28 were Sistah Boom, SFGMC, San Francisco Lesbian Chorus, Dick Kramer Gay Men's Chorale, the Barbary Coast Cloggers, Men About Town, San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Liedermann Chorus of San Jose.
The groups performing on June 29 were SFGMC, San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Chorus, Temescal Gay Men's Chorus, Tap Troupe/Vocal Minority, Men About Town, City Swing, and the Redwood Empire Glee Club of Santa Rosa. This was quite a weekend to hear from many musical organizations which is what these Pride concerts were set up to be. In this concert our Interim AD was Beth Sanders who lived in Stockton and commuted every week to lead us in rehearsals and concerts.
On June 27 and 28, 1986 was the 8th Annual Gay Musical Celebration subtitled "A Little Guts & Lots of Glitter". This was held at the First Congregational church and was produced again by SFGMC and Remy Martin Cognac. I am not sure who designed the program book but it included lots of advertisements which I am sure paid for the programs. The performers on June 27 were the San Francisco Lesbian Chorus, Barbary Coast Cloggers, Men About Town, San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band, LGCSF, the Society of Gay and Lesbian Composers, and SFGMC. Our AD for this concert was Rodger Pettyjohn so yes we went through changes during these three years and we kept on singing.
The performers on June 28 were Liedermann Gay Men's Chorus of San Jose, Foggy City Dancers, a presentation honoring Remy Martin, Men About Town, City Swing and Vocal Minority, and SFGMC. Again over these two nights our audiences were entertained by the talented musical organizations of the Bay Area.
On June 26, 1987 was the 9th Annual Gay Musical Celebration held at First Congregational Church. This was the first Pride concert that LGCSF produced. This was our first Pride concert with our new AD, Pat Parr. In the welcome in the program our Business Manager, Mary Ann DePietro wrote, in part, "Each one of us here tonight, audience and performers alike, understands the power behind self expression. Our voices and instruments blending in harmony create an invisible language of universal perfection and truth." The performers in this concert were Dick Kramer Gay Men's Chorale, Menage which was our jazz and pop octet, the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band, SFGMC, their Chamber Singers and Men About Town, Vocal Minority and LGCSF closed out the night. Among the ads and patrons in the program were greetings from many City politicians, Sheriff Mike Hennessey, City Attorney Louise Renne, Hon. John Molinari, Assemblyman Art Agnos, and Hon. Willie L. Brown, Jr. There was also a review of the concert in the Advocate magazine.
Next week I will continue this journey through LGCSF Pride Concert program and poster art. Take care of yourself and those around you as we go through the rest of this year.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all my faithful readers and hopefully to any new readers. I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy and sane as we all wind down to Election Day a week from Tuesday. This week I thought I would get back to writing about the art of the Pride concert posters and programs starting with the first one from 1979.
Please see the first of four photos I included. This was called "A Gay Musical Celebration at Grace Cathedral" and was held on June 22, 1979. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band along with the Great Organ of Grace Cathedral were the performers who shared their music and began a tradition of annual Pride concerts that continued until 2016. As you see on the poster tickets were $5 through Bass ticket outlets. I really like the script that was used for this poster.
The second one I want to share with you is the cover of "A Gay Musical Celebration at Davies Symphony Hall" which was held on June 26, 1981. The performers who shared their music this night were the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Men's Community Chorus, which is what we were called in those early days. One of the songs we sang that night was to become our signature for the following years, "Somewhere" from "West Side Story".
The third photo I want to share with you is the cover of "The Fourth Annual Gay Musical Celebration" which was held at the Civic Auditorium, now known as the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium across from City Hall. This concert was significant because it was the first time, I believe, that an American Sign Language interpreter, Elise Webster, was onstage with all of us. This evening of music presented the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching and Twirling Corps who opened the festivities with "Coronation March" by John Williams. Next the two choruses, as above, were on together. Then each chorus had their own times in the spotlight. There was a special appearance by the San Francisco Tap Troupe. The SFGMC were joined by the Bay Area Women's Quartet performing the "Coronation Scene" from "Boris Godunov" by M. Musorgski. Next were the two choruses again with the Tap Troupe and the 1982 Gay Olympics Color Guard performing a "San Francisco Medley". The grand finale for this glorious night of music was "California Here I Come" and we invited the audience to sing along with us.
The fourth photo I have is an ad promoting the "Fifth Anniversary of the Gay Musical Celebration" which took place on June 24, 1983 at the Warfield Theatre. There were two performances that night at 7:00 and 10:00 pm with San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Chorus and Friends. Unfortunately I do not know who the "Friends" were because I do not have a program for this event. If any alumni out there have this program or remember any of what we performed please let me know.
That is it for this week and I will be sharing more of our beautiful Pride poster and program art with you. Take care of yourselves and see you next week.
And don't forget to vote.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers wherever you may be. I hope you all had a good weekend and that you have voted or are making your plans to vote. This week's editions will be about two more events we participated in with Michael. The first was that we were asked to sing in the SF Singfest by Mark Growden who is the festival founder. This was held in November, 2017, in the Mission Dolores Basilica which is a beautiful space to sing in. This event featured five regional community choruses so it was a great way to meet these singers and to listen to their music. The Bay Area has so much talent and it was good to share ours with these musicians.
The second event was our spring concert, "Passages - A Musical Journey Through the Stages of Life". This was a collaboration with the Lick-Wilmerding High School Choir and the USF Classical Choral Ensembles. This was also part of USF's Performing Arts and Social Justice program which we found out that Michael is very passionate about as we learned and rehearsed the music performed here. The singers from Lick-Wilmerding were on first and sang two songs - "The Hills of Tomorrow" by Stephen Sondheim and Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror". The USF singers then came on and performed "Der Tanz" (The Dance) by Franz Schubert and a modern classical piece by Jocelyn Hagen called "Sofdu, unga astin min" (Sleep my young love) and this was sung in Icelandic which was very impressive and beautiful.
LGCSF was then onstage as we performed 3 selections from Kirke Mechem's "BIRTHDAYS: Round Numbers - Bridget at Ten - Turning Twenty - Is Seventy Old?" One aspect of this concert that Michael brought to us is that we should be singing about things that happen to people throughout their lives. He brought us music that dealt with Alzheimer's disease both with a song written by a composer who was developing Alzheimer's and then a cantata in which the lyrics were written by people whose family members had gone through the various stages of Alzheimer's and how they coped with their loved ones.
We sang "Melancholy Flower" by Steve Goodwin who was going through the early stages of Alzheimer's and knew he had more music to compose but was not able to do it. A friend and fellow musician, Naomi LaViolette worked with him on this piece and provided the lyrics to his beautiful music.
The cantata we performed "Alzheimer's Stories" was composed by Robert Cohen after receiving a commission from the Susquehanna Valley Chorale on the subject of Alzheimer's disease to honor the lives of the family members of the singers of this Chorale who had suffered and died from this disease. The lyrics came from stories the singers had posted on a blog they created. There are three parts to this beautiful and poignant and humorous work. The first is "The Numbers" about the numbers of people who have contracted Alzheimer's since it was first diagnosed 1901. The second is "The Stories" recounting the stories the singers remembered being told by their loved ones. The third is "For the Caregivers" which gave honor to all of those who gave care and love to their loved ones and which was the most poignant and emotional part to sing through. I just want to say many thanks to Michael for bringing this beautiful music to us and that we got to perform it with the other two choirs and to sing in St. Ignatius Church on May 4, 2018 on a beautiful spring evening.
Take care of yourselves and I will be back next week with the next installment of the LGCSF History Corner.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Photos by Katharine James
Hello and greetings to all my faithful readers out there in the world. I hope you are all well and staying sane and healthy through all the ever changing news of the world. Getting back to a simpler time, more or less, to February 2018 and Michael's first Love Bites show with us. He decided to go with a Shakespearean theme naming it "Love Biteth. A true and most dreadful discourse by the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco". During our rehearsals for this, Michael brought several songs for soloists, duets, etc., to us for us to choose. I have included photos of the program cover and our set list.
The shows were held at Martuni's over four nights, February 11, 12, 14, and 15, 2018. The chorus had several songs as we opened with "Comedy Tonight" and then our cher sang "The Stages of Love Medley" - "Cupid, This Magic Moment and You Don't Own Me". And the audience went crazy. The other pieces the whole chorus performed were "Sh-Boom" - "sh-boom sh-boom yatta yatta yatta yatta sh-boom", etc., "Ye Spotted Snakes" our first piece by William Shakespeare, "Weep, O Mine Eyes" by John Bennet who I believe was a contemporary of old Will, then later came "If We Shadows Have Offended", also by old Will and we closed with "You Will Be Found" from "Dear Evan Hansen". Asher, Birgit, Dr. Mark, Evan, Emma, Janice, Joe and Will all had solos on the different days of the shows.
Annie put her all into "Glitter in the Air", Asher and Emma crooned "I'm Only Thinking of Him", as they put on their best wistful looks. Lisa E. then offered "This Could Be Love", which was followed by Pax and Catalina singing "What a Piece of Work is Man". Catalina then soloed on "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", which is a good question for Love Biteth. Then Joan came on with her usual flair with "I Put a Spell on You" as she weaved her magic spell over the audience. Then Pax performed "The Ouzel Cock", another ditty by old Will. Dr. Mark followed with his best Etta James on "At Last". Next the quintet of Dale, Robert, Annie, Janice and Joe performed "This Bottom's Gonna Be On Top", and it was anyone's guess as to who it would be. Then the beautiful and talented Sabine did her best Aretha and Carole on "A Natural Woman" and Robert followed with "One is the Loneliest Number" with tears in his eyes. And then the talented and beautiful Evan performed the wistful "Everybody's Fucking But Me", and by the end of this he had gotten several potential dates. Then the irrepressible Janice sang the Four Tops hit "I Can't Help Myself", as she introduced several sexual toys. Next was Eliza Speece singing and asking to "Bring On the Men!" and Kobi Dwek crooned "Only You". After Kobi sang, as stated above, the full chorus was on with "If We Shadows Have Offended" and "You Will Be Found". One thing that I want to say about this last song is that as we rehearsed all of us really came to love and believe in the lyrics and heart of this song.
As we finished this version of "Love Bites" we were preparing for a really creative and challenging season ahead as we all prepared to go on this journey forward with Michael. Next week will be all about our next concert and musical journey with our cher. See you all then and remember to vote!
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero
(Gallery photos by Ziggy Tomcich)
Greetings to all of my faithful readers. I hope you are all finding ways to stay sane and healthy in these crazy changing times. My favorite way to stay sane is to listen to all of the wonderful choral music from GALA Choruses on their YouTube channel so please check this out for yourselves. I promise you will find something to cheer you up and lift your spirits.
Since I have written about all of our past Artistic Directors in past editions, this week I decided to write about our current AD, Michael Reilly. In mid-2017, after our then AD, William Sauerland, stepped down, there was a search on for a new AD. We picked Michael. He and his husband, Robert Haerr, had both sung in the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. They currently live in Vallejo and Michael serves on the music faculty of Solano Community College (Chorus, Voice, and Theory) as well as the Director of Music at Community Presbyterian Church and Artistic Director for the Georgia Street Singers of Vallejo.
Before his first rehearsal with us, there was a get together with Michael to get to know him which was held at Dale Danley's house. I brought a notebook with chorus posters and season brochures for him to view to give him a bit of the background of the chorus. As we discussed what might be our first concert with him he suggested "Nightmare on Polk Street". For our first concert with Michael, we were at 28 strong.
As Michael wrote in his program notes, "Welcome (or should I say Beware?) to LGCSF's Nightmare on Polk Street! For the next hour and a half, we are going to explore nightmares, real and imagined." This was held on October 27 and 28, 2017 at MCC on Polk Street. Of course we were all in our best Halloween drag, whatever spoke to each of us. Some of the music that Michael brought to us to learn was new and diverse to say the least. We began the concert with The Invitation "In the Sorcerer's Hall", then "Things That Go Bump in the Night". Other music was "The Milkman", "La Llorona", "Old Abram Brown" by Benjamin Britten. Then the tenors and basses sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and the sopranos and altos sang "I Have a Million Nightingales". Then we performed two songs from "Rocky Horror Picture Show", "Sweet Transvestite", and "The Time Warp", in which we asked the audience to get up and dance the Time Warp with us.
For the second half, we performed "A Nightmare Wedding Horrortorio" by Joseph Horovitz and Alistair Sampson, which featured a wedding between two monsters. We followed this with "Love is Love is Love". We ended the concert with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" with the chorus trying to imitate Mr. Jackson's moves as much as we were able to do. We all had a great time with this music and the audience loved it as well.
As we went through the rehearsal process for this concert with Michael we got to know him and he got to know us. As he said in the notes, "We have dreamed, rehearsed, labored, and loved this concert into existence."
Next week I will be writing about Michael's first Love Bites cabaret with us which was called "Love Biteth". See you all then. Take care of yourselves and all of your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers, I know you are out there. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe and sane among all that is happening in our world. This week I am sharing the beauty of the LGCSF poster and program art from three of our Love Bites cabarets under the direction of Billy Sauerland. I have included two photos of posters from our 2011 and 2012 Love Bites shows and one of the program cover from 2013.
The first one was "Love Bites Off Broadway" which was held on February 11 & 12, 2011 in the Mission Cultural Center. This would be our home for the next few Love Bites and other concerts. It was a good space for us and the people there we worked with were great to work with. The art for this poster and program cover featured the front entrance of some theatre with LGCSF at the top of one of the side display windows. With this design, I felt this really captured the music we sang from various Broadway musicals with the emphasis on songs about love gone wrong, the man or woman who got away with the sopranos and altos singing "There's Nothin' Like a Dame" and the tenors and basses singing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair", which are just two examples of what we sang. Of course there were the usual mix of wonderful soloists, duos, etc. Billy had just come on board as our AD in January and was thrown right away into his first Love Bites and it was a big success for us and our audiences had fun as well.
On February 10 & 11, 2012, we presented "Love Bites and so did the 80s" and the poster featured a four head split screen of some crazy looking doll with four different hair colors. Of course her hair was really big. This cabaret was our salute to the pop music of the 80s as we decorated the Mission Cultural Center with 80s paraphernalia. We had our wonderful choreographer Michael Mohammed and guest soloist Katya Smirnoff-Skyy. Katya sang Cyndi Lauper's song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Of course there was an ABBA song as Wendy Tobias sang "The Winner Takes It All". The full chorus began the first act with a Dance Party Medley which was choreographed by Michael Mohammed. Also in February 2012 was when Whitney Houston had died so we had a big heart onstage in memory of Whitney. This was another fun show for the chorus as we brought out our old 80s clothes and dug back in our memories to the good and not so good music from that decade.
The third one for this edition was "Love Bites: 10 Years and Still Masticating", held on February 8 & 9, 2013. This was the tenth anniversary of our Love Bites cabarets and we were again in the Mission Cultural Center. The program cover art featured a somewhat broken heart behind the bold letters of LOVE BITES. Our former AD, Stephanie Lynne Smith, was on hand to co-emcee the show with Billy and I can say it was so much fun to work with her again. We had fun with the audience as we opened with "This Marriage" and Stephanie stormed onstage saying "no, no, no, this is not what Love Bites is all about". Billy calmed her down as we launched into "Down With Love", which was one of the songs from our first Love Bites. All of the music we sang in this cabaret featured some of the most beloved or the most biting songs from a decade of Love Bites. And again this was so much fun for us and for our audiences as we had two sold out shows for this one.
I want to put in a plug for our YouTube channel, so please check it out so you can see us in action from past concerts and cabarets and let me know what you enjoy there. Next week I will be writing more about the art of our posters and programs so stay tuned. Take care of yourselves and all of your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello to all of my fabulous readers of the LGCSF History Corner blog. I hope you are doing well as we all are processing the loss of the wonderful Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This week I am continuing my series on the Art and Music of LGCSF with the emphasis on more art from our "Love Bites" shows from the 2000s. The first cabaret with the title "Love Bites" was on February 13, 2004, the day before Valentine's Day and we did two shows that evening at the Rainbow Room of the LGBTQ Center. This was the brainchild of our AD, Stephanie Lynne Smith, and the Artistic Advisory Committee as we sang about the flipside of love. Our special guests and emcees for this show were The Living Dolls, Liz Matthews and Diane Merlino. They sang five songs throughout the evening, "Taking a Chance on Love", "Get Happy", "I Want My Money Back", "Sentimental Journey", and "Sincerely". Our opening medley of "Love Bites" were "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "I Get Around", "It's My Party", "Namaste", "Stop in the Name of Love", and "Your Momma Don't Dance". And the chorus was off on this crazy and wonderful journey of "Love Bites".
Please look through the photos I have included of the program cover of this first show and of posters from four more "Love Bites" cabarets. The art for each of these posters really captured the spirit of the chorus at that specific time. Our second one "Love Still Bites", from February 11 and 12, 2005, features a drawing of a disgruntled Cupid with broken arrows and a broken bow behind him.
The poster from our fourth one "Love Bites The Hand That Feeds It", from February 9 and 10, 2007, features four photos of various characters from shows that preceded this one, as you can see a picture of the chickens from "Group Therapy" as an example. Our wonderful Carolyn Eidson was the emcee for these two shows and she was fabulous. This show was held at Theatre Rhinoceros where we had presented a couple of shows the previous year so we were comfortable there.
The poster from our fifth one "Love Bites, My Dog Bites and My Pickup Truck Won't Start" in which we sang some of our favorite country songs of love gone wrong. As you can see the poster featured a drawing of an angry Cupid with a shotgun and a rope that emphasized a Special Adults Only Show Valentine's Day. This show was held at the EXIT on Taylor theatre and we did six shows over two weekends, Feb. 7-9 and 14-16, 2008. One thing I remember from these shows that one evening a group of slightly inebriated young women from out of town just happened to be looking for a show and from their reactions they really loved us and we loved them right back.
The final poster from this week is from our seventh annual anti-Valentine's Day Cabaret and Musical Extravaganza "Love Bites and All That Jazz", which was held at the Women's Building on 18th Street. This show was also held over two weekends, Feb. 5-6 and 12-13, 2010. As you can see from the poster that this show was ADULTS ONLY. The songs we performed for this show were on the jazzy side with a little bit of raunch and our audiences were in the mood for what we did on this occasion. One thing that I can say about this crazy idea for an anti-Valentine's Day show that showcased the ways that love can go wrong and the songs that our various soloists chose to sing really connected with our audiences and they have continued with the ADs who followed Stephanie, Billy Sauerland and Michael Reilly.
Next week I will be featuring the poster art from some of the "Love Bites" shows with Billy. See you all then and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my fabulous readers out there in the universe. Hopefully you are all staying safe and inside to minimize the effects of all the smoke and smog in our air.
This week I am continuing my series on the Art and Music of the chorus. We have had the great fortune to have some amazing artists who have created the art for our flyers, posters and program covers. I have included four photos of flyers from our early cabarets with Stephanie Smith. These were "Full Moon Full of Love" from 2002, which featured someone with their hands up in front of a full moon. For "Role Playing" from 2003, the flyer features stylized figures underneath stage lights. These two cabarets were held at the Cafe du Nord downstairs in the Swedish American Hall.
In 2004 we were in our new home for our cabarets in the Rainbow Room at the LGBT Community Center where we pereformed the first of our "Love Bites" (more about these next week) cabarets in February and "Somewhere Over the Top: An Adult Cabaret" which we performed in September. The flyer for this was a stylized picture of our guest performance artist and emcee Jamie Glowacki.
These cabarets were great fun for us and especially for those singers who wanted to perform solos, duets, trios, etc. around the theme of whatever the title of the show was. There was usually one or two full chorus numbers and in "Full Moon Full of Love" that was "Somewhere" which was our go to song. Also in this cabaret our special guests were singer Corey Grundman accompanied by someone very familiar to us, Barry Lloyd. From the program sheet for this I see that there were mostly love songs like "Only Love," "Night and Day," "If Ever I Would Leave You," "The One I Love," and one by The Australia Contingent who sang "Let Me Live" by Queen. If anyone out there remembers who the Australia Contingent were please let me know because I do not remember who they were.
What I recall from the "Role Playing" cabaret as the favorite song for me was Jed Herman singing "Beauty School Dropout" from "Grease" as he was working with a blonde wig on a foam head.
For "Somewhere Over the Top" cabaret the chorus was at 46 strong including a straight married couple, Becky and Sean Quinlan. The reason this was called an adult cabaret was that some of the songs were just a little bit or a lot naughty. Our guest Jamie opened the show with "Anything Goes" by Cole Porter, "Leather" by Tori Amos and "My Favorite Things" by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which included various leather items. Other songs by various of our soloists were "Smut," "It's Nice to Have a Man Around the House," one of the early songs Jack Dubowsky wrote for us called "Big Feet" sung by the tenors and basses and "Making Love Alone" by our choralographer Kirk Johnson. To close out the first half was "The Streak" complete with our own streaker, Yann Jouvenot and was sung by the sopranos and altos.
The second half began with Jamie singing two more songs that she adapted "All That 'Ass'", and "Don't Fence Me In". Then there was "The Masochism Tango" and "A Place Where I Can Smoke" and we ended the show with a "Monty Python Sing Along". This was great fun for us and for our audience who really sang along to the Monty Python naughty songs. Next week I will feature some of the flyer art from some of our "Love Bites" cabarets so see you all then.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers and any new ones on this hot Labor Day weekend. I hope you are all staying safe, cool and hydrated. This week I am writing about our fourth official CD "Group Therapy" with music and lyrics by our own June Bonacich. But first I would like to share a few quotes from Stephanie Smith that she wrote in the program of our 25th Anniversary Concert. "My experiences with the Chorus have been varied and treasured and they are what make me stay. My first experience with LGCSF was as its pianist. I was asked to serve as interim during the search for a permanent artistic director in 2001. My "audition" was quite funny. I ran the first half of the rehearsal as usual, and then auditioned after break... I wanted the position, but I also wanted what was best for the Chorus. Happily, I was selected and my title changed from Interim to Artistic Director. Same pay, same routine, different commitment and I was overjoyed."
Back to "Group Therapy". For the show we were at 37 strong. This was a musical written for us by June and we were blessed to have the beautiful and talented Michael Mohammed as our stage director and choreographer. As he worked with Stephanie and us in our rehearsals toward our performances of "GT" we really came together, the cast became very comfortable in their roles so we were ready for our dress rehearsal which is the performance that was recorded for the CD. Even the orchestra was beautiful with June on synthesizer, Alyras on bass, Erika Johnson on drums, Luba Kravchenko on piano and Ashley Moore on electric guitar. The show was held at the Rainbow Room of the LGBT Community Center in early November, 2005. We were in our costumes and makeup and were backstage ready to go on. We could hear the small group who were there to witness our dress rehearsal. And here we go.
As the orchestra played the overture we came on singing "Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I feel like a nut". The story line was about Katie who had just moved to San Francisco and her adventures in the City, finding a therapy group, deciding if she was a lesbian or not, getting a new hairdo, and hearing the stories of the others in her group. The first song was "The Hairdresser Polka" as Katie (Wendy) sang and the hairdressers did their magic on her hair. In group Jill (Sharon) sang "What More Could I Ask For?" being clearly content with her cat. Next was P. Francis Tucker (Scott) had always been chicken and was chased and spanked by big chickens in "He's Chicken". Then Evelyn, the therapist (Mary) informed the group about transference in "The Transference Tango" as we all tangoed and changed many partners as we went through transference. Then Stan (Shane) and backup singers performed "Looking Back", a "long" look back at his life. The first act closed with Jill and ensemble singing and dancing "Psychobabble Waltz".
Act II began with Jill and ensemble singing "Dysfunctional Relationship" which we can all probably relate to. Next was Nathan (Jed) singing how he would like to "Run Away". P. Francis Tucker and the chickens were back with "I Always Tried to Please You". Then the trio of Jenny (Noam), Marybeth (CeCe) and Katie sang "It's So Clear Now" after going through therapy. Then Marybeth and ensemble sang and danced country style to "Stomp on My Heart". Next the ensemble sang "Marybeth" about her life and when she went to the prom with her boyfriend and ended up with her girlfriend. Love wins out. The show ended with everyone singing the uplifting "As I Say Yes to Life" as we all looked forward to the future. The show was a hit as we would perform it again in Chicago in 2006 during the Gay Games Cultural Week and again as a benefit for the Jon Sims Community Center. The whole experience of "Group Therapy" for me was so wonderful for me as we all became comfortable in our roles in it and the personalities of the cast really shown through. If anyone would like to listen to my CD just let me know as I am happy to share it with you. Next week more LGCSF Music and Art. See you all on Zoom at our first rehearsal on Thursday.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
As members and allies of the LGBTQ community, we recognize that committing to social justice and meaningful change requires more than sharing hashtags and statements of support. In that spirit, we share the aims of Black Voices Matter, a pledge of anti-racism in choral practice. We pledge specifically to the goals outlined in the sections addressed to conductors and to choral non-profit organizations, boards, and administrators. LGCSF will be pursuing these goals with the help of the GALA New Harmony Workbook and the Of/By/For All program.
Michael Reilly and the Board of Directors,
Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco