For our first concerts of 1992 we presented Five Years of Madness which was held May 1 & 2 at First Congregational Church of San Francisco. It was the idea of our Artistic Director, Pat Parr, to present the best of our past five years of production concerts. He also wanted the audience to see the backstage madness the chorus goes through to put on a concert like this. There were several screens onstage with costumes and props behind each one and we would go to a certain screen to change costumes or get props and then sing songs from that concert. They represented 1987 - LGCSF Rides Again, 1988 - LGCSF Goes to the Movies, 1989 - LGCSF Goes to Broadway, 1990 - Radio Daze and 1991 - Bobby Sox to Beatles. This was pure entertainment for our audience and also a more serious expression of the joys of being Lesbians and Gay Men.
Next for us was the 14th Annual Pride Concert, held on June 26 at First Congo. This concert featured us, the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Chorus, SF Winds of Freedom, Vocal Minority, Silicon Gay Men's Chorus, Voices: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble, and we all honored the 10th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Men's Chorus.
Next, we all traveled by Continental Airlines from SFO to Denver to perform at GALA Festival IV, held June 28 - July 4 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. We arrived in Denver on June 27 and on Sunday, June 28, marched in the Denver Pride Parade along with all the choruses who were there that day. I will always remember the cheers from the people along the parade route and their tears and our tears as well because of the love we were all feeling during the parade. Also at that time Colorado was getting ready to vote on the infamous Proposition 2 which was an anti-LGBT bill that the Colorado Legislature wanted to pass.
That night was the festival's Opening Ceremonies, presented by all the local Denver area choruses. Then began the week of rehearsals and going to see as many GALA choruses as we could get to. Each chorus did back-to-back performances, one in Buell Theatre and the other in Boettcher Theatre. Our finale for our performances was Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat made famous by Carmen Miranda in the musical The Gang's All Here and featuring the Banana Ballet. Two of our members drove with the hat and blow up bananas that we used as props for this. Miss Beth Yates sang the song and my partner, Phil Hernandez, was Beth's dresser. He had her dress and shoes ready for her to change into. After we finished our first performance we dashed to the other theatre and got ready to do it again. Lots of work but also lots of fun. With our version of the Banana Ballet we caused some controversy among the lesbian choruses because the blow up bananas we used were seen as phallic symbols even though there were women and men dancers of the chorus with the bananas. Oh well, certainly we never thought the bananas would be perceived in this manner. Check out the film clip of this on Youtube. Look up Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat. What a wonderful week of music and getting to meet people from other choruses and making new friendships. The week was capped off by a performance by the Flirtations and an evening of their wonderful harmonies and songs.
Returning to the Bay Area, our next performance was Classics of Nature, our classical concert. There were two performances, one held October 23 at First Unitarian Church of Oakland and October 24 at MCC, San Francisco. We did music by J. Brahms, Antonio Scandello, Josquin des Pres, Paul Hindemith, Samuel Barber, and Mark Blitzstein. This was our chance to show off our classical repertoire and to concentrate on the beautiful music we can make together. This was the debut of our Assistant Artistic Director, Marty Stoddard, who directed two of the pieces we sang.
As you see this was another busy year for the chorus, one in which we grew in our style and our musicality and our sense of accomplishment for all the music we tackled.
joined the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco in August of 1984, after seeing them sing in the Pride Concert the previous June and their director, Matt O'Grady, announced that if anyone in the audience wanted to join the chorus that auditions would be coming up so he joined. During his time in the chorus he has always sang in the bass section. He has served as Music Librarian, on the Production Committee, the Artistic Advisory Committee, as a bass section leader, as the GALA liaison and currently as chorus historian. He is glad to create this blog for the chorus to get the history out to anyone who looks at our website.