First I would like to let you know about one of our outreach programs that LGCSF took part in on several occasions. Members of the chorus would accompany Jose Sarria, the self-proclaimed Widow Norton, to Cypress Lawn Cemetery to visit the grave of Emperor Norton. Jose Sarria had always been one of the biggest supporters of LGCSF. This "pilgrimage to Colma" took place annually on the Sunday morning following the coronation of the newly elected Empress and Emperor of San Francisco. LGCSF and the Freedom Band would perform at this event, and it was always a hoot being with the drag queens who made up the courts of several cities from around the country. Although Jose Sarria died in 2013, and LGCSF has not always been present for the Sunday morning event, the Annual Cemetery Pilgrimage continues, and the next one is scheduled for February 25, 2018. See the Imperial Council's events page for information.
Back to 1995: In our 15th season brochure, our Artistic Director Pat Parr wrote "as the oldest continuing mixed gay chorus in the world, we continue to celebrate the life, energy, and strength of our community in our commitment to all our endeavors: our concerts, charitable fund-raisers, outreach programs, and performances at many San Francisco events." Following is what we presented in 1995:
A Grand Night for Singing. The 100th birthdays of Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II was the occasion for this fully staged and choreographed production. We sang songs like Blue Moon, Where or When, I Wish I Were in Late Again, and music from South Pacific, Carousel, The King and I and Oklahoma. We had two performances in March at the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason and a special benefit performance in April for the Genard AIDS Foundation at the Hofman Theatre in Walnut Creek.
The 17th Annual Pride Concert. On June 16 at the Herbst Theatre, we presented the Annual Pride Concert. Our guests were the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington, DC, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, and the San Francisco Winds of Freedom. Our emcee was a local gay comedian, Danny Williams (1952-2014; see Bay Area Reporter obituary). This was another wonderful evening of sharing the stage with great singers and musicians, especially the women and men of the mixed lesbian and gay chorus of Washington, D.C. (which apparently stopped operating in 2010). It was fun to spend time with them prior to the concert at rehearsal and socially.
Music by Women Composers. As part of our mission to present music by women composers, we presented two concerts in November, one in Oakland and the second in San Francisco. We sang music by, among others, Libby Larsen, Alice Parker, Ysaye M. Barnwell, Holly Near and Naomi Judd. This was the first concert we produced that featured orchestral accompaniment, and it was a wonderful two evenings of beautiful and exciting music.
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.