The year 1997 was another year of change for the chorus. Our Artistic Director, Pat Parr, stepped down after the Pride concert after ten years directing this chorus. We all learned from Pat a lot of music, musical styles, we learned about ourselves through dealing with good times and bad times within the chorus. We all grew, we all changed, but the spirit of this chorus was there and is still here.
Our new Artistic Director was Trente Morant. He was the first African American director for the chorus. We were on to a new journey with Trente and we continued our learning about the chorus and about ourselves.
Carmina Burana. It had always been a dream of Pat's to conduct the chorus in a concert of Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. This concert was produced in conjunction with the Peninsula Ballet Theatre. This was another unique way to broaden our audience with our chorus and the audience of Peninsula Ballet Theatre. We did two shows, March 8 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre and on March 9 at the Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos, CA. We also collaborated with Ragazzi, the Peninsula Boys CHorus and our soloists were Patty Wolf and Roderick Gomez. This was truly a beautiful production with the ballet company and the two choruses and soloists.
19th Annual Pride Concert: One Concert, Many Voices. This concert was held on June 27 at the Center for the Arts Theatre at Yerba Buena Gardens. This concert was Pat's last one leading the chorus. It was also a concert to remember the life of Sky Evergreen. Sky was a local jazz pianist, playing with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Linda Hopkins, Jules Broussard and his own trio. In the 1980s he became a fixture on the local cabaret scene. Sky was also a songwriter and arranger and the chorus sang four songs arranged by Sky - Lover Come Back to Me, For All We know, How Long Has This Been Going On and It Don't Mean a Thing. Also on this evening was a Lifetime Commitment Ceremony of two of our biggest supporters, John Dobson and R. Guy McGinnis. State Assemblywoman Carole Migden officiated. Remember this was way before gay marriage.
Our guests on this Pride concert were Lisa Gray as host, SFGMC, San Francisco Winds of Freedom, Equal Voices, and the South Coast Chorale from Long Beach, CA. All in all this quite a fitting tribute to Pat Parr and Sky Evergreen.
Love Is In The Air.This was the first concert with our new Artistic Director, Trente Morant. This was held at MCC on November 14 and 15. Here is just a bit of Trente's resume - at the time he was also the Artistic Director of the Oakland Youth Chorus. He also toured the country for five years as Performer-Lecturer specializing in music from the Harlem Renaissance. Needless to say we learned a lot of new things from the start, including rhythm and a new style. This concert featured music from a wide spectrum of composers - George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim and our own Sky Evergreen.