First I would just like to share some memories of my time since I joined the chorus in 1984 and the artistic directors I have sung with up until 1999 when we got another new AD, Michael Carlson. The first AD I sang with was Matt O'Grady, a young Irishman who was a very friendly and gregarious person and he wanted to learn about his family's roots in Ireland. Next was Rodger Pettyjohn in 1985. His background in music was avant garde musicians like John Cage. He was involved with the Society of Lesbian and Gay Composers so we learned some new music from this group of musicians. Next was Pat Parr in 1987 and for the next ten years he led us through big changes, big production concerts and concerts featuring music by women composers and lesbian and gay composers. Pat and his husband, David Thompson, are now living the good life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Next was Trente Morant, who brought us music with lots of rhythm as well as teaching us about music and musicians from the Harlem Renaissance. In the fall of 1998, we had an interim director, Bill Ganz, who taught us that we should not be afraid of classical music. And now to 1999.
Michael Carlson brought his youthful energy and a commitment to new music to the chorus. He had studied with masters of choral conducting: Robert Shaw, Rodney Eichenberger and Jo-Michael Schiebe. Our accompanist during this season was June Bonacich, now a member of our Board of Directors.
21st Annual Pride Concert: A Family Album. This Pride concert was certainly a family album of six Bay Area musical groups. The concert was held on June 22 at the Herbst Theatre. The concert featured Voices, the East Bay Lesbian Ensemble, Out on a Clef, the Bearatones, the GAPA Chorus, S.F. Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band and LGCSF. This was another wonderful evening of sharing great music and laughter and being together, and giving our audience some wonderful music. The highlight for me was sing Make Our Garden Grow from Candide by Leonard Bernstein. This song really stretched our musical muscles. We ended our set with I Open My Heart by the wonderful friend of the chorus, Sky Evergreen. The chorus had an out of town retreat in Guerneville at the Triple R Resort and we sang a mini set for the people there as a warmup for Pride.
Love Notes! This concert was held on October 23 and 24 at the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco. Our special guests on this concert was the Golden Gate Men's Chorus. As Michael wrote in the program that it is our own love of music that brings us together and is also the beginning of the Chorus' new commitment to the development and performance of music suited to our tradition. We are very proud to bring you an excerpt of lesbian and composer June Bonacich's "The Second Harvest", as well as to share Kirke Meechem's "Island in Space." This concert was a great time for us to work with and to get to know the Golden Gate Men's Chorus and their director, Joseph Jennings.
A Winter Choral Celebration. This concert was held on December 10 at MCC and our special guests on this concert were the Singers of the Metropolitan Community Church. The music for this concert was partly classical Christmas music and music by gay composers Ned Rorem and Aaron Copland. We also sang a couple of light hearted songs by P. D. Q. Bach - "O Little Town of Hackensack" and "Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John." Then we sang June's wonderful new music "The Second Harvest" and closed with our favorite "I Open My Heart."