Autumn Mood Swings, Kelly Cullen Auditorium, November 7 & 8, 2015.
This concert was our second collaboration with the wonderful City Swing 17 piece big band under the direction of Bradley Connlain. In the program, our artistic director wrote "Thank you so much for coming to Autumn Mood Swings with the incomparable Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco! We hope this evening of big band music leaves your toes tapping and your heart singing. It has been a great pleasure to partner with City Swing, and we are grateful to Bradley Connlain and all the instrumentalists for collaborating with us!" We were also joined by guest artist Janese Powell. She is a veteran of the Bay Area Big Band scene and she also sings regularly with two big bands - the Generation Gap Big Band from Vallejo and Dave Alt's Swingtime Band from Alameda.
The evening began with City Swing providing music for dancing as our audience came in and settled at their tables. Then they played the overture "Fascinating Rhythm" by George Gershwin. The chorus joined in singing "Chattanooga Choo Choo" with John Gullotto out front. Next we sang the beautiful "Moonglow" by Eddie Delange, Will Hudson and Irving Mills.
Then Janese Powell sang "Mr. Zoot Suit" by Mark Cally and "Skylark" by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael. The chorus was back singing "Stardust" by Mitchell Parish and Hoagy Carmichael. The soloists for this were Jae Szeszycki-Truedell and Johnny G. Next was "Tuxedo Junction" by Buddy Feyne with Wendy Tobias out front. We ended the first half with the chorus singing "Autumn Leaves" by Johnny Mercer and Geoffrey Parsons.
The second half began with more music for dancing provided by City Swing. Our audience, after a few glasses of wine, were up and dancing and swinging their partners. Then City Swing then took us south of the border with "Tico Tico" by Zequinha de Abrua. Our hips were swinging to these rhythms.
Our wonderful guest vocalist Janese Powell was back to enchant us with "Embraceable You" by George and Ira Gershwin and this was followed by her soloing on "Orange Colored Sky" with the chorus backing her. Next we sang "Moonlight Serenade" by Glenn Miller and featuring Liz Wand and Asher Butnik.
Then we sang "I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren. We finished the evening with Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" and that is exactly did with this tune and the audience was on their feet. Then City Swing provided more music for dancing as the audience danced their way home. This was truly a fun evening of music for the chorus, City Swing and our wonderful audience.
The previous September we went camping with the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Freedom Band at their band camp at a campground in Cazadero in the Russian River area. It was a fun weekend with the band as we shared meals and music and a "talent show" on Saturday night and two evenings around a campfire sharing stories and singing lots of music.
Next week I will be writing about one of our past Artistic Directors, Matt O'Grady, and sharing some of my thoughts and memories of him. I would like to continue writing about our Artistic Directors if that is something you would like to read about. Please give me your feedback. I will be writing about our 2016 season in the near future.
Cheers, Michael Lucero