Hello and greetings to all my faithful readers. I hope you all had a fun Valentine's Day and watched the Cincinnati Men's Chorus in their Dear Johns virtual cabaret. It was very festive and fun. This week I thought I would write about the history of Love Bites since we are waiting for our latest virtual Love Bites video to arrive with the 18th version of our ongoing gift to the community. I have included four photos of past program covers, including our first one so check them out.
First of all the chorus had been putting on cabarets before our first Love Bites in February, 2004. The titles of three of them were "Full Moon Full of Love", "Role Playing", and "Somewhere Over the Top". The idea for Love Bites was the brainchild of our AD, the beautiful and talented Stephanie Lynne Smith, aided and abetted by the Artistic Advisory Committee. I, along with Deb Cohler, was on that committee and we held meetings at Deb's house. I seem to remember that we talked about the success of these previous cabarets and what could we create to continue this tradition of showcasing the talents of our members. We were all of a similar mind that we more or less hated the schmaltzy love songs we listened to around Valentine's Day growing up and thought why not turn that around and sing songs that reflected an anti-Valentine's Day vibe since we had all experienced some kind of romantic breakup in our lives. When this idea was presented to the chorus it was like we all said "Yes, let's do this" so Stephanie asked singers who wanted to do solos, duets, trios, etc., to present her with songs to include in the shows.
As we went forward with a new Love Bites each year we came up with a specific theme and asked that the songs picked by the members fit in that theme. There were also full chorus songs that opened and closed the shows so there was certainly something for everyone to do. We all had great fun in putting these shows together and some of the talent we displayed and the songs that were performed by the soloists, duets, etc. surprised and amused us and maybe had us shedding a tear or two.
The very first Love Bites was held on Friday the 13th, 2004, at the LGBT Center in the Rainbow Room with our special guests, the Living Dolls, from Seattle. This was our home for Love Bites for the next two years. We also performed Love Bites at Theatre Rhinoceros, Exit Theatre on Taylor, and the Women's Building. When Billy Sauerland came on as AD in 2011 Love Bites was presented at the Mission Cultural Center where we had a 125 seat house, an actual stage and backstage. This was our home for the next few years for Love Bites. And then we went to Martuni's, the fabulous, intimate piano bar which has been home for Love Bites and Naughty and Nice. I guess this can tail onto what I mentioned in the last History blog regarding some of the venues we have performed in here in San Francisco. Wherever we were putting on Love Bites, our audiences found us, loved us and came back for more. I want to give the biggest loving shout out to Ms. Smith for her guidance and support and help she gave to us and especially for the soloists, duets, etc. who got out onstage and sang their hearts out for our audiences and for us.
So take care of yourselves my wonderful readers, stay safe and hopefully you will get vaccinated as soon as possible as more vaccines are on their way to a CVS or Walgreens near you or wherever you have your health care.
Sending all my love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all my fabulous readers out there in the world. I hope you are all well and staying sane and safe and healthy. Phil and I are doing well and just waiting to hear from Kaiser sometime for our appointment for our vaccinations. This week as I was thinking about what to write I came across a folder in my archives that had advertising for our Pride Concert 1998. Our Artistic Director at that time was Trente Morant and we had been working hard to learn our music for this concert. Our special guests that year were Qwire, Canberra, Australia's Gay and Lesbian Chorus. We had time to socialize with them between our dress rehearsal and the day of the concert, June 26.
First I would like to say that in 1998 there were several gay newspapers that were available to the community in many places. These included the Bay Area Reporter, the San Francisco Bay Times, San Francisco Frontiers and the Sentinel. The Pride Concert was announced in the arts sections of each of these publications, Out & About, Coming Up! and Pride Guide.
Also in 1998, KQED television had published a Lesbian and Gay Pride Month calendar which listed all of the content that was produced and shown on KQED in June as well as listing all of the various community events happening and the Pride Concert was proudly listed in this booklet.
Unfortunately I do now know who in the Chorus at that time was in charge of marketing for us but I would imagine it was our Public Relations committee who would have taken care of this for us. Also a large part of what we did to advertise was hand out flyers in the Castro and contact all of our friends and family to let them know what a fabulous concert we were producing and to please come and celebrate with us. Then as now word of mouth is one of the best ways we can advertise and let our audiences know when one of our performances is coming up. In this age of social media it is so easy to reach out to all of our friends around the world and let them know when we will be on Facebook or YouTube.
I have included photos of our flyer from 1998 Pride and also pictures of the notices in KQED's publication as well as the ones in the gay newspapers so check those out as well.
I think next week I will be writing all about Love Bites and how it started and how it has evolved over the years. See you then. Take care of yourselves, love each other and stay safe.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers, I know you are out there. I hope you are all well and staying safe and healthy and to any of you in an area where the winter storms are happening please stay safe and warm. This week I want to begin with one more item to go with what I wrote about last week - the awards and certificates that the Chorus received. I came across three items from the 1991 Cable Car Awards show nominating the Chorus for three of our concerts from 1990. These were all for "Outstanding Concert" and the three concerts were "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus Turns 10", "Brahms & Bernstein", and "Radio Daze". I am not sure if we won for any of these but of course we were honored to receive them.
My main thing to write about this week is about our early Leadsheets. As you who have been in our Zoom rehearsals this year one of our alumni, Jesse Lanou, has joined us to sing with us once again. During the first one, Jesse mentioned that she had been the editor of the Leadsheet starting when she first joined in 1981. I was not able to find any Leadsheets in my archives from 1981 but have some 1982 that I wanted to share with you and what we were doing then and what was in our calendar beginning in August. One item in the Leadsheet from that time is a suggestion for the streamlining of our name from "San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Men's Community Chorus" to "San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Chorus". Our rehearsals were held on Wednesday nights. BREAKING NEWS - the Gay Olympics torch reaches San Francisco from New York City on 8/22/82 and the Gay Olympics Games start on 8/25/82. The chorus participated in the GALA West Coast Festival on 9/4/82 and we had rehearsed for our set in this one day event. There were 11 choruses participating in the six hour concert at Nourse Auditorium. Those first five days of September, 1982, were busy with our rehearsal on 9/1, registration of the participating choruses at California Hall on 9/2, cocktails, dinner and show on 9/3, tech rehearsals starting at 9 am at Nourse with the concert starting at 2 pm. On 9/5 starting at 10:30 am vocal clinic and rehearsal for Gay Olympics Games closing ceremony and the performance at 12:30 pm at Kezar Stadium. The following weekend, 9/10-9/12 was our fall retreat at Cazadero Music Camp. The Festival Concert was a great success and there were many thank yous in the Leadsheet for our chorus members who worked to make everything run smoothly. On 8/11/82 the vote was taken for the chorus name change and there were 31 votes to change, 18 not to change and 3 votes for neither old nor new name.
On 9/21/82, at the Plush Room our subgroup, Vocal Minority along with Sean Martinfield performed. The chorus was now in rehearsal for their fall concert, "A Harmonic Harvest", which was held November 13, 1982 at the First Unitarian Church. In the Leadsheet from 9/8/82 Jesse put in a notice to look for a new Leadsheet editor as she would be starting a new job as a San Francisco Deputy Sheriff so look out all you miscreants. As of November 1 we had a new Leadsheet editor in the person of Janice Embrey and Jesse was happy to announce this change.
There was a call for ushers for the SFGMC's concerts on 10/22 and 10/23/82 at Nourse Auditorium. As we were getting closer to our November fall concert, there was a concert production meeting on 11/2, our dress rehearsal on 11/3, regular rehearsal on 11/10 and the concert on Saturday, 11/13. As we moved into December we were rehearsing for our performance in collaboration with SFGMC in their "Now Sing With Hearts Aglow" concerts on 12/19 and 12/24. We also went caroling in the Castro on 12/22 instead of our regular rehearsal. So you all can see that the second half of 1982 was a very busy one for the Chorus. Please check out the photos that I included to see what our Leadsheet looked like back in the good old days. Also a reminder: if you have any chorus photos with a caption that you would like to share in a future History Corner please let me know. My email is in Chorus Connection. Stay tuned for the next History Corner - who knows what will inspire me to write about from our singing past. Take care of yourselves.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero