Greetings to my faithful readers. Here is the next entry all about the concerts we performed in 2016. It was a busy year for us and our AD, Billy Sauerland, had programmed this concert and the following two as collaborative concerts with different choruses joining us onstage. We were also preparing music to perform in Denver at the 2016 GALA Choruses Festival so these concerts allowed us to sing some of the repertoire we would sing there.
"Together in Harmony" was on April 17 at MCC where we all rehearse. This concert was a collaboration between LGCSF and the Metropolitan Community Church Choir. Erik Flaten was the MCCSF Music Director and he also sang with us sometimes. Billy also liked to use guest soloists from the Chabot College choir which he conducted. The first three songs were performed by the combined choruses. Lorenzo Murillo was the guest tenor and he had the solo on our first song "Ella's Song" which was written by Bernice Johnson Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock. This was followed by "Famine Song" featuring Wendy Tobias, Elisa Shore and Mark Higgins as soloists. The third was John Lennon's "Imagine".
Then LGCSF was on as we sang "Gay Little Nymph" by Francois Regnard and Pierre Ronsard. Billy told us he liked this piece because it had the word "gay" in the title. This was followed by "Come Again, Sweet Love" by John Dowland, "Erev Shel Shoshanim" by Yosef Hadar, which has become a favorite of the chorus over the years. Next came "This Marriage" by Eric Whitacre, which the chorus sang at a marriage ceremony held in Golden Gate Park in the Conservatory of Flowers. Next we sang the Beatles song "Can't Buy Me Love" which had been arranged as a madrigal and was a challenge to learn in this manner. We closed our set with "Seize the Day" by Alan Menken from the musical "Newsies."
Next the MCCSF Choir was on to sing "Sweet Rivers" by William Moore, "Alleuja" from "Exultate, jubilate" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. They ended their set with "I Heard the Voice of Jesus" by Edwin Hawkins.
Then LGCSF came back and joined MCCSF Choir to sing selections for the GALA Chorus Festival. These were "It's You I Like" by Fred Rogers (yes that Mr. Rogers), "Earth Song" by Frank Ticheli, "Time is My Friend" by Julie Andrews - who is Billy's favorite singer, and we ended the concert with a traditional spiritual "Hold On" which sent all of us out with the uplifting feeling that only good live music can do.
This was a fun concert to be part of and to sing with the MCCSF Choir since they provide us with our rehearsal space and of course just to spend time with them and to have our efforts pay off and enjoyed by our audience.
See you all next week with my next entry for the blog.
Cheers and love, Michael Lucero
Hello to all my faithful readers. I want to thank some of the new singers for their feedback on the History Corner blog. As I always say any and all feedback is welcome and encouraged. Over the next few weeks I will be writing about the concerts and events we took part in 2016.
The first was the 13th Annual Love Bites show at Martuni's. This one was entitled "Love is a Four-Letter Word" and we performed three shows - February 1, 14 and 15. We had as our guest musical director the lovely and talented Joe Wicht. Joe offered his time and talent to work with the soloists and they took advantage of this to make sure they would shine and of course they and we all did. We had three special guest performers who shared their special talents with our audiences. On February 13 it was Jesse Cortez, on the 14th it was Steve Knill and on the 15th it was Leigh Crow.
We opened with "Sway" which got the audience in the mood. Next up was Wendy Tobias singing "Life of the Party" from the musical "The Wild Party". This was followed by a country song written by Hoyt Axton called "Hangnail" and featured the multitalented Ellen Miller and Tom McElroy. Next Dale Danley gave his all on "Pray for You". The chorus came back on to do our rendition of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'". Then Julia Balen soloed on "An Old-Fashioned Love Story" also from "The Wild Party". Then John Gullotto sang his heart out on Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine". From the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack our very talented and lovely Janice Placido sang "If I Can't Have You" and she was accompanied by Johnny G. on ukulele. Next the beautiful Liz Wand sang "Baltimore" and we went to intermission.
During intermission we had an auction for a Valentine's Song-O-Gram to be performed by our Board member and local cabaret headliner Tom Reardon.
The second half began with the chorus singing Barry Manilow's "Copacabana" with Joan Goldman, Ellen and Tom M. soloing on the verses. The amazingly wonderful Van Mares was up next performing "If I Can't Sell It, I'll Sit on It". I guess it is up to your imagination as to what IT refers to. Next the always wistful Paul Michael Alves gave us "Guess Who I Saw Today". Next Joan Goldman gave it her all on "Total Eclipse of the Heart". The following number was a parody written by the creative mind of Yolanda DeByle entitled CBA (Contraception, Birth by unwed women, Abortion). This was a parody on the Jackson 5 song ABC. This featured the Bible Belters: Yolanda, Linda Rodriguey, Asher Butnik and Van Mares. Wendy Tobias was back with her solo on "But the World Goes 'Round" from the movie "New York, New York". The show ended with a bang with the chorus singing "Steppin' Out With My Baby" with Asher on the solo. We wished our audiences to go stepping out with their babies and to have a song in their hearts. The chorus had a lot of fun with this music and the audience responded with enthusiastic applause and much laughter.
See you next week with the next entry of the chorus in 2016.
All my love, Michael Lucero
Hello to all my faithful readers and all of the new singers who have joined our community. This time I will be writing about our fourth official recording. This was produced by our Artistic Director, Stephanie Lynne Smith, to celebrate our 25th Anniversary in 2005. The music on the CD was all recorded live at three different concerts, two in 2004 and the third in 2005. The chorus at the time of these concerts was at 48 strong including a straight married couple, Becky and Sean Quinlan, who from the day they joined us fit right in with the chorus as we welcomed them to come along on this journey. I remember the anticipation I felt as I went through the rehearsals as we learned this wonderful music.
The music from the first of these concerts, "Composers in the Mist", consists of three pieces composed and arranged by Jack Curtis Dubowsky. They are "Twilight in Technicolor", "Double Nut", and "Sing We and Chant It". The other piece form this concert is "Dysfunctional Relationship" by June Bonacich. This track was sponsored by Stephanie Smith. All of the music from this concert was composed and/or arranged by living gay and lesbian composers. Featuring music by gay and lesbian composers is one of the missions of our chorus.
The music from the second of these concerts, "Something's Coming", which featured the chorus performing songs as we looked forward to our 25th anniversary year. The first song from this concert was "There Comes a Time", which was given to us by Kathleen McGuire and SFGMC. The second one was "If Music Be the Food of Love". The third was "Let the River Run" by Carly Simon with CeCe Cannavo singing the solo. The fourth was "Bashana Haba'ah", a beautiful song which we sang in Hebrew.
The final four songs on the CD were from our 25th Anniversary concert which was held at the Brava Theatre. The first of these songs was "Something Inside So Strong" by The Flirtations. This track was sponsored by Mary Cantrell. The second song was "EErev Shel Shoshanim", another beautiful song sung in Hebrew. This track was sponsored by a good friend from SFGMC, Michael Levy. He wrote "Congratulations to LGCSF on the tremendous milestone of your 25th anniversary. On this 'Evening of Roses' may you continue to grow and bloom for the next 25 years." The third song we performed was "Land of the Free" by David Maddux with solos by Nick Venegoni and Lisa Rodke. The final song on the CD we performed was "Somewhere" by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein. This song was our signature song during the early years of the chorus. It was sponsored by GALA Choruses for us. Alumni of the chorus joined us onstage as we sang and gave this song to our wonderful audience.
If anyone would like to listen to my CD just let me know.
Next week I will be back to writing about our 2016 season concert by concert. As always any feedback from you is most welcome.
Cheers in harmony, Michael Lucero, Historian
Hello to all of my faithful readers and to you new members of the group who have been reading this blog. I thank and appreciate your reading our history because I feel it is important to have this out there for everyone to read. Any feedback from you is always appreciated.
"Group Therapy" was the brainchild of our talented and beautiful June Bonacich and somewhat loosely based on her experience of group therapy or so I've been told. This was the first musical written especially just for LGCSF and June worked closely with Stephanie Smith, our AD for this production. If any of you have been part of a musical you know that there is a lot of collaboration among everyone involved. This was true for us but we knew we had something really wonderful to present to our audience.
It was hard work and lots of fun for all of us to learn the music for this musical. The main cast also had to do extra work to learn their lines and their roles. For me it was really great to watch them as they all really got their roles and were able to do a little improvisation during the performances we gave. The opening weekend of "Group Therapy" we gave three performances on November 3, 4 and 5, 2005 with a dress rehearsal on November 2. The dress rehearsal was the performance that was recorded for our CD of the show so it was all done on the first take. The production staff and production committee all worked their butts off to make sure everything went smoothly. Even the orchestra we had was beautiful. It consisted of June Bonacich on synthesizer, Alyras on bass, Erika Johnson on drums, Luba Kravchenko on piano and Ashley Moore on electric guitar.
The cast was Katie: Wendy Tobias; Stan: Shane Kroll; Jenny: Noam Szoke; Evelyn the therapist: Mary Cantrell; P. Francis Tucker: Scott Turco; Jill: Sharon Gong; Marybeth: CeCe Cannavo; Nathan: Jed Herman. Many in this group have had some kind of experience in local or high school musical productions.
The chorus also took "Group Therapy" on the road in 2006 where we did three performances as part of the culture week at the Gay Games in Chicago and this was fun for us to present it to a whole new audience.
If anyone would like to borrow my CD of this show just let me know and I will be happy to share it with you. Take care of yourselves this week and see you on Thursday at rehearsal.
Cheers and my love, Michael Lucero