Artistic Director Jerry "J.R." Foust, Fall 2001 - Fall 2002
After Michael Carlson stepped down to become Artistic Director of the Oakland/East Bay Gay Men's Chorus, we went through another AD search and we selected Jerry "J.R." Foust. Our first rehearsals with him began in October, 2001.
He was also at this time the Artistic Director of Opus Q East Bay Men's Chorale.
Here is some of his background. He was a singer with the Indianapolis Men's Chorus in 1991 and he has also been a member of VOICES of Kentuckiana and the Denver Gay Men's Chorus, where he served as baritone section leader and Assistant Director.
During his musical studies, he has had the opportunity to perform under conductors and composers like James Mulholland, Joseph Jennings, Alice Parker, Margaret Willis (founder, Chicago Symphony Chorus), Michael Hayden (founder, Indianapolis Men's Chorus) and Sue Coffee (founder, Sound Circle). He had many years of experience instructing young people in instrumental and vocal music, theater, and movement. His musical inspiration and hero is Leonard Bernstein and he likes to have a Bernstein piece performed in every concert.
The first concert that LGCSF sang in with J.R. as AD was as guests on the Opus Q winter concert "Let Music Live!" which was performed at the University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley. This concert was also the first time that Stephanie Smith performed as our accompanist. As always whenever there is a change in the leadership of the chorus there is a change in the membership as well but as some singers left we were happy to have new singers join us. One thing that I have noticed about new members coming into LGCSF is that from the start they either get what we are about and stay or they don't and they leave. At this point with J.R. we were about 30 strong.
On December 24, 2001, LGCSF was a guest on the SFGMC's Home for the Holiday performances at the Castro Theatre. This was the first time for us to be on this program.
Our first program in 2002 with J.R. was "Afterglow - a Castro Cabaret" and was held at Cafe du Nord for two nights in February. Opus Q was our guest on this show. Following this in March was our first full concert on our own under the direction of J.R. called "The Promise of Living." This was followed by our appearance in the 24th Annual Pride Concert along with SFGMC and the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. Also appearing as special guests were Sharon Gless and Sir Ian McKellen.
This was our last concert with J.R. as our AD and I am not sure of all the reasons why he left after such a short time but one guess is that he wanted to be the full time AD of Opus Q as well as to finish his Masters degree at UC Berkeley. I will have more detailed posts about these concerts when I get back to writing about them in the future.
Next week I will be writing about our next AD, Stephanie Smith and the impact she had on LGCSF.
Cheers in harmony, Michael Lucero, storyteller and historian