Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers wherever you may be. I hope you all had a good weekend and that you have voted or are making your plans to vote. This week's editions will be about two more events we participated in with Michael. The first was that we were asked to sing in the SF Singfest by Mark Growden who is the festival founder. This was held in November, 2017, in the Mission Dolores Basilica which is a beautiful space to sing in. This event featured five regional community choruses so it was a great way to meet these singers and to listen to their music. The Bay Area has so much talent and it was good to share ours with these musicians.
The second event was our spring concert, "Passages - A Musical Journey Through the Stages of Life". This was a collaboration with the Lick-Wilmerding High School Choir and the USF Classical Choral Ensembles. This was also part of USF's Performing Arts and Social Justice program which we found out that Michael is very passionate about as we learned and rehearsed the music performed here. The singers from Lick-Wilmerding were on first and sang two songs - "The Hills of Tomorrow" by Stephen Sondheim and Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror". The USF singers then came on and performed "Der Tanz" (The Dance) by Franz Schubert and a modern classical piece by Jocelyn Hagen called "Sofdu, unga astin min" (Sleep my young love) and this was sung in Icelandic which was very impressive and beautiful.
LGCSF was then onstage as we performed 3 selections from Kirke Mechem's "BIRTHDAYS: Round Numbers - Bridget at Ten - Turning Twenty - Is Seventy Old?" One aspect of this concert that Michael brought to us is that we should be singing about things that happen to people throughout their lives. He brought us music that dealt with Alzheimer's disease both with a song written by a composer who was developing Alzheimer's and then a cantata in which the lyrics were written by people whose family members had gone through the various stages of Alzheimer's and how they coped with their loved ones.
We sang "Melancholy Flower" by Steve Goodwin who was going through the early stages of Alzheimer's and knew he had more music to compose but was not able to do it. A friend and fellow musician, Naomi LaViolette worked with him on this piece and provided the lyrics to his beautiful music.
The cantata we performed "Alzheimer's Stories" was composed by Robert Cohen after receiving a commission from the Susquehanna Valley Chorale on the subject of Alzheimer's disease to honor the lives of the family members of the singers of this Chorale who had suffered and died from this disease. The lyrics came from stories the singers had posted on a blog they created. There are three parts to this beautiful and poignant and humorous work. The first is "The Numbers" about the numbers of people who have contracted Alzheimer's since it was first diagnosed 1901. The second is "The Stories" recounting the stories the singers remembered being told by their loved ones. The third is "For the Caregivers" which gave honor to all of those who gave care and love to their loved ones and which was the most poignant and emotional part to sing through. I just want to say many thanks to Michael for bringing this beautiful music to us and that we got to perform it with the other two choirs and to sing in St. Ignatius Church on May 4, 2018 on a beautiful spring evening.
Take care of yourselves and I will be back next week with the next installment of the LGCSF History Corner.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Photos by Katharine James
Hello and greetings to all my faithful readers out there in the world. I hope you are all well and staying sane and healthy through all the ever changing news of the world. Getting back to a simpler time, more or less, to February 2018 and Michael's first Love Bites show with us. He decided to go with a Shakespearean theme naming it "Love Biteth. A true and most dreadful discourse by the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco". During our rehearsals for this, Michael brought several songs for soloists, duets, etc., to us for us to choose. I have included photos of the program cover and our set list.
The shows were held at Martuni's over four nights, February 11, 12, 14, and 15, 2018. The chorus had several songs as we opened with "Comedy Tonight" and then our cher sang "The Stages of Love Medley" - "Cupid, This Magic Moment and You Don't Own Me". And the audience went crazy. The other pieces the whole chorus performed were "Sh-Boom" - "sh-boom sh-boom yatta yatta yatta yatta sh-boom", etc., "Ye Spotted Snakes" our first piece by William Shakespeare, "Weep, O Mine Eyes" by John Bennet who I believe was a contemporary of old Will, then later came "If We Shadows Have Offended", also by old Will and we closed with "You Will Be Found" from "Dear Evan Hansen". Asher, Birgit, Dr. Mark, Evan, Emma, Janice, Joe and Will all had solos on the different days of the shows.
Annie put her all into "Glitter in the Air", Asher and Emma crooned "I'm Only Thinking of Him", as they put on their best wistful looks. Lisa E. then offered "This Could Be Love", which was followed by Pax and Catalina singing "What a Piece of Work is Man". Catalina then soloed on "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", which is a good question for Love Biteth. Then Joan came on with her usual flair with "I Put a Spell on You" as she weaved her magic spell over the audience. Then Pax performed "The Ouzel Cock", another ditty by old Will. Dr. Mark followed with his best Etta James on "At Last". Next the quintet of Dale, Robert, Annie, Janice and Joe performed "This Bottom's Gonna Be On Top", and it was anyone's guess as to who it would be. Then the beautiful and talented Sabine did her best Aretha and Carole on "A Natural Woman" and Robert followed with "One is the Loneliest Number" with tears in his eyes. And then the talented and beautiful Evan performed the wistful "Everybody's Fucking But Me", and by the end of this he had gotten several potential dates. Then the irrepressible Janice sang the Four Tops hit "I Can't Help Myself", as she introduced several sexual toys. Next was Eliza Speece singing and asking to "Bring On the Men!" and Kobi Dwek crooned "Only You". After Kobi sang, as stated above, the full chorus was on with "If We Shadows Have Offended" and "You Will Be Found". One thing that I want to say about this last song is that as we rehearsed all of us really came to love and believe in the lyrics and heart of this song.
As we finished this version of "Love Bites" we were preparing for a really creative and challenging season ahead as we all prepared to go on this journey forward with Michael. Next week will be all about our next concert and musical journey with our cher. See you all then and remember to vote!
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero
(Gallery photos by Ziggy Tomcich)
Greetings to all of my faithful readers. I hope you are all finding ways to stay sane and healthy in these crazy changing times. My favorite way to stay sane is to listen to all of the wonderful choral music from GALA Choruses on their YouTube channel so please check this out for yourselves. I promise you will find something to cheer you up and lift your spirits.
Since I have written about all of our past Artistic Directors in past editions, this week I decided to write about our current AD, Michael Reilly. In mid-2017, after our then AD, William Sauerland, stepped down, there was a search on for a new AD. We picked Michael. He and his husband, Robert Haerr, had both sung in the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. They currently live in Vallejo and Michael serves on the music faculty of Solano Community College (Chorus, Voice, and Theory) as well as the Director of Music at Community Presbyterian Church and Artistic Director for the Georgia Street Singers of Vallejo.
Before his first rehearsal with us, there was a get together with Michael to get to know him which was held at Dale Danley's house. I brought a notebook with chorus posters and season brochures for him to view to give him a bit of the background of the chorus. As we discussed what might be our first concert with him he suggested "Nightmare on Polk Street". For our first concert with Michael, we were at 28 strong.
As Michael wrote in his program notes, "Welcome (or should I say Beware?) to LGCSF's Nightmare on Polk Street! For the next hour and a half, we are going to explore nightmares, real and imagined." This was held on October 27 and 28, 2017 at MCC on Polk Street. Of course we were all in our best Halloween drag, whatever spoke to each of us. Some of the music that Michael brought to us to learn was new and diverse to say the least. We began the concert with The Invitation "In the Sorcerer's Hall", then "Things That Go Bump in the Night". Other music was "The Milkman", "La Llorona", "Old Abram Brown" by Benjamin Britten. Then the tenors and basses sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and the sopranos and altos sang "I Have a Million Nightingales". Then we performed two songs from "Rocky Horror Picture Show", "Sweet Transvestite", and "The Time Warp", in which we asked the audience to get up and dance the Time Warp with us.
For the second half, we performed "A Nightmare Wedding Horrortorio" by Joseph Horovitz and Alistair Sampson, which featured a wedding between two monsters. We followed this with "Love is Love is Love". We ended the concert with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" with the chorus trying to imitate Mr. Jackson's moves as much as we were able to do. We all had a great time with this music and the audience loved it as well.
As we went through the rehearsal process for this concert with Michael we got to know him and he got to know us. As he said in the notes, "We have dreamed, rehearsed, labored, and loved this concert into existence."
Next week I will be writing about Michael's first Love Bites cabaret with us which was called "Love Biteth". See you all then. Take care of yourselves and all of your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers, I know you are out there. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe and sane among all that is happening in our world. This week I am sharing the beauty of the LGCSF poster and program art from three of our Love Bites cabarets under the direction of Billy Sauerland. I have included two photos of posters from our 2011 and 2012 Love Bites shows and one of the program cover from 2013.
The first one was "Love Bites Off Broadway" which was held on February 11 & 12, 2011 in the Mission Cultural Center. This would be our home for the next few Love Bites and other concerts. It was a good space for us and the people there we worked with were great to work with. The art for this poster and program cover featured the front entrance of some theatre with LGCSF at the top of one of the side display windows. With this design, I felt this really captured the music we sang from various Broadway musicals with the emphasis on songs about love gone wrong, the man or woman who got away with the sopranos and altos singing "There's Nothin' Like a Dame" and the tenors and basses singing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair", which are just two examples of what we sang. Of course there were the usual mix of wonderful soloists, duos, etc. Billy had just come on board as our AD in January and was thrown right away into his first Love Bites and it was a big success for us and our audiences had fun as well.
On February 10 & 11, 2012, we presented "Love Bites and so did the 80s" and the poster featured a four head split screen of some crazy looking doll with four different hair colors. Of course her hair was really big. This cabaret was our salute to the pop music of the 80s as we decorated the Mission Cultural Center with 80s paraphernalia. We had our wonderful choreographer Michael Mohammed and guest soloist Katya Smirnoff-Skyy. Katya sang Cyndi Lauper's song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Of course there was an ABBA song as Wendy Tobias sang "The Winner Takes It All". The full chorus began the first act with a Dance Party Medley which was choreographed by Michael Mohammed. Also in February 2012 was when Whitney Houston had died so we had a big heart onstage in memory of Whitney. This was another fun show for the chorus as we brought out our old 80s clothes and dug back in our memories to the good and not so good music from that decade.
The third one for this edition was "Love Bites: 10 Years and Still Masticating", held on February 8 & 9, 2013. This was the tenth anniversary of our Love Bites cabarets and we were again in the Mission Cultural Center. The program cover art featured a somewhat broken heart behind the bold letters of LOVE BITES. Our former AD, Stephanie Lynne Smith, was on hand to co-emcee the show with Billy and I can say it was so much fun to work with her again. We had fun with the audience as we opened with "This Marriage" and Stephanie stormed onstage saying "no, no, no, this is not what Love Bites is all about". Billy calmed her down as we launched into "Down With Love", which was one of the songs from our first Love Bites. All of the music we sang in this cabaret featured some of the most beloved or the most biting songs from a decade of Love Bites. And again this was so much fun for us and for our audiences as we had two sold out shows for this one.
I want to put in a plug for our YouTube channel, so please check it out so you can see us in action from past concerts and cabarets and let me know what you enjoy there. Next week I will be writing more about the art of our posters and programs so stay tuned. Take care of yourselves and all of your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello to all of my fabulous readers of the LGCSF History Corner blog. I hope you are doing well as we all are processing the loss of the wonderful Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This week I am continuing my series on the Art and Music of LGCSF with the emphasis on more art from our "Love Bites" shows from the 2000s. The first cabaret with the title "Love Bites" was on February 13, 2004, the day before Valentine's Day and we did two shows that evening at the Rainbow Room of the LGBTQ Center. This was the brainchild of our AD, Stephanie Lynne Smith, and the Artistic Advisory Committee as we sang about the flipside of love. Our special guests and emcees for this show were The Living Dolls, Liz Matthews and Diane Merlino. They sang five songs throughout the evening, "Taking a Chance on Love", "Get Happy", "I Want My Money Back", "Sentimental Journey", and "Sincerely". Our opening medley of "Love Bites" were "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "I Get Around", "It's My Party", "Namaste", "Stop in the Name of Love", and "Your Momma Don't Dance". And the chorus was off on this crazy and wonderful journey of "Love Bites".
Please look through the photos I have included of the program cover of this first show and of posters from four more "Love Bites" cabarets. The art for each of these posters really captured the spirit of the chorus at that specific time. Our second one "Love Still Bites", from February 11 and 12, 2005, features a drawing of a disgruntled Cupid with broken arrows and a broken bow behind him.
The poster from our fourth one "Love Bites The Hand That Feeds It", from February 9 and 10, 2007, features four photos of various characters from shows that preceded this one, as you can see a picture of the chickens from "Group Therapy" as an example. Our wonderful Carolyn Eidson was the emcee for these two shows and she was fabulous. This show was held at Theatre Rhinoceros where we had presented a couple of shows the previous year so we were comfortable there.
The poster from our fifth one "Love Bites, My Dog Bites and My Pickup Truck Won't Start" in which we sang some of our favorite country songs of love gone wrong. As you can see the poster featured a drawing of an angry Cupid with a shotgun and a rope that emphasized a Special Adults Only Show Valentine's Day. This show was held at the EXIT on Taylor theatre and we did six shows over two weekends, Feb. 7-9 and 14-16, 2008. One thing I remember from these shows that one evening a group of slightly inebriated young women from out of town just happened to be looking for a show and from their reactions they really loved us and we loved them right back.
The final poster from this week is from our seventh annual anti-Valentine's Day Cabaret and Musical Extravaganza "Love Bites and All That Jazz", which was held at the Women's Building on 18th Street. This show was also held over two weekends, Feb. 5-6 and 12-13, 2010. As you can see from the poster that this show was ADULTS ONLY. The songs we performed for this show were on the jazzy side with a little bit of raunch and our audiences were in the mood for what we did on this occasion. One thing that I can say about this crazy idea for an anti-Valentine's Day show that showcased the ways that love can go wrong and the songs that our various soloists chose to sing really connected with our audiences and they have continued with the ADs who followed Stephanie, Billy Sauerland and Michael Reilly.
Next week I will be featuring the poster art from some of the "Love Bites" shows with Billy. See you all then and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my fabulous readers out there in the universe. Hopefully you are all staying safe and inside to minimize the effects of all the smoke and smog in our air.
This week I am continuing my series on the Art and Music of the chorus. We have had the great fortune to have some amazing artists who have created the art for our flyers, posters and program covers. I have included four photos of flyers from our early cabarets with Stephanie Smith. These were "Full Moon Full of Love" from 2002, which featured someone with their hands up in front of a full moon. For "Role Playing" from 2003, the flyer features stylized figures underneath stage lights. These two cabarets were held at the Cafe du Nord downstairs in the Swedish American Hall.
In 2004 we were in our new home for our cabarets in the Rainbow Room at the LGBT Community Center where we pereformed the first of our "Love Bites" (more about these next week) cabarets in February and "Somewhere Over the Top: An Adult Cabaret" which we performed in September. The flyer for this was a stylized picture of our guest performance artist and emcee Jamie Glowacki.
These cabarets were great fun for us and especially for those singers who wanted to perform solos, duets, trios, etc. around the theme of whatever the title of the show was. There was usually one or two full chorus numbers and in "Full Moon Full of Love" that was "Somewhere" which was our go to song. Also in this cabaret our special guests were singer Corey Grundman accompanied by someone very familiar to us, Barry Lloyd. From the program sheet for this I see that there were mostly love songs like "Only Love," "Night and Day," "If Ever I Would Leave You," "The One I Love," and one by The Australia Contingent who sang "Let Me Live" by Queen. If anyone out there remembers who the Australia Contingent were please let me know because I do not remember who they were.
What I recall from the "Role Playing" cabaret as the favorite song for me was Jed Herman singing "Beauty School Dropout" from "Grease" as he was working with a blonde wig on a foam head.
For "Somewhere Over the Top" cabaret the chorus was at 46 strong including a straight married couple, Becky and Sean Quinlan. The reason this was called an adult cabaret was that some of the songs were just a little bit or a lot naughty. Our guest Jamie opened the show with "Anything Goes" by Cole Porter, "Leather" by Tori Amos and "My Favorite Things" by Rodgers and Hammerstein, which included various leather items. Other songs by various of our soloists were "Smut," "It's Nice to Have a Man Around the House," one of the early songs Jack Dubowsky wrote for us called "Big Feet" sung by the tenors and basses and "Making Love Alone" by our choralographer Kirk Johnson. To close out the first half was "The Streak" complete with our own streaker, Yann Jouvenot and was sung by the sopranos and altos.
The second half began with Jamie singing two more songs that she adapted "All That 'Ass'", and "Don't Fence Me In". Then there was "The Masochism Tango" and "A Place Where I Can Smoke" and we ended the show with a "Monty Python Sing Along". This was great fun for us and for our audience who really sang along to the Monty Python naughty songs. Next week I will feature some of the flyer art from some of our "Love Bites" cabarets so see you all then.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers and any new ones on this hot Labor Day weekend. I hope you are all staying safe, cool and hydrated. This week I am writing about our fourth official CD "Group Therapy" with music and lyrics by our own June Bonacich. But first I would like to share a few quotes from Stephanie Smith that she wrote in the program of our 25th Anniversary Concert. "My experiences with the Chorus have been varied and treasured and they are what make me stay. My first experience with LGCSF was as its pianist. I was asked to serve as interim during the search for a permanent artistic director in 2001. My "audition" was quite funny. I ran the first half of the rehearsal as usual, and then auditioned after break... I wanted the position, but I also wanted what was best for the Chorus. Happily, I was selected and my title changed from Interim to Artistic Director. Same pay, same routine, different commitment and I was overjoyed."
Back to "Group Therapy". For the show we were at 37 strong. This was a musical written for us by June and we were blessed to have the beautiful and talented Michael Mohammed as our stage director and choreographer. As he worked with Stephanie and us in our rehearsals toward our performances of "GT" we really came together, the cast became very comfortable in their roles so we were ready for our dress rehearsal which is the performance that was recorded for the CD. Even the orchestra was beautiful with June on synthesizer, Alyras on bass, Erika Johnson on drums, Luba Kravchenko on piano and Ashley Moore on electric guitar. The show was held at the Rainbow Room of the LGBT Community Center in early November, 2005. We were in our costumes and makeup and were backstage ready to go on. We could hear the small group who were there to witness our dress rehearsal. And here we go.
As the orchestra played the overture we came on singing "Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I feel like a nut". The story line was about Katie who had just moved to San Francisco and her adventures in the City, finding a therapy group, deciding if she was a lesbian or not, getting a new hairdo, and hearing the stories of the others in her group. The first song was "The Hairdresser Polka" as Katie (Wendy) sang and the hairdressers did their magic on her hair. In group Jill (Sharon) sang "What More Could I Ask For?" being clearly content with her cat. Next was P. Francis Tucker (Scott) had always been chicken and was chased and spanked by big chickens in "He's Chicken". Then Evelyn, the therapist (Mary) informed the group about transference in "The Transference Tango" as we all tangoed and changed many partners as we went through transference. Then Stan (Shane) and backup singers performed "Looking Back", a "long" look back at his life. The first act closed with Jill and ensemble singing and dancing "Psychobabble Waltz".
Act II began with Jill and ensemble singing "Dysfunctional Relationship" which we can all probably relate to. Next was Nathan (Jed) singing how he would like to "Run Away". P. Francis Tucker and the chickens were back with "I Always Tried to Please You". Then the trio of Jenny (Noam), Marybeth (CeCe) and Katie sang "It's So Clear Now" after going through therapy. Then Marybeth and ensemble sang and danced country style to "Stomp on My Heart". Next the ensemble sang "Marybeth" about her life and when she went to the prom with her boyfriend and ended up with her girlfriend. Love wins out. The show ended with everyone singing the uplifting "As I Say Yes to Life" as we all looked forward to the future. The show was a hit as we would perform it again in Chicago in 2006 during the Gay Games Cultural Week and again as a benefit for the Jon Sims Community Center. The whole experience of "Group Therapy" for me was so wonderful for me as we all became comfortable in our roles in it and the personalities of the cast really shown through. If anyone would like to listen to my CD just let me know as I am happy to share it with you. Next week more LGCSF Music and Art. See you all on Zoom at our first rehearsal on Thursday.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers and welcome to any new ones. To give you all something positive, this week I am writing about our 3rd CD which celebrated our 25th Anniversary in 2005. The music on this recording is from three concerts, "Composers in the Mist", May 8, 2004; "Something's Coming", November 13, 2004 and "LGCSF 25", May 7, 2005 with four songs from each concert. The chorus was under the direction of Stephanie Lynne Smith, with accompanists Ben Prince, Grace Renaud and Richard Link. During this time there were 48 of us singers on these recordings. The music we sang was either composed or arranged by members or friends of the chorus and it was our privilege to sing the music of people we know.
"Composers in the Mist". Jack Dubowsky wrote the music for the first three songs to texts by three different writers. They were "Twilight in Technicolor", "Double Nut", and "Sing We and Chant It". The fourth one was June Bonacich's "Dysfunctional Relationship" which we can all relate to in some manner or other.
"Something's Coming". The four songs from this concert were "There Comes a Time" by Connie Kaldor, "If Music Be the Food of Love" by Jean Belmont for all the romantics, "Let the River Run" by Carly Simon with a great solo by CeCe Cannavo and "Bashana Haba'ah", arranged by John Leavitt, with a beautiful solo by Jed Herman.
"LGCSF 25". This was our 25th anniversary concert at the Brava Theatre. We had invited alumni of the chorus to join us and we sang "Somewhere" from "West Side Story" with them. This had been our signature song during our first years as a chorus. The other three were favorites of the chorus; "Something Inside So Strong" with a strong solo by Laura Liscar, "Erev Shel Shoshanim" and a big gay anthem "Land of the Free" from "All Rights Reserved" by David Maddux with our wonderful soloists Lisa Rodke and Neck Venegoni. Some of the tracks on the CD were sponsored by members and friends of the chorus.
I have wonderful memories of all three concerts represented on this CD. We shared the stage on the first two concerts - Oakland Gay Men's Chorus and Voices Lesbian Choral Ensemble and it was great to sing with them. It was so much fun to see and sing with the alumni at "25". We loved performing these songs for our audiences which is why we do what we do. As Mary Cantrell wrote in part "Yes, audiences and performers are in the dance that gladdens the heart and clears the mind, that energizes the soul and takes us away from the mundane". We love our audience so stay tuned to lgcsf.org to see what we will be doing this fall. Next week more Music and Art.
In harmony and love always, Michael Lucero
Greetings to you my faithful readers. If there are any new ones please let me know. I hope all of you and your loved ones in California are safe from the fires and coping with all the smoke. What a crazy week this has been for us.
Today I am writing about our second official CD "Wish You Were Here". This was released in 2000 to celebrate twenty years of making music. Our Artistic Director at this time was Michael Carlson and our accompanist was resident composer June Bonacich. The chorus was at 40 strong with an almost perfect balance among all four parts. From the back cover Michael wrote, "Live concert recordings proudly presented by the men and women of the Lesbian/ Gay Chorus of San Francisco, celebrating twenty years of music!" The music was recorded in three venues in San Francisco - Herbst Theatre, First Unitarian Church, and Murphy Auditorium in Mission High School.
Here is a little bit of what I remember about these concerts and Michael Carlson as director. With input from the artistic advisory committee he brought us music that challenged us because he saw the potential in us to be able to sing complex music and sing it well. On this CD there is a song in Tagalog, and one in Yiddish. There was music by gay and lesbian composers which is part of our mission to share their music. With regular rehearsals, out of town retreats and sectionals we were prepared to always give our best.
The CD begins with a grand anthem "You Are the Light" by Leo Arnaud. Next is "Begin the Beguine" by that gayest of composers Cole Porter. For this we had choralography by Kirk Johnston. Next is "Give Me the Splendid, Silent Sun" which is 20th century classical choral music which gave us the chance to show our stuff. Next is "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen with the head banging choreography at the bridge. Next was "Nina," a fun ditty by another gay composer, Noel Coward, with a great solo by Eric Wenburg. Next is "The Spirit of Creation" which was another challenging piece. Next was "Dahil Sa Iyo" (Because of You) a Tagalog love song that was a favorite of Imelda Marcos.
Next was "Erev Shel Shoshanim" (Evening of Roses) which we sang in Yiddish. It is a beautiful song and well worth looking for. Next was "My Heart is Longing for Your Love" which we sang acappella. Next was a song by composer Eric Whitacre. This was the very romantic "With a Lily in Your Hand" from "Three Flower Songs". Next we went to Motown and performed "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Ashford & Simpson complete with all the Motown choreography and big arm movements made easy for us by Kirk Johnson. Next was "Dysfunctional Relationship" by June Bonacich which was a song which was part of a musical she was writing for us. Next we sang "Shenandoah" acappella in a beautiful arrangement by James Erb. The CD ends with a favorite of ours "I Open My Heart" by Skye Evergreen, who I have written about in a previous History Corner.
Each of the artistic directors that I have sung with over the years has taught me something new in my musical journey with this chorus and Michael was no exception as he brought music that he enjoyed and we learned well. Next week I will continue my journey in LGCSF music and art with you. Take care of yourselves.
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my loyal readers. I hope you all made it through the wild night of thunder and lightning last night. I hope you have power from PG&E back on. For the next few weeks I want to write about the Music and Art of LGCSF beginning with my memories of our first CD "Together in Harmony" under the direction of our Artistic Director Pat Parr taken from concerts in 1992 and 1993, a recording session in 1992 and released in 1994. I have included photos of the front and back covers of the CD and one of the chorus from the booklet. At this point there were 107 of us in the chorus. Yolanda and I are the only ones still singing with LGCSF. We also had an Assistant Conductor, Marty Stoddard, who composed the music along with lyrics by member Leslie Steere, "Love Song." Dwight Okamura, our wonderful accompanist, composed "Three Songs on Texts by Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall" - "At the Shrine of Aphrodite", "Hands and Lips", and "Take Me With You When You Fly".
Pat wrote in the liner notes, "Together in Harmony is the first recording released by the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco. It is also among the first recordings released by a mixed group of Lesbians and Gay Men in the United States - perhaps the world! The music of this recording is as diverse as the membership of the chorus: from Brahms to Jule Styne, from ballads to joyously rhythmic exclamations. We are especially proud that five of the pieces were written specifically for LGCSF and another of the pieces - "Survivors" - was premiered at our 1993 Pride Concert. It is one of our goals to encourage and perform new music written by and for members of our community, and through this recording we hope to bring some of this music to a broader audience for their appreciation and enjoyment.
"The recordings were garnered from digitally mastered tapes of three concerts and a recording session, so the keen listener may hear some differences in the acoustics of the halls - as well as an occasional cough or baby's cry. I wish to thank our recording engineer Keith Sklower for his consistent patience with me during this process. I also wish to thank Stan Hill and Justin Taylor of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and Cathy Roma of MUSE: Cincinnati's Women's Choir for their encouragement and knowledge so freely given."
There are five songs from our "Classics of Nature" concert which was on October 23, 1992, in Oakland's First Unitarian Church. These were three by Johannes Brahms, and two by Lloyd Pfautch. From our "Fantasies" concert in March, 1993 there is "Never Never Land". From the "Lesbian & Gay Composers" concert in October, 1993 is "I am Here" by our own Michael McDonald and Marty Cormier. Our recording session was in fall of 1993 in the rehearsal hall of First Unitarian Church, SF. It was kind of a nerve wracking experience since we sang each song or parts of a song over and over to get them right. And we had to keep quiet between each recording segment but we got through it and I will be sending our my iTunes playlist to you later on Chorus Connection. Take care of yourselves and each other and I am always sending my love. In harmony, Michael Lucero