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
Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers out there. I hope you are all doing well, staying safe, sane and healthy. It is so wonderful to have a President who has an actual plan to put concrete actions into place to tackle the coronavirus and that these decisions are based on science and the facts.
This week I thought I would write about some of the awards and certificates that the Chorus received throughout the years. From the 1970s through the 1990s there were two separate organizations that awarded prizes for excellence in the gay community - the Cable Car Awards with their overall theme of Outstanding - and for excellence in live performance - the San Francisco/Bay Area Gold Awards presented by the San Francisco Council on Entertainment. Any awards given from these organizations were very prestigious.
The Cable Car Awards started in 1974 by Bob Cramer and he always included on stage and in the audience leaders in the political arena joining with entertainers, journalists, athletes, artists, photographers and civic minded persons to celebrate our community. The Chorus and its subgroups, Menage and Fiddlestix, were all nominated in 1989 and 1990. The Chorus won in 1989 for Outstanding Concert for our LGCSF Goes to the Movies. In 1990, Fiddlestix were nominated for Outstanding Performing Group, as were Menage, and as was the Chorus for Outstanding Concert "The Critics' Award". In 1990, the Chorus was awarded a Cable Car Award for the 1989 Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade Outstanding Performing Group. In 1992, the Chorus was awarded the Bob Cramer Award for Excellence.
The San Francisco/Bay Area Gold Awards were started in 1978 by a man by the name of Jack Essex and a group of his friends who mapped out the first Gold Awards to honor cabaret performers, singers, pianists, comedians and the cabarets and the jazz and comedy clubs where they were able to perform. In 1988, Menage was nominated for Outstanding Musical Group. Menage was also nominated in 1989 as well as our own Scott Johnston for Outstanding Male Cabaret/Nightclub Vocalist. So as you can see back in the good old days of live entertainment in San Francisco the Chorus was well represented.
As far as certificates that the Chorus has received in the past, I want to mention two certificates we received in 2005. These were both Certificates of Honor from the City and County of San Francisco and signed by then Mayor Gavin Newsom. The first was awarded on January 20, 2005, and recognized and honored the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1980 by John Sims as the world's first gay and lesbian choral ensemble, the chorus has entertained audiences throughout the Bay Area and across the world.
The second was awarded on May 7, 2005, and it recognized and honored the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco for 25 years of building and enriching our communities with music. Your voices are helping to transcend the barriers of race and sexuality and unite individuals from all walks of life. Congratulations!
I want to give a shout out to one of our alumni who joined us last Thursday on Zoom, my good friend Jesse Lanou who now lives in Oregon. She was the first to respond to my outreach on Facebook to join us this season and I hope we will hear and see other alumni in the future. One of the memories I have of Jesse is when my partner, Philip, and I helped Jesse backstage at one of the Cable Car Awards shows. It was a long day of work but also a lot of fun and we got to interact with the presenters and the performers.
One last thing before I sign off for this week. There is something a little different that I would like to do for a future History Corner, or maybe two of them. That would be to request any backstage photos that any of you have and that I could use and put captions with the photos as a visual glimpse of what we have done. Please upload your pictures to Dropbox or to my email which is in Chorus Connection. I look forward to seeing your photos. Take care of yourselves this week and see you on Zoom on Thursday.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings and Happy New Year to all of my faithful readers out there. I hope you all had safe and healthy holidays however you celebrated them. This first History Corner entry for the new year will be a little different.
First the chorus is coming up on its 41st birthday on January 23. Yes on that day in 1980 we, this group of adventurous and courageous men and women singers came together to sing. This was a whole new territory for us as lesbians and gay men and we all were there for one purpose, to make music and as we that we built community as we became comfortable with each other and of course friendships and relationships were formed.
We were doctors, lawyers, psychologists, funeral directors, engineers, waiters, architects, teachers, sales people, secretaries and bartenders, among other things and in age from 18 to 55. We were part of the Golden Gate Performing Arts and in the spring season concert series program we had 136 singers listed. Our first Artistic Director was Robin Kay who led us through our first three years. From that auspicious beginning, LGCSF along with SFGMC and the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band & Twirling Corps began a musical tradition which came from the mind of Jon Reed Sims who was present at the birth of these three organizations. And we are all still here and thriving, and we need to ask where do we go from here and how do we get there?
One way certainly is survival and LGCSF has certainly survived through changes in Artistic Directors, Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards, changing singing personnel, although one thing I have noticed during my time in the chorus that the new singers who have come to join us and have stayed were people who got and understood who and what this chorus is. There were also changing financial times, a major earthquake, a riot that shut down the City and one of our performances. Then there have two major health crises, the AIDS epidemic and the Covid-19 pandemic. There has also been major shifts in the political arena which at times affected all performing arts organizations.
Our chorus was one of the founding members of what is now GALA, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, which now has over 190 member choruses and 10,000 singers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada, China, and Cuba. We have performed at eight GALA Chorus Festivals, as well as in our own concerts and in collaboration with many other choruses over the years. We have had music written for us by members of the chorus, we have commissioned or co-commissioned major works that we have presented as world premieres, as well as performed all styles of music - classical, pop, rock, jazz, Broadway, and music from the movies.
We have had a musical written for us by one of our own, June Bonacich, "Group Therapy" that we premiered in 2005 under the baton of Stephanie Lynne Smith with several performances in San Francisco and which we went on the road with to Chicago in 2006 to perform during the cultural week of the Gay Games and some of us sang at the Opening Ceremony there. Some of also sang in the Opening Ceremonies of the first two Gay Games in San Francisco which were called the Gay Olympics in those early days.
This is only a small portion of our history and the question we need to ask ourselves is where do we go from here. I know we will keep on singing and rehearsing in the virtual world, on Zoom for the present and the foreseeable future, as we continue to learn new technology like Soundtrap as we lay down our vocal tracks. I am sure we will be continuing our collaborations with the Freedom Band as we did with them for last December's "Dance Along Nutcracker".
So as this current group of singers and Michael look forward to our new year together let us continue this wonderful and vital community as we learn new music and share it with our audience and the world. I have faith that we will be able to sing together and then to be in front of our audience to sing for them. If there are any alumni out there reading this and would like to sing with us on Zoom, please contact our AD, Michael Reilly, at email@example.com about your interest and he will send you an email with the Zoom link. Hope to see some of you on Zoom. I love and miss you all and so look forward to seeing you on Thursday, January 21, for our first get together and rehearsal and to celebrate our birthday.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my wonderful and beautiful readers. This will be my final History Corner for the year that was and I am continuing my series on Pride Concert Programs and Posters art this time from 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. I have included photos of these program covers and posters for your perusal.
On Friday, June 28, 1996, was the 18th Annual Pride Concert held at the Herbst Theatre. This program with art was put together by Pat Parr, our AD, and during his time he created many program covers for a particular season and that had a common theme. A new chorus, Equal Voices, directed by a former of LGCSF, Rick Weaver, joined us for pre-show entertainment. For this concert our host and emcee was Donna Sachet, Empress XXX, who is a big supporter of ours. As this was our 16th anniversary, Donna joined us as we opened the show with "A Sweet Sixteen Birthday Fantasy". Following us were the SFGMC who sang selections from "Naked Man" and they were followed by VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble. After intermission the San Francisco Winds of Freedom opened up the second half and then we were on with our set and then the combined choruses and band performed "We Sing the Dream", which was the GALA Festival V anthem. Pat wrote in the program, in part, "Whether singing to our loyal concert audiences, at AIDS fundraisers, in hospitals, conventions, or at civic events such as the San Francisco Fair Gay Day, we of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus raise our voices and join our hands to share the power and love we fine in singing and working together."
On Friday, June 27, 1997, was the 19th Annual Pride Concert - One Concert, Many Voices at the Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Center. Our host for this night of music was our own Lisa Gray and featured pre-show entertainment by Jungle Red, which was an offshoot of LGCSF. This concert was held in honor of Sky Evergreen, a performer, jazz pianist, songwriter, arranger and recording artist. During the 1980s he played at many cabarets in San Francisco backing Sharon McKnight among many other singers. The chorus had sung many of his arrangements over the years as we did on this night. This was also the last concert with our AD, Pat Parr, and SFGMC gave him a tribute in loving appreciation for his selfless dedication and uncompromising artistry in the choral arts during set as the sang "Irish Blessing". There was also a Lifetime Commitment Ceremony - remember this was long before marriage equality - of two of our biggest supporters - John Dobson and R. Guy McGinnis with State Assemblywoman Carol Migden officiating. John and Guy wrote in the program "May the future of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus shine with creative renewal."
The concert with Lisa Gray singing "I'm Gonna Fly" and she was followed by our guests from Long Beach, the South Coast Chorale. They were followed by Equal Voices and then the San Francisco Winds of Freedom. After intermission Lisa Gray was on again followed by SFGMC. Then LGCSF were onstage as we sang three songs arranged by Sky Evergreen - "Lover Come Back to Me", "For All We Know", and "How Long Has This Been Going On". For the finale, the combined choruses and band performed the finale from "In Memory of Friends", "If We Only Have Love" and "Not a Day Goes By". Pat had conducted us in this concert in 1987 so we all came full circle in closing with these two songs with Pat.
On Friday, June 26, 1998, was the 20th Annual Pride Concert - "High on Pride - 20 Years Singing Proud" at the First Unitarian Univeralist Center. This was our first Pride Concert with our new AD, Trente Morant. This night of music opened with the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band and they were followed by SFGMC. After intermission our special guests from Canberra, Australia, the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire took the stage for their set closing with "Waltzing Matilda". How appropriate was that. Then we were on for our set with Trente which included a song written by Sky Evergreen, "I Open My Heart", which quickly became a favorite as we kept it in our repertoire to sing wherever we were invited. Trente arranged several of the songs we sang that night and we and the audience were treated to his flamboyant style, both in his fashion sense and his conducting.
On Tuesday, June 22, 1999, was the 21st Annual Pride Concert - "A Family Album", again at the Herbst Theatre. In the program notes we introduced our next new AD, Michael Carlson, and our new accompanist, June Bonacich. They were both a welcome addition to the chorus and we were excited to be working with them. The program notes read, in part, "This evening's concert, A Family Album - the 21st Annual Pride Celebration, begins the Chorus' 20th Anniversary and is focused upon our history as a community and a dedication of a hopeful, prosperous future. Tonight's performance is special for many reasons. Perhaps most exciting for the Chorus is its kickoff of a fundraising campaign and music-making schedule leading to its landmark performance at the Millenium Celebration of GALA Choruses in San Jose next year."
There was a new trio who joined us in this concert, the Bearatones, with our own Thaddeus Pinkston as their Artistic Director/Accompanist. Also joining us for the first time was the lesbian acappella quartet, Out on a Clef, with June Bonacich as one of the four. The GAPA Men's Chorus was with us again as were VOICES: Lesbian Choral Ensemble. The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band were on hand and then we were on with our set that Michael had prepared for us. One song that I really loved was Leonard Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" from Candide. This was very challenging to learn but very rewarding to sing. And we closed with "I Open My Heart" by Sky Evergreen who was still in our thoughts and hearts.
The combined choruses and band closed with "If My Friends Could See Me Now". We invited the audience to sing along so this was a great way to go out and enjoy Pride Weekend with our friends and to carry our spirits forward.
So long for this year - I wish all of you happy holidays, Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Happy New Year or beautiful winter solstice. Keep music in your hearts and heads and I will see you in the new year with more of the history of LGCSF.
In love and harmony always, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers this week on this first Sunday of December. Are you ready to watch our appearance in the Band's Dance-a-Long Nutcracker this weekend? I know I will as well as trying to watch as many of the choruses in GALA in their virtual holiday cabarets and concerts. This weekend was Chicago Gay Men's Chorus' show and there will be concerts to fill all the upcoming weekends through the end of the month. This week I am continuing my series on our Pride Concert program art and featuring the programs from 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995. I have included photos of these four programs for your perusal. One thing I want to say about these programs is that we were able to reach out to the community and they responded by placing ads in the programs which helped us to pay for them.
On Friday, June 26, 1992, was the 14th Annual Gay & Lesbian Musical Celebration at First Congregational Church in San Francisco. This Pride concert honored the Tenth Anniversary of the Golden Gate Men's Chorus and featured an art exhibit by CASA, which was a social alternative organization focused on Gay - Bisexual Latino issues. It promoted HIV awareness and bi-lingual/bi-cultural services for its members and the Latino community at large. The MCs for this concert were Roberta Achtenberg and Tom Nolan, who were local politicians and great allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community in the 1990s. I want to recognize Tim O'Bayley who I worked with on the Production Committee during this time and he was the one who designed the programs for us.
The first chorus onstage was the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus who were followed by Vocal Minority. Next were VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble directed by our friend, Melanie DeMore. They were followed by Golden Gate Men's Chorus. After intermission the San Francisco Winds of Freedom took the stage who were followed by Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Men's Chorus. Then LGCSF came on and presented our GALA Festival set that we would be performing in Denver that following July. For the finale, the combined choruses and band performed "In This Moment" by Gary Simmons which was a GALA Choruses Festival IV competition winner.
On Friday, June 25, 1993, was the 15th Annual Pride Concert at the Herbst Theatre. From Pat Parr's welcome he wrote, in part, "Tonight's Emcees are legends in their own time both as entertainers and as supporters of Lesbian and Gay rights. Gail Wilson has charmed audiences with her fabulous vocal stylings, and she has devoted endless energy and time as a past Co-Chair of the AIDS Emergency Fund and endless fundraisers. Jose Sarria, Empress I of San Francisco, the Widow Norton, was fighting for Gay rights as a performer at the infamous Black Cat in San Francisco long before Stonewall was designated the beginning of the Gay rights movement. I am pleased to have worked with both of them in the past and am very grateful for their presence tonight.""
First onstage for this Pride Concert were Gail, Jose and LGCSF singing "You're the Top". We were followed by VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble, then came our own Menage, and the Winds of Freedom blew us away as they closed the first act. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus were on to kick off the second half and they were followed by our special guests, The Rhythm Method, a talented quartet of women from Denver who had wowed us with their performance at GALA Festival the previous July. Then LGCSF were on with their set and one of the pieces we sang was written for us by John-Michael Albert called "Survivors". The concert came to a grand finale as all the performers joined onstage to sing "We Shall Be Free" by Garth Brooks and Stephanie Davis. Once again this was another wonderful night of singing with our talented Bay Area friends and neighbors and our visitors from Colorado.
On Friday, June 17, 1994, was the 16th Annual Pride Concert at the Center for the Arts Theatre at Yerba Buena Gardens. In his welcome, Pat Parr wrote, in part, "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco is proud to present this evening of music in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Stonewall. It is appropriate that the three oldest self-identified lesbian and/or gay musical organizations in the U.S. have combined with one of the newer (four years old) organizations to bring you this concert of music reflecting the diversity, solidarity, and strength of our community. We are also proud to bring to our San Francisco audience for the first a chorus of mixed voices from the GALA network - the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus". The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band presented pre-concert entertainment in the Howard St. Courtyard of Yerba Buena Gardens.
The concert began with LGCSF and Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus onstage singing songs of protest and praise from South Africa. Then we left the stage to Seattle as they performed excerpts from their most recent concert "Boys and Girls with Stories". They were followed by SFGMC who closed out the first half. We came back for the second half with our set in which we sang a song composed by a member of the chorus, Rick Weaver, called "Portrait of Me" with its message "our portraits hang in every hall, every shape, color and size . . ." reflecting the universality of lesbians and gay men within all segments of society. The concert ended with the combined choruses performing "Circle of Love" which was written by Rick Weaver and Pat Parr especially for this 16th Pride Concert to unite the approximately 300 voices of the three choruses performing on this night. Needless to say we all had a great time as we rehearsed together with and spent time this weekend with these beautiful and talented singers. This program was put together by Leslie Steere.
On Friday, June 16, 1995, was the 17th Annual Pride Concert and we were back at the Herbst Theatre. Pat Parr put this program together and wrote, in part, "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco is proud to present our 15th Anniversary Season. As the oldest continually singing, lesbian and gay chorus in the country, we celebrate the life, energy, and strength of our community in all our endeavors: our concerts, fundraisers, outreach programs, and performances at many and various San Francisco events. In 1994 we were honored to be the first lesbian and/or gay-identified group ever to receive the prestigious Arts Excellence Award from the Business Arts Council of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce."
We had as our special guests for this concert the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington, D.C., marking the second Pride Concert where we had choruses joining us from outside California. We joined them onstage to open the concert with "We Shall Be Heard" and then we left the stage for Washington to sing their set. They were followed by SFGMC who performed selections from their summer extravaganza "KGAY FM: Sounds of the Sixties" with their special guest star Florence Henderson. Following the San Francisco Winds of Freedom were on with their spectacular sound. Then LGCSF followed with our set and then Washington joined us to sing "Behold the Hills of Tomorrow" by Stephen Sondheim and then came the finale with SFGMC joining all of us with the band to perform "Words Like Freedom" by Langston Hughes. Once again this was another wonderful and beautiful of music, laughs, friendships begun and the chance to hang out with our siblings from Washington in rehearsals and performance. There really has been nothing quite like a Pride Concert where the musicians involved come together for this one night, this one moment in time.
I hope you are enjoying this series of History Corners about our Pride Concerts, the program art and a bit of what happened during the concerts. Please let me know what you think. See you all next week here and please check out all the virtual holiday concerts of our sibling choruses this month.
In love, harmony and peace, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers on this last Sunday of November, 2020. I hope you are all safe and sane and healthy and hope you were able to celebrate Thanksgiving virtually with friends and family. Phil and I had a quiet one here in Alameda and shared a dinner of ham with a bourbon, cherry and pomegranate glaze, mashed sweet potatoes with Grand Marnier, a glass of Pinot Grigio and strawberry rhubarb pie.
This week for you I am continuing my look back at the Pride Concert program and poster art. The four program covers here are from 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. These four concerts were produced by LGCSF and sponsored in part by PCW Communications, Inc. and the Galleon Bar & Restaurant.
On Friday, June 24, 1988, was the 10th Annual Gay Musical Celebration, A Decade of Pride. In the Welcome our Business Manager, Linda K. Rohde, wrote, in part, "Tonight, on behalf of the members, staff and advisory board of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, I welcome you to the continuation of that tradition - THE ANNUAL GAY MUSICAL CELEBRATION - A DECADE OF PRIDE. Some of the faces have changed, both in the audience and within the ranks of the performers, but the warmth and enthusiasm of that first concert still prevails, giving us that comfortable feeling of 'returning home' after a year-long journey."
In the list of Production Staff for Art Design was by Jack Klaus. I was listed as the "Right Hand Man" and Judy Tauber, a soprano, was listed as "Right Hand Woman".
At this time we were at 48 strong voices almost equal in all four sections. In this concert LGCSF opened and closed the show. Our guests included the San Francisco ARCAIDS Theatre, the Chamber Singers of SFGMC, Menage, our jazz octet. After intermission the SFGMC were on, then Fiddlestix, our country-western quartet, then Jennifer Berezan, a singer/songwriter/guitarist whose first album "In the Eye of the Storm" was due that summer. Then as I said we were on to close the concert.
On Friday, June 23, 1989, was the 11th Annual Gay Musical Celebration which was A GALA Chorus Preview and held at Mission High School. LGCSF was at 54 strong. In this concert were the eight Bay Area choruses who would be participating in the GALA Choruses Festival in Seattle the following July. There were choruses from Sacramento and Santa Cruz who were making their San Francisco debut. This was a wonderful night of music as we shared the stage with these amazing choruses and heard some of the inspiring music we would be performing and singing in Seattle.
First onstage was the Golden Gate Men's Chorus, then the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus of San Jose, and then the Sacramento Women's Chorus. Next was the Men's Chorus Commission conducted by Gregg Tallman followed by SFGMC. Next came the Women's Chorus Commission conducted by Sonni Zambino. After the intermission was the Mixed Chorus Commission conducted by Pat Parr and followed by LGCSF. Next was the Santa Cruz Men's Chorus, then VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble, the Sacramento Men's Chorus and the concert with all of the choruses combining to sing our own Jesse Kane's wonderful song, "Hand in Hand".
On Friday, June 22, 1990 was the 12th Annual Gay Musical Celebration - "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus Turns 10". This concert was sponsored in part by Grants for the Arts. The program was put together by Marsha Seeley and our publicist Jackie Hicks. The design of the ten candles were carried over to all the program covers for this season. Yes this concert marked the conclusion of the Tenth Anniversary season of LGCSF. It was our great pleasure to reach out to thank the individuals and groups that were instrumental in our creation in January, 1980. Through the vision of Jon Sims and the support of SFGMC, our founding director, Robin Kay, accepted the challenge to create a "mixed" chorus. There were 60 men and 7 women who met at the first rehearsal.
LGCSF opened the concert opened the concert followed by the San Francisco Winds of Freedom. Then Vocal Minority, formerly a small pop group of LGCSF, but then on their own, performed. They were followed by the then current small groups, Menage, Naugahyde and the Dinettes and Menage. After the intermission the SFGMC were onstage. Then LGCSF and alumni from the first ten years sang together - "I'd Rather Sing Soprano", "Somewhere", which had been our signature song, "I Sing the Body Electric" and "Hand in Hand". These were conducted by Robin Kay. This was followed by the big finale with all the performers onstage singing "Not a Day Goes By/If We Only Have Love". This was a wonderful night of music and hanging out with alumni of LGCSF and sharing our music with our wonderful audience.
On Friday, June 28, 1991, was the 13th Annual Pride Concert - "The Musical Event of the San Francisco Pride Celebration!" The publicist in the program is listed as Carol Northrup so I believe she created the cover for this program. Our Master of Ceremonies was Hank Plante, journalist and anchor of KPIX Channel 5 news. This concert was dedicated to Robin Kay, Founding Director of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco. As Pat Parr wrote in the Welcome "As producers of this concert it has been the goal of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus to include representation by different performing groups from the Lesbian/Gay community each year. We are very excited about this evening's program. The diversity in membership, styles and sizes of the groups performing is possibly the greatest we've ever put together. From Broadway to Gospel, traditional to contemporary, jazz to songs of protest, comedy to drama, the works presented tonight all have one thing in common - the dedication and hard work from each member of each organization to bring the music to life."
The concert opened with the wonderful Glide Ensemble, who were followed by the Golden Gate Men's Chorus, then Vocal Minority who were followed by VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Ensemble. They were led at this time by our good friend, Melanie DeMore. So our connection with her goes back to 1991 and this concert. After the intermission the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus took the stage and were followed by Menage. Then LGCSF were onstage and the night ended with the Combined Choruses singing "Brothers and Sisters". Once again this was a night of wonderful and inspiring music and performances by all of these talented musicians.
Next week I will continue my look back at the art of our Pride Concert programs and posters. Take care of yourselves. Remember this Tuesday, December 1, is World AIDS Day and #Giving Tuesday. Sending my love to you all.
In love, peace and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers out there. I continue to hope that you all are staying healthy and wearing your masks and washing your hands and staying at least six feet apart when you do go out. I missed you recently since my old Mac died and I ordered a new iMac which arrived last week so I am ready to go. This week I am continuing my series of Pride Concert Program and Poster Art. I have included four photos of the art from 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987.
On June 22, 1984 was the 6th Annual Gay Musical Celebration at the Nourse Auditorium. In these early years the Pride concert was produced by Golden Gate Performing Arts and Remy Martin Cognac. The program cover for this concert was nostalgic. It featured a photo of Clark Gable and Jeanette McDonald in the movie "San Francisco". Also there are photos of San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, an old photo of a cable car and one of the "painted ladies" houses along Alamo Square. I noticed on the back of the program under "Art and Design" the name of Mark Woodworth and Terrific Graphics so I imagine they designed this program. The concert starred SFGMC with special guests S. F. Lesbian/Gay Chorus, the Dick Kramer Gay Men's Chorale and the Barbary Coast Cloggers. In this concert our Artistic Director was Matt O'Grady.
On June 28 and 29, 1985 was the 7th Annual Gay Musical Celebration at Mission High School Auditorium. This particular program was actually a free newspaper and on the front page is a picture of a few members of SFGMC. This was published by Golden Gate Performing Arts and the concert was produced again by GGPA and Remy Martin. The groups who performed on June 28 were Sistah Boom, SFGMC, San Francisco Lesbian Chorus, Dick Kramer Gay Men's Chorale, the Barbary Coast Cloggers, Men About Town, San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Liedermann Chorus of San Jose.
The groups performing on June 29 were SFGMC, San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Chorus, Temescal Gay Men's Chorus, Tap Troupe/Vocal Minority, Men About Town, City Swing, and the Redwood Empire Glee Club of Santa Rosa. This was quite a weekend to hear from many musical organizations which is what these Pride concerts were set up to be. In this concert our Interim AD was Beth Sanders who lived in Stockton and commuted every week to lead us in rehearsals and concerts.
On June 27 and 28, 1986 was the 8th Annual Gay Musical Celebration subtitled "A Little Guts & Lots of Glitter". This was held at the First Congregational church and was produced again by SFGMC and Remy Martin Cognac. I am not sure who designed the program book but it included lots of advertisements which I am sure paid for the programs. The performers on June 27 were the San Francisco Lesbian Chorus, Barbary Coast Cloggers, Men About Town, San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band, LGCSF, the Society of Gay and Lesbian Composers, and SFGMC. Our AD for this concert was Rodger Pettyjohn so yes we went through changes during these three years and we kept on singing.
The performers on June 28 were Liedermann Gay Men's Chorus of San Jose, Foggy City Dancers, a presentation honoring Remy Martin, Men About Town, City Swing and Vocal Minority, and SFGMC. Again over these two nights our audiences were entertained by the talented musical organizations of the Bay Area.
On June 26, 1987 was the 9th Annual Gay Musical Celebration held at First Congregational Church. This was the first Pride concert that LGCSF produced. This was our first Pride concert with our new AD, Pat Parr. In the welcome in the program our Business Manager, Mary Ann DePietro wrote, in part, "Each one of us here tonight, audience and performers alike, understands the power behind self expression. Our voices and instruments blending in harmony create an invisible language of universal perfection and truth." The performers in this concert were Dick Kramer Gay Men's Chorale, Menage which was our jazz and pop octet, the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band, SFGMC, their Chamber Singers and Men About Town, Vocal Minority and LGCSF closed out the night. Among the ads and patrons in the program were greetings from many City politicians, Sheriff Mike Hennessey, City Attorney Louise Renne, Hon. John Molinari, Assemblyman Art Agnos, and Hon. Willie L. Brown, Jr. There was also a review of the concert in the Advocate magazine.
Next week I will continue this journey through LGCSF Pride Concert program and poster art. Take care of yourself and those around you as we go through the rest of this year.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all my faithful readers and hopefully to any new readers. I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy and sane as we all wind down to Election Day a week from Tuesday. This week I thought I would get back to writing about the art of the Pride concert posters and programs starting with the first one from 1979.
Please see the first of four photos I included. This was called "A Gay Musical Celebration at Grace Cathedral" and was held on June 22, 1979. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band along with the Great Organ of Grace Cathedral were the performers who shared their music and began a tradition of annual Pride concerts that continued until 2016. As you see on the poster tickets were $5 through Bass ticket outlets. I really like the script that was used for this poster.
The second one I want to share with you is the cover of "A Gay Musical Celebration at Davies Symphony Hall" which was held on June 26, 1981. The performers who shared their music this night were the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Men's Community Chorus, which is what we were called in those early days. One of the songs we sang that night was to become our signature for the following years, "Somewhere" from "West Side Story".
The third photo I want to share with you is the cover of "The Fourth Annual Gay Musical Celebration" which was held at the Civic Auditorium, now known as the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium across from City Hall. This concert was significant because it was the first time, I believe, that an American Sign Language interpreter, Elise Webster, was onstage with all of us. This evening of music presented the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching and Twirling Corps who opened the festivities with "Coronation March" by John Williams. Next the two choruses, as above, were on together. Then each chorus had their own times in the spotlight. There was a special appearance by the San Francisco Tap Troupe. The SFGMC were joined by the Bay Area Women's Quartet performing the "Coronation Scene" from "Boris Godunov" by M. Musorgski. Next were the two choruses again with the Tap Troupe and the 1982 Gay Olympics Color Guard performing a "San Francisco Medley". The grand finale for this glorious night of music was "California Here I Come" and we invited the audience to sing along with us.
The fourth photo I have is an ad promoting the "Fifth Anniversary of the Gay Musical Celebration" which took place on June 24, 1983 at the Warfield Theatre. There were two performances that night at 7:00 and 10:00 pm with San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Chorus and Friends. Unfortunately I do not know who the "Friends" were because I do not have a program for this event. If any alumni out there have this program or remember any of what we performed please let me know.
That is it for this week and I will be sharing more of our beautiful Pride poster and program art with you. Take care of yourselves and see you next week.
And don't forget to vote.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
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