Love Bites and So Did the 80s, Mission Cultural Center, February 10 & 11, 2012.
Hello my chorus family. If you will indulge me I would like to share a bit more of our history aside from our shows. As I was trying to get to sleep a couple of nights ago I was wondering what more I can put in this history blog. We were having dinner with a friend on Lakeshore in Oakland recently and I remarked that the chorus had sung in the nearby Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church as guests of Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus several times during Oakland Pride. That got me to thinking about all of the venues too numerous to name that have welcomed us to put on our concerts. We have sung in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Los Altos, Modesto, and at GALA Festivals in Seattle, Denver (3 times), San Jose, Tampa, Montreal, and Miami. I have wonderful memories of all of these. And now Love Bites.
Once again we were back at the Mission Cultural Center for our 9th annual anti-Valenine's Day cabaret. This was our way of keeping that sappy, lovey-dovey, schmaltzy Hallmark holiday in check. How do you remember the 80s? It was a decade of big hair and big shoulders, synthesizers, Sony walkmans and early CD players. For this show we had our wonderful choreographer Michael Mohammed and guest soloist, Katya Smirnoff-Skyy.
The show began with an 80s Dance Party Medley which included "Flashdance," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," "I Love Rock n' Roll," "Total Eclipse of the Heart." "Let's Hear It For the Boy," (with new lyrics) "Material Girl," (one of our tenors Alvin Thomas rocked this one) and "Footloose." Next was "If I Had a Hammer" with lyrics deranged by Yolanda DeByle. Tom McElroy next sang "I Think We're Alone Now" followed by Scott Turco singing "Only in My Dreams." Next Janice Placido performed "Heaven is a Place on Earth" and next Katya sang Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Next up Daniel Lyons sang another Cyndi song "Time After Time" and this was followed by Wendy Tobias singing ABBA's "Winner Takes It All." Certainly no 80s show would be complete with an ABBA song. Next was a duet with Jade Miller and Andrew Field singing "All Out of Love." Michael Mohammed was next with Tina's "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and the chorus backed up Dale Danley singing "Love Bites" and we ended the first act with a Bon Jovi tribute singing "Livin' on a Prayer" and "You Give Love a Bad Name."
One thing I have to put in before getting to Act 2. This was when Whitney Houston had died and we had a big heart onstage with our message of love for her.
We began Act 2 with the chorus singing a medley of TV show theme songs. This was lots of fun for us. First was "Everywhere You Look" from "Full House." Some of the chorus produced a video of this song with shots of the house from Alamo Square Park. Next was "Brand New Life" from "Who's the Boss," then "As Long As We Got Each Other" from "Growing Pains." We ended the medley with "Thank You for Being a Friend" from "The Golden Girls" and this also included a video with four of us as Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia - what a hoot.
Next came a Family Feud skit with Katya Smirnoff-Skyy as hostess. We invited members of the audience to participate in this game show skit and this was lots of fun and there were prizes.
Mary Cantrell then sang "Every Breath You Take" and she rocked it and this was by Paul Michael Alves putting his take on "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" by Eurhythmics. And then Jim Oerther performed with a striptease the song "Tainted Love" and was it ever tainted. This was followed by Howard Miller singing what we called "The Hello Medley" featuring songs with "hello" in their title. Next came Katya leading us in "True Colors" and this featured a video of pictures of our chorus angels as we remembered them and sang "you are beautiful like a rainbow."
The chorus ended the show a tribute to Michael Jackson where we sang and danced to these songs:
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Bad," "Beat It," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and of course "Thriller" with Jason LeBrun as soloist. We all had a blast putting this show together through lots of hard work at rehearsals and then onstage in front of a very appreciative audience.
Next week will be all about Rainbows and Leprechauns: A St. Patty's Day Cabaret.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
A Shameless Show of Holiday Shite, Martuni's Bar, December 18 & 19. This year's holiday cabaret was a little bit different from the shows under the "Christmas Crap-Array" banner. Billy Sauerland and the Artistic Advisory committee came up with this new iteration of this for the chorus. We had a guest accompanist, Brandon Adams tickling the ivories for us. The chorus and soloists sang mostly basic, traditional holiday songs with a few different and funny ones.
The chorus opened with two songs, "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Next a trio composed of Eve Benton, Michael McClure and Billy sang "Carol of the Bells." Next Andrew Fields and Michael McClure sang "What's This" from "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Then Wendy Tobias sang "A Marshmallow World." Next Mary Cantrell sang "What is Christmas?" The next song was "The Christmas Song" by Mel Torme and sung beautifully by Alyssa Stone and Billy. Then came "Coventry Carol" sung by Eve Benton and Michael McClure.
The next three songs were of the silly or fun variety starting with "O Little Town of Hackensack" by P. D. Q. Bach - one of our favorites - better known as Peter Schickele. This was performed by Kim Hargreaves, Jason LeBrun, Daniel Lyons, Linda Rodriguey and Richard Turtletaub. Next was "Atheists Don't Have No Songs" as recorded by Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers and sung by Joan Goldman and Andrew Field. Next Howard Miller gave a moving rendition of "Chinese Food on Christmas." What else would a good Jewish boy sing about?
And then the chorus ended the show with "Bring the Torch Jeanette, Isabella." Then came the sing-a-longs of familiar holiday songs and some had very naughty lyrics - "The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen" and "Walkin' Round in Women's Underwear." It was a fun show and our audience at Martuni's, especially after having a few martinis, loved us and sang along with gusto.
And that was the year of 2011 - Billy Sauerland's first with us. He was already thinking about 2012, which was a GALA Festival year, and what we would be performing for our audiences.
Next week will be all about Love Bites and so did the 80's.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
BrokeBACH Mountain, Mission Cultural Center, November 18 & 19. This concert came about, in part, following conversations between Billy and Tim Seelig, the director of SFGMC in regard to "Oedipus Tex" which was Act II of this concert. Tim had sung the role of Oedipus Tex in the past and he wanted to reprise this role with us. So here we go.
One matter I forgot to include in the last entry was that Paul McCurdy joined us as our Assistant Music Director and Accompanist. He really liked playing all of the Bach music we included in this concert.
Act I of the concert was designed like a Bach cantata, full of chorales, chorus numbers, and solos (but includes a line dance). Jim Oerther was the soloist in our opening Bach "Chorale", then came "Bourree." Then we sang two pieces by Jacques Offenbach, "Can-Can" and "Barcarolle." Next we sang and danced songs from the soundtrack of the movie "Brokeback Mountain." They were "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" with Joan Goldman as soloist. Then came the line dance to "I Will Never Let You Go." Next was "The Maker Makes" with Andrew Field as soloist and the fourth piece was "The Wings." We also performed "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and "Stand By Your Man." Paul McCurdy got to show off his chops by playing "Solfeggietto" by C. P. E. Bach. The chorus also sang "Neighbors' Chorus" by Offenbach.
Act II was our performance of "Oedipus Tex" by P. D. Q. Bach, an opera in one cathartic act. We were all in character we picked and wearing our various cowboy drag as we presented this funny story. Chorus members who are still singing were Dale Danley as Old Gimpy/Gimpy Galoot, Dr. Mark Higgins as the Mayor, Wendy Tobias as Madame Peep and Jim Oerther as L. Armstrong Jones. Joining Paul in our band were Jason LeBrun on flute, Daniel Lyons on Clarinet, Jadine Louie on horn, Sue Leonardi on trumpet, Linda Hitchcock on percussion, and Neil Patel on cello. These musicians were members of the Freedom Band and Jason and Daniel had such fun accompanying us that they joined us to sing. This was a really fun collaboration with all of us and our audiences enjoyed it as much as we did.
Next week will be "A Shameless Show of Holiday Shite."
Cheers, Michael Lucero
33rd Annual Pride Concert, Everett School Auditorium, June 24. This Pride concert was an official "In Pride We Trust" event for Pride of 2011. The concert was promoted as "Five Pioneering Ensembles, One Fabulous Performance." Our chorus co-produced the concert along with the Band and the Symphony. In the program welcome it says "This concert is a collaboration that comes together every year thanks to the work of a diverse and dedicated group. Huge thanks to this year's teams for making it happen." The emcee for the concert was the fabulous Trauma Flintstone aka Joe Wicht who is also one of our fabulous Board members. Our special guest was Commander Zoe Dunning, who received the Annual Pride Concert Recognition Award. She was an invited guest at President Barack Obama's signing of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell in December of 2010.
The five pioneering ensembles who performed in this Pride Concert were the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony conducted by Daniel Canosa, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band conducted by Jadine Louie, Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco conducted by William Sauerland, the Golden Gate Men's Chorus conducted by Joseph Piazza and San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus conducted by Dr. Timothy Seelig. What a wonderful and fabulous group of musicians from our fair city who all came together to perform and share our music for our Pride audience.
All singers and the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony opened the concert with the "Star Spangled Banner" and then the Symphony played "The Miller's Dance" by Manuel de Falla and "Danzon No. 2" by Arturo Marquez. Then the Golden Gate Men's Chorus sang "Day In Day Out" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Freddie Mercury. Then the SFGMC Ambassadors sang "San Francisco" - what else? - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - naturally - and "She's Got You" featuring Phillip Whitely singing the solo.
Act II began with our chorus singing "Something's Coming/Tonight" from "West Side Story", "You Are The New Day" which was a new song for us brought in by Billy, "Let' Do It" by the fabulously gay Cole Porter, and the world premiere of "If Gays Ruled the Country" by our own June Bonacich. If only that was the case now.
Next the SFL/G Freedom Band played "Yankee Doodle" and "Shenandoah."
Next our chorus and SFGMC Ambassadors and the Band performed "Born This Way" by the fabulous and wonderful Lady Gaga. For the big finale all the choral groups and the Band performed "A Patriotic Salute" by George M. Cohan and "America, the Beautiful" by Samuel A. Ward with lyrics by Katherine Lee Bates. This was a great start to the Pride weekend and again it was a great opportunity to connect with the other singers and musicians and to share our music with our fabulous audience.
Next week I will be writing about "Brokebach Mountain." Please give me any and all feedback about my blog entries for the History Corner.
Cheers, Michael Lucero, your fabulous chorus historian.
Love Bites Off Broadway, February 11 & 12, Mission Cultural Center. This show was our 8th annual anti-Valentine's Day cabaret and the first one with our new Artistic Director, Billy Sauerland. He was young and full of energy and had come from a background of singing with Chanticleer and singing in operas as a child soprano. After a search for this new director the previous fall, Billy was thrust into getting the chorus and himself ready for Love Bites. At the first Artistic Advisory Committee meeting with Billy to talk about this, his first question was "what is Love Bites?" We filled him in on the history of this cabaret that Stephanie and committee came up with. Then came the search for full chorus numbers to fit the Broadway theme. These were "My Funny Valentine" from "Babes in Arms", "What I Did for Love" from "A Chorus Line" and we closed with "One More Day" from "Les Miserables" with alternative lyrics by Howard Miller and naughty lyrics by Billy. Then came the process of Billy working with the various soloists, duets, and small groups. As you can see in the photos of Act I and Act II, Andrew Field sang "Down with Love", then the sopranos and altos sang "Nothin' Like a Dame", John Gullotto sang "This Nearly Was Mine", Lisa Vogt and Molly Aplet sang sang "Loneliness of Evening" and the tenors and basses sang "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair." One of the highlights of Act I was Deb Cohler and Linda Rodriguey singing "Bosom Buddies."
Act II began with Wendy Tobias singing "In Short" from "Edges" which was written by our new favorite composers from earlier this year, Pasek & Paul. Then a sextet sang "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago" which the chorus had sung in a previous Love Bites and which included some great choreography by Wendy Tobias. Joan Goldman sang one of my favorites, "Send in the Clowns." Tenor Howard Miller then sang "Could I Leave You?" from "Follies" and really gave it his all. Elisa Shore & Wendy sang "Take Me or Leave Me" from "Rent." Then Jim Oerther sang "Show Off" from "The Drowsy Chaperone." Then there was medley of three songs from three of Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows. As mentioned above we ended with "One More Day." This was a fun show for us and our audiences and I feel was a good way for us to welcome Billy.
Billy wrote in the program in part "Welcome to the 8th annual Love Bites cabaret of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco! It is my delight to have recently taken over as Artistic Director of this enthusiastic and engaging ensemble. Not only is this my inaugural Love Bites concert, but this is also the first time the LGCSF has had the pleasure of singing in the wonderful Mission Cultural Center. Love Bites 2011 focuses on the bitter and unrequited love songs of the musical theater canon. I hope these songs of Broadway will take you on an anit-Valentine's journey that is silly, sassy and sublime." The chorus at this point was at 27 strong and Billy told us that he would like to grow the chorus to 40 singers. Just to let you know, the chorus really enjoyed performing at the Mission Cultural Center. There were two small and cozy dressing rooms and a generous for us backstage space. The staff there were all very welcoming.
From now on I will be writing about one show per week to extend the life of the History Corner so let me know what you all think of this. I will be able to expand on what I write about and I hope you enjoy this new format.
Next week will be about Pride 2011.
First I would like to share some thoughts about Stephanie Lynne Smith, our artistic director from 2002 to 2010. Some of her accomplishments with us was to have living gay composers write music for us. The results of this were "Woven Together" by Richard Link, who also sang with us for a couple of years. We also performed "Group Therapy", a wacky musical look at group therapy composed by our own June Bonacich. We also took this on the road to Chicago for the Gay Games Chicago cultural week. The third one was "Halloween in the Castro - a Horror Opera", a look at the history of this event composed by Jack Curtis Dubowsky, who has also given us many other songs. Stephanie also went on to become artistic director of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus. In 2013 she and her wife, Jen Brown, moved to Portland. She is now the Assistant Artistic Director and Pianist for Confluence: Willamette Valley LGBT Chorus. I just looked at their website and they have a full season of music coming up. Stephanie is also the presenter of "Miss Smith Presents", where she works with performers to help and encourage them to work on and sharpen their skills for public performance.
I was reading Stephanie's greeting in the program for the 32nd Annual Pride Concert which celebrated our 30th anniversary. She wrote in part "we did some spring cleaning and I came across a box of plaques, awards and old programs. The present (2010) chorus of twenty singers had once been a chorus of 150 singers and somebody named Pat Parr was all over a bunch of awards and newspaper clippings. The Cable Car Award? The Academy of Friends? What group is this? My eyes were opened, not only to the history of the group, but to endless possibilities. As I step down from this position (AD), I hold great hope the next somebody will recognize the gem they are holding." I love you Stephanie.
The Music of Dead White Men, First Congregational Church of SF, October 22 and 23. This concert marked the debut of guest conductor Cole Thomason-Redus. The music we sang in this concert ranged from Gregorian chant to music by Brahms, Samuel Barber, George Bizet's "Carmen", Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata", to songs by Jonathan Larson, Freddie Mercury and Arthur Sullivan. It was a challenge to learn all these different styles and genres of music but with Cole's guidance we all learned this wonderful music.
The 4th Annual Christmas Crap-Array, EXIT Theatre on Eddy, December 16, 17 and 18. This was the next edition of our irreverent holiday program that Miss Smith and the artistic advisory committee first cooked up in their fevered brains in 2007. Lots of fun for us and for our audience.
The 21st Annual Home for the Holidays - A Soulful Celebration, Castro Theatre, December 16 and 24. This was the latest edition of SFGMC's musical gift to the community which has become one of the City's most anticipated events to attend on Christmas. There were three shows this year at 5, 7 and 9 pm. We sang at the 9 pm show and performed "Santa Baby", "White Christmas", and "Celebrate Me Home." This is always a wonderful night of making music and to be with SFGMC and to share this music with the audience which always makes this a sold-out evening. This was a good way for us to cap off the year and looking forward to welcoming our next artistic director.
Love Bites and All That Jazz - The Women’s Building, Feb. 5, 6, 12 and 13. This was the 7th Annual Love Bites and this particular one was an Adults Only show. How shocking! For this show we were 30 strong. For you new people, Love Bites was conceived of as an anti-Valentine’s Day show - no mushy love songs but instead songs of love gone wrong, and all that entails. Act 1 opened with “Ain’t Misbehaving" sung by the whole chorus. The various solos and small group numbers were all very hilarious and some were a bit naughty. There was “The Snake”, "Wake-Up Call”, “Don’t Smoke in Bed” and “Mean to Me.” You get the idea. The chorus closed Act I with “In the Mood.” In Act II our lovely Yolanda DeByle deranged the song “I Only Have Eyes for You” and was sung by Yolanda, John Gullotto, Rodney Martins and Remy Timbrook. We ended the show with “All That Jazz” of course. A fun show for us and our audience.
The Roast of Stephanie Lynne Smith - Rainbow Room at LGBT Center, May 21. This was our chance to roast Miss Smith, as she was affectionately known. There were many solos for Stephanie’s enjoyment as well as people who told stories about her. One thing I remember is that Stephanie did not like the sound of talking sticks. Of course, several of us had talking sticks and played them just to torment Stephanie. But that is what you do at a roast. Way too much fun for the chorus to do this and we hoped that the audience got some of our jokes and references.
The 32nd Annual Pride Concert - The Sound of Fabulous - Mission High School, June 24 & 25. This Pride concert celebrated the 30th Anniversary of LGCSF. At Friday night’s concert State Senator Mark Leno presented the chorus with a 30th Anniversary Proclamation. Our guests for the concert were SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, SFGMC, Golden Gate Men’s Chorus, Voices: Lesbian Choral Ensemble and Cheer SF. This was also Stephanie Lynne Smith’s final concert as our musical director. The songs we sang were “Stacy’s Mom”, “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat”, “Eli, Eli”, “Shenandoah”, “Marybeth” from “Group Therapy” and everyone sang “Never Ever” and “Carry On.” We also premiered a short video highlighting our chorus over the past 30 years. This was one of the best collaborations that our various ensembles had presented at Pride.
Reach Out and Bring Happiness: Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus 10th Anniversary, September 12, First Congregational Church, Alameda, CA. We were the guests of OEBGMC as they celebrated their Tenth Anniversary. Together we sang "How Can I Keep From Singing" to open the concert and "The Awakening" and "What a Wonderful World" which was arranged by Thaddeus Pinkston to end the concert. On our own we sang the whole of "Lambscapes" and "I Do" by Eric Lane Barnes and in the second half we did scenes from "Halloween in the Castro" as a way to promote it. This was another wonderful collaboration between our chorus and OEBGMC.
Halloween in the Castro - A Horror Opera, October 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, MCC. This was a major undertaking for the chorus to put on a show in the opera tradition with many solos and duets and a chorus as the townspeople of the Castro. It was also a big commitment from the chorus to put on five performances. This was based on the history of Halloween in the Castro as it changed over the years from a neighborhood gathering with many people of costume to show off to the huge crowds of later years and violence against gays and lesbians who were there just to have a good time. Our Dr. Mark played Sister Chiquita Piccata Mundi, one of the central figures of the opera who tells tales of Halloweens past when the queer nuns turned the night into a highly successful annual fundraiser. But by the second show Mark had developed a bad case of laryngitis but in the tradition of the theatre the show must go on and he did his best. We all came together after many weeks of rehearsal and put on a memorable show for our audiences. In a quote from a review by Sister Dana Van Iquity, "Composer and librettist Jack Curtis Dubowsky has created a monster of a hit show featuring the LGCSF and some spectacularly spooky soloists conducted by Stephanie Lynne Smith. The changing scenery, props, and costumes are fully operatic." By doing this show, the chorus grew in many ways artistically and in our coming together to give our all for the love of the music.
3rd Annual Christmas Crap-Array, December 17, 18 and 19, EXIT Theatre on Eddy. Unfortunately I do not have a program for this show but again Miss Smith led her elves through a night of naughty holiday songs and some great choral singing as well. That is it for 2009 and next will be the first half of 2010. I do hope you all are enjoying this blog.
Hello all, I am back from my trip to Munich and Berlin and ready to get back to our history. One thing I want to mention that in September of 2008 we were grateful to have a new Assistant Artistic Director and Pianist in the person of Daniel Hooper. Now onto 2009.
Love Bites Pop Rocks, February 6, 7 and 13, The Women's Building. We were 25 strong for these shows. The theme of this Love Bites was LGCSF sings Top 40 hits of bitterness and betrayal. The show on Feb. 13 was a special Adults Only show. We opened with "Love Stinks" and the solos, duets and trios sang "Before He Cheats" "Mr. Valentine's Dead", "The More You Ignore Me," and ended the first half with a song by Eric Lane Barnes called "I Do," which was our ode to gay marriage. The big finale for these shows was Desperately Seeking Love Bites: A Madonna Retrospective which was created by Carolyn Eidson and Stephanie better known as Fifi and Fannie. The songs in this medley were "Love Don't Live Here Anymore," "Live to Tell," "Express Yourself" and "Vogue." Carolyn was an excellent Madonna and the chorus wore cone breasts and vogued. We had lots of fun with this.
LGCSF Sings - Because We Can!, April 3 and 4, Theatre Rhinoceros. This was a concert of the best of our season with some surprises. This was another chance for our soloists, duets and trios to shine along with several full chorus songs. Some of the highlights were two songs from "Wicked," "Popular" and "What is This Feeling?" The first half ended with the chorus singing "Bonse Aba," "Harriet Tubman," and "Such a Nice Brisket" by Jack Curtis Dubowsky. The second half featured several songs by Eric Lane Barnes. They were "Caffeine Overload Polka," "Bittersweet Tango," "Lambscapes: Historical Settings of Mary and Her Lamb," and we finished with "More I Cannot Wish You" with Remy Timbrook soloing. It was good to revisit these songs.
2009 Pride Concert: Let's Get Loud!, June 25 and 26, First Unitarian Church. LGCSF and the Freedom Band were co-hosts for this Pride concert. Our special guests were SFGMC and two of their small ensembles, The Lollipop Guild and Vocal Minority. This was a celebration of SFGMC on their 30 years of singing and sharing their music with the world. It was also the 30th anniversary of The Lollipop Guild making it the longest running small ensemble in GALA Choruses. The concert opened with the Freedom Band playing two songs. Next up was Vocal Minority and then SFGMC and the first half ended with two songs featuring all three ensembles, "Love Has Always Been Our Song," and "The Promise of Living." The second half started with The Lollipop Guild, then more music from the Freedom Band and then we did our set - "Bonse Aba," "Parade," "I Do," and "More I Cannot Wish You." The concert ended with all of us performing "I Am What I Am." This was another great two nights of shared music and being with our fellow musicians for this Pride concert.
First I have an addendum fun fact to last week's Corner - we were guests of SFGMC on December 24 at the Castro Theatre for Home for the Holidays. One of the songs we sang was "Magic Snow" by Jack C. Dubowsky. Afterwards, there was quite a controversy and complaints from members of SFGMC who were in recovery who were upset at "Magic Snow", a song about how Santa gets through Christmas Eve. Our response was simple: Santa is a fictional character and therefore not real. We were not invited back for the next one. Now to 2008.
Love Bites: My Dog Bites and My Pickup Truck Won't Start, February 7-9 and 14-16, EXIT on Taylor. This was our 5th annual Love Bites show and we were in a new venue and yes we did two weekends. We were 30 strong at the start of the year and we began the show with another Jack C. Dubowsky tune "Your New Stupid Boyfriend." And it went on from there as we sang various deranged country songs about love gone wrong. One of the duets by Ann Shapira and Shelley Kutilek sang the Dixie Chicks song "Goodbye Earl." We reprised "Stomp on My Heart" from "Group Therapy." We ended with a choreographed "Your Momma Don't Dance." We had lots of fun and so did our audiences.
LGCSF Does It Again!, April 11 & 12, Theatre Rhinoceros. This was a fundraiser to help get the chorus to Miami for the next GALA Festival. The music in this show was a greatest hits type show of the best music we have sung under Stephanie's direction. We sang "Muni Rider", then another song from "Group Therapy" called "Transference Tango," then we reprised a couple of songs from the Christmas Crap-Array, "Magic Snow" and "Surabaya Santa," and then one of our favorites "Stacy's Mom" featuring Laura Liscar. The second half was our version of "Trial by Jury" by Gilbert & Sullivan. It was fun to sing and dance these songs again.
We sang an outreach performance at a benefit for the Cindy Kolbs AIDS Fund and the Gay/Straight Alliance at San Francisco State University on April 17.
2008 Pride Concert: Our Message is Music, June 26 & 27, First Unitarian Church. This Pride concert was a special one in which we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. Three of the Band's former conductors were there to direct three pieces - Jeffrey Foote, Nancy Corporon and Jadine Louie. With these three organizations together again it was another wonderful time to present our music with the pride we have in ourselves and in our community. The concert ended with a favorite of the Band - "If My Friends Could See Me Now," with changed lyrics that celebrate playing in an all gay band.
GALA Festival 8, July 12-19, Miami. The chorus traveled to Miami to participate in the quadrennial GALA Choruses Festival. This Festival marked the 25th anniversary of GALA Choruses. We were there with 5,000 singers representing 125 choruses and small ensembles from all over the world. Ann Hampton Calloway sang in the Opening Ceremony. This was the first Festival where the youth choruses had their own concert blocks and they were beautiful and inspiring. Our set included two songs from "Group Therapy" - yes the chickens were there - and more of our favorites "Neighbors' Chorus," "Magic Snow," a Chinese folk song "Diu Diu Deng," "Ray's Rockhouse" and a traditional Zambian song "Bonse Aba" that Stephanie had brought to us.
Oakland-East Bay PRIDE Invitational, August 16 & 17, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland. Again we were guests of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus. Also in these concerts were three groups appearing for the first time. They were the Rainbow Women's Chorus, Vocal InFusion and a small ensemble of SFGMC, Vocal Minority. It was good to hear these new voices in these concerts and to make new friends as well.
LGCSF Eats Out: A Classical Concert About Food, October 17 & 18, The Kanbar Center. A concert about food - what were we thinking? Well thanks to Stephanie and our friendly composers Jack Curtis Dubowsky and Eric Lane Barnes and June Bonacich it all worked. Our tenor Ron Masker sang the "Banquet Fugue" by John Rutter, we sang "Potluck" by June, "Such a Nice Brisket by Jack, and we sang four songs by Eric - "Lambscapes V & Vi," "Carmina Ricotta," "Caffeine Overload Polka," and "Bittersweet Tango." Then we sang "If Music Be the Food of Love" and ended with "Libiamo" from La Traviata. This was a tasty treat for us and our audiences.
Christmas Crap-Array II, December, EXIT Theatre. We gathered again to present a cabaret evening of non-traditional and deranged anti-holiday and Christmas music. I do not have a program for this one so I don't remember what we sang except for "Melvin the Elf."
joined the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco in August of 1984, after seeing them sing in the Pride Concert the previous June and their director, Matt O'Grady, announced that if anyone in the audience wanted to join the chorus that auditions would be coming up so he joined. During his time in the chorus he has always sang in the bass section. He has served as Music Librarian, on the Production Committee, the Artistic Advisory Committee, as a bass section leader, as the GALA liaison and currently as chorus historian. He is glad to create this blog for the chorus to get the history out to anyone who looks at our website.