Greetings to all my faithful readers out there in chorus land. I hope you are all doing well and looking forward to getting your vaccinations. Phil and I have both gotten our two shots of the Pfizer vaccine so we are feeling good.
This week I thought I would do something a little different. This is my point of view of 1991 from my participation on the Production Committee (back when we had good working committees) and production of the Spring and Pride concerts. This is from the published minutes of our Production Committee meeting of 4/27/91. Present were Tim O'Bayley, Pat Parr, Terry Stalker, Linda Rohde, Todd King, Stephen Litzenburger, John Young, Chris Decker, Mary Cantrell and me. We talked about the Spring concert "Songstream" in the wrap-up where we reviewed the final budget and learned that the net profit for the concert was $1,280.78. This concert was our classical one featuring the music of American composers with two performances, one in Oakland and the other in San Francisco. Our AD, Pat Parr, reported that overall he thought the concerts went very well, with the exception of poor PR presence and ticket sales in Oakland. Tim O'Bayley, our production coordinator, said that he thought the committee did a great job and the areas that we can improve on are Program Ad Sales, poster coverage both in SF and East Bay, and press relations as there were no reviews. Obviously this was all before we had smartphones, social media, Youtube, Facebook, etc., so we had to get out and pound the pavement to put up posters, and solicit advertising from the community.
Next on the agenda was talking about all the production needs for the upcoming 13th Annual Pride Concert. Pat said his hope is that we fill First Congregational Church. We would be sending letters out to the participating groups on 5/3. They were besides us, Golden Gate Men's Chorus, Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus, Vocal Minority, Menage and Voices. We set the prices for tickets at $10, $15 and $25 for a sponsor ticket. We were in the process of being able to accept credit cards.
Among the tasks we all would be involved in were Facility/Technical - Tim investigated renting Pride flags to decorate the church. Mary volunteered her supply of scarves to decorate as well. We had our own mixer and microphones but may need to rent speaker poles. We will audio record this concert. We have to rent spotlights and contacting Hank Plante from Channel 5 News to be our MC and the possibility of TV coverage. For Publicity we will have an ad in the Parade Program and we will get a 25% discount for performing at the Parade Celebration. We will also get ads to all the gay papers and the SF Chronicle for the Pink Section.
The goal for the Pride concert is a $5,000 profit, with Tim doing graphic design and typesetting for the program. Phil Hernandez was the groups liaison and set designer. Todd King was the party coordinator, Marty Cormier handled tickets and ad sales and Pat took care of ticket printing, sound arrangements, etc. We also had three members who were Chorus Motivators to help involve the chorus with telemarketing, mailing, tickets and poster/flyer coverage. So as you all can see there was a lot going behind the scenes to put on this important concert for Pride.
One last thing is that in the Pride Parade and Celebration Program on the pages listing the Celebration Performers and Speakers the Chorus and Menage both performed in the 3:00 pm block on the City Hall Stage. Our own Lisa Gray performed in the leather segment on the Specialty Stage. Also I noticed on the Board of Directors of Parade 91 that our own Joan Zawaski is listed as Fiscal Coordinator. There was also a very interesting article in the Pride program entitled "In Defense of Drags (and Other 'Undesirables')" by Dennis McMillan aka Sister Dana Van Equity of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In part he writes "I fear it's time again for image-conscious homosexuals to write their annual letters, begging the drag queens to not embarrass the community by disgracing the parade. Now, we who dress wildly do not censure those who prefer to apper less flaming, so why shouldn't we expect the same respect for our choice of dress code?" He goes on to say that it was the drag queens in the Stonewall bar who fought back against the police in June 1969 and without their actions we might not be having this parade. It is always good to have a look at our wider history so we know where we came from and to take up the resolve to always move forward. There are three photos of these items for you to see. As I continue through the archives I never know what I will come across until I sit down and read through what is there. Stay tuned for next time as I share more of our history both Chorus and beyond.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero