Greetings to all of my faithful readers out there. I hope you are all well and staying that way by wearing your masks and washing your hands, etc. This time I thought I would write about Mary Cantrell, a long time member of the chorus, who was our wardrobe mistress throughout the Pat Parr years of the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s and beyond. In August, 1992, Mary sent a memorandum to the chorus re General Information re Costume/Drag for Chorus Members. She wrote:
General Costume Requirements: We do such a variety of concerts that the drag will probably change drastically from one to another. However, there are some basic you need to have:
Casual: Those appearances, like the Beer Bust or at Candlestick, etc. require: a chorus T-shirt in one of the rainbow flag colors (red, kelly green, royal blue, purple, orange, bright yellow), blue jeans, tennis shoes.
Formal: This will apply to our classical concert in the fall and for other occasions that Pat may designate: black dress pants (or skirts, if you prefer), black socks, black shoes, white long-sleeved, collared dress shirt (to wear with the rhinestoned black ties we have). This year we have added: black long-sleeved, collared dress shirt. So the drag for all new and old chorus members for the fall 1992 classical concert is: BLACK BOTTOM and BLACK TOP! No turtle necks or charcoal grey (sorta black) will do. As usual, ties will be provided.
At other times, we may go even more formal, which means the dressiest, glitziest, sparkliest outfit (in good taste, of course): long dresses, cocktail length dresses, tuxedos, etc.
Shows: Our spring shows are a whole different thing from either of the above, and there is no way to tell you what we will require until the show is more set. As soon as production for a show is decided, however, you will be given instructions on what you need. The Costume Committee will work with people to get you outfitted for a show, but YOU MUST WORK ON IT TOO AND LET US KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU NEED. Usually, you will need to bring in your costumes for approval by a committee member 6 weeks or so before a show, so handling this is very important to insure a smooth show.
I have a couple of notes about the Leadsheet from August, 1992. At that time our own Yolanda deByle took over as the editor of the Leadsheet. She wrote that she wanted to expand it and provide a space that serves you such as a Letters to the Editor column, a Bulletin Board for people who want to announce parties, things for sale or want to buy, etc. We had a garage sale on August 29 and we were working the Castro Street Fair and an Eagle Beer Bust on October 4 at which we were selling Ben & Jerry's ice cream. We were also singing at Candlestick Park on August 21 for the SF Giants "Strike Out AIDS" benefit. So you can see that fall of 1992 started out on a very busy note. One more thing I noticed in the Calendar for August and September is that, besides our regular Thursday rehearsals, there were sectional rehearsals on Wednesday nights, alternating between S & A and T & B. Also we had social time from 7 to 7:30 before rehearsal with a different section hosting. Why does some of this sound familiar as to what we did before Covid hit.
One last thing - in 1992 our three major concerts were "Five Years of Madness" in May, the 14th Annual Pride Concert in June and "Classics of Nature" in October with a concert in Oakland and a second in San Francisco. Costuming and drag for each of these concerts were different so it was important at that time to have the guidance from Mary Cantrell, as Wardrobe Mistress, and the Costume Committee to help us all look our best for our grateful audiences. After all isn't that why we do what we do in the way we do what we do? I have included three photos, two of them with Mary - one of these with Jim Oerther, Michael Mohammed and Pamela Cook backstage at Theatre Rhino - and a two-fer showing us dressed up.
Take care of yourselves and have a great week. Be on the lookout for virtual concerts and cabarets from our sibling GALA choruses on Youtube throughout the spring.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero