Greetings to all of my faithful readers. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe and wearing your masks, etc. I will be getting my first vaccine tomorrow, March 1, and I am grateful for that. This week I came across some interesting newspaper articles from the Tampa, Florida gay paper "Watermark" that had many items about the GALA V Festival that was held in July, 1996. I have included photos of these in this blog. Among was a photo spread titled Meet the Performers with photos of Chorale Internationale Gai de Paris, Manner Minne, the First Gay Chorus of Berlin, the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington, D.C., MUSE & Cincinnati's Women's Choir, Washington D.C.'s Quintessential: Women Singing A Cappella. This Festival was hosted by Crescendo, the Tampa Bay Womyn's Chorus and the Tampa Bay Gay Men's Chorus. LGCSF performed on Wednesday, July 10, in Concert Block #8 and we closed this concert block following five other choruses, Denver Gay Men's Chorus, Another Octave - Connecticut Women's Chorus, Cincinnati Men's Chorus, Ottawa Men's Chorus, Bread & Roses Feminist Singers.
On another page in Watermark there was a list of the GALA V Schedule of Events. There was an Opening Social on Saturday, July 6, inviting people to join the 5,000 Festival delegates. Next day, Sunday, July 7, the delegates marched in the Tampa Gay Pride Parade. That evening was the Opening Ceremonies and World's Largest Hurricane Party. There was a parade of choruses, the keynote address by Dr. Maya Angelou, and Harvey Fierstein was the Master of Ceremonies. Sunday evening began the week of chorus concerts continuing through Saturday, July 13. There was a Gay & Lesbian Night at Busch Gardens with the Flirtations performing, a Women Celebrating Women Concert and Gala with Dr. Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock. There was the traditional Legacy Award Dinner and the closing Black & White Ball to celebrate the last evening of GALA V. Also in this issue was an article about Holly Near who performed at Festival as she had performed at past Festivals.
Imagine what things were like in 1996 especially in Florida to host this Festival. I read in this paper "As recently as March, protesters from the American Family Association complained that hosting GALA V and its large contingent of foreign festivals was a bad idea."
In the next paragraph there was this, "the week-long festival will showcase world class talent and a virtual "who's who" of gay entertainment." Everything and everyone came together to put on a wonderful week of sharing music, networking with singers from other choruses and just a feeling of belonging. I also found a copy of the Fall 1996 issue of GALAgram which is how GALA Choruses communicated with all the choruses about what was happening. This was way before computers and social media kept us up to date. The headline on the front page says "Festival V Takes Tampa by Storm" with pictures showing this. I included another page of photos from this as well as on the "Out and About" page showcasing what choruses are doing, there is an item about our upcoming concert "Opera: Grand and Not So Grand". And speaking of ads for us, I came across one from SF Live on their Intelligencer page promoting our March, 1996 concert "A Tribute to the Music of Elton John" which we perfomred at the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason.
I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane of the chorus in 1996 and how we relied on the print media to learn about what was happening and how we advertised ourselves to San Francisco. Who knew then how the world would change in terms of how GALA would grow and change, how LGCSF would grow and change and how we continue to go on in this crazy time with our virtual performances. Enjoy the photos that will accompany this blog entry and please let me know what you think of what I am doing. I appreciate any and all comments and criticisms from you. Take care of yourselves, and I will have something more to write about on the history of LGCSF.
In love and harmony, Michael