Greetings to all of my faithful readers. I hope you are all finding ways to stay sane and healthy in these crazy changing times. My favorite way to stay sane is to listen to all of the wonderful choral music from GALA Choruses on their YouTube channel so please check this out for yourselves. I promise you will find something to cheer you up and lift your spirits.
Since I have written about all of our past Artistic Directors in past editions, this week I decided to write about our current AD, Michael Reilly. In mid-2017, after our then AD, William Sauerland, stepped down, there was a search on for a new AD. We picked Michael. He and his husband, Robert Haerr, had both sung in the Denver Gay Men's Chorus. They currently live in Vallejo and Michael serves on the music faculty of Solano Community College (Chorus, Voice, and Theory) as well as the Director of Music at Community Presbyterian Church and Artistic Director for the Georgia Street Singers of Vallejo.
Before his first rehearsal with us, there was a get together with Michael to get to know him which was held at Dale Danley's house. I brought a notebook with chorus posters and season brochures for him to view to give him a bit of the background of the chorus. As we discussed what might be our first concert with him he suggested "Nightmare on Polk Street". For our first concert with Michael, we were at 28 strong.
As Michael wrote in his program notes, "Welcome (or should I say Beware?) to LGCSF's Nightmare on Polk Street! For the next hour and a half, we are going to explore nightmares, real and imagined." This was held on October 27 and 28, 2017 at MCC on Polk Street. Of course we were all in our best Halloween drag, whatever spoke to each of us. Some of the music that Michael brought to us to learn was new and diverse to say the least. We began the concert with The Invitation "In the Sorcerer's Hall", then "Things That Go Bump in the Night". Other music was "The Milkman", "La Llorona", "Old Abram Brown" by Benjamin Britten. Then the tenors and basses sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and the sopranos and altos sang "I Have a Million Nightingales". Then we performed two songs from "Rocky Horror Picture Show", "Sweet Transvestite", and "The Time Warp", in which we asked the audience to get up and dance the Time Warp with us.
For the second half, we performed "A Nightmare Wedding Horrortorio" by Joseph Horovitz and Alistair Sampson, which featured a wedding between two monsters. We followed this with "Love is Love is Love". We ended the concert with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" with the chorus trying to imitate Mr. Jackson's moves as much as we were able to do. We all had a great time with this music and the audience loved it as well.
As we went through the rehearsal process for this concert with Michael we got to know him and he got to know us. As he said in the notes, "We have dreamed, rehearsed, labored, and loved this concert into existence."
Next week I will be writing about Michael's first Love Bites cabaret with us which was called "Love Biteth". See you all then. Take care of yourselves and all of your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero