Greetings to all of my faithful readers and Happy Mothers Day. I hope this finds you in good health and somewhat good spirits as we navigate these crazy times. As I have gone through more of my archives which have sparked my memories, I thought I would write more about what happened with the chorus in 1987. This was another year of transition as we embarked on a search for a new permanent Artistic Director. The lovely and talented Bill Ward was the Leadsheet editor for this year and in the first one from 1/7/87, he wrote that at this first rehearsal we would have one of our own, Cal Domingue, step up to direct us. Bill also wrote "As we begin this new year let's all make an effort to show our commitment to the Chorus and its continued growth and quality. As lesbians and gay men working together (and enjoying it) we enjoy a social condition which is not as widespread as I'd like it to be. I want to show the community and anyone else we can how well gay men and lesbians can get along together and just how much we have to offer one another." It has been fun for me to read through the Leadsheets from 1987 which by the way were all typed and printed and copied on paper. There was no email, texting, sharing data, smart phones, and no computers at that time.
The Chorus staff had been working on finding a new AD. At our next rehearsal we got to audition Michael Martin for this. Pat Parr was the next victim to audition for us as he would be directing us in the second half of rehearsal on 1/28/87. As of the date of the next Leadsheet, 2/4/87, Pat Parr had accepted the position of AD for LGCSF - hooray. Bill wrote in part "Pat Parr is eager to begin working with us and I'm looking forward to the association with him. We still have to find a rehearsal space for Thursday evenings in order to begin with Pat." As of 2/12/87, we were looking at St. Francis Lutheran as a possible rehearsal space and this would be our first full rehearsal with Pat and Michael Martin would be our accompanist and backup conductor.
The Chorus would begin working on the music we would sing at the "In Memory of Friends" concert in April. Menage would be performing at the Cable Car Awards at the Eagle at a beer bust for us in February so we were off and running as we began another busy year. The Chorus would be having a retreat at Wildwood Ranch in Guerneville in June to prepare for the Pride Concert. On Valentine's Day, there was a big party for the Chorus at Linda and Jesse's house. The more we socialize and get to know each other will reflect in our performances and progress together. As Bill wrote about his experience in being a part of "In Memory of Friends," he wrote "Being at the Palace of Fine Arts last week was a remarkable experience for me. Being part of the group effort such as this one makes me realize how important we really are to one another and how much our spirits depend upon love and respect for one another. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did."
As we prepared for the 9th Annual Gay Musical Celebration, which was the first Pride concert we produced on our own, I saw us really come together and we all had our own specific jobs to do to have everything go smoothly for us and our guests and audience. There was a strength of purpose helped to keep us on track and we felt we had grown up. We felt the 37 of us were tighter than ever. For Pride, we received a $5,350 grant from PC World Communications and another $1,000 from International Data Group.
Tenor Bill Sanderson said of the Chorus, "It's like a second family. In the rest of the community, the lesbians and gay men have their own places. They don't interact much. But here we can sing together, go on retreats, and have fun." Alto Rosemary Mitchell said, "The women and men of this group obviously search out this kind of experience. I need men in my life, and the men here need women."
Pat said he plans to continue working on the Chorus' blend, dynamics, and overall musicianship. He also wanted to see the group grow in size to 50 singers. On the agenda for the Chorus after Pride was an all country concert in the fall and a classical concert the following spring.
I was really excited by this feeling in the Chorus as we began this journey with Pat as we learned to follow what he was doing on the podium and how he truly was learning to know us and what our individual talents were and how to best use them for moving the Chorus forward. I think next week I will write a bit more about 1987 because this was really an exciting time for me.
Take care of yourselves, give hugs virtually to all around you and spread the love I know you have.
Always in harmony, Michael Lucero