Greetings to you my faithful readers. If there are any new ones please let me know. I hope all of you and your loved ones in California are safe from the fires and coping with all the smoke. What a crazy week this has been for us.
Today I am writing about our second official CD "Wish You Were Here". This was released in 2000 to celebrate twenty years of making music. Our Artistic Director at this time was Michael Carlson and our accompanist was resident composer June Bonacich. The chorus was at 40 strong with an almost perfect balance among all four parts. From the back cover Michael wrote, "Live concert recordings proudly presented by the men and women of the Lesbian/ Gay Chorus of San Francisco, celebrating twenty years of music!" The music was recorded in three venues in San Francisco - Herbst Theatre, First Unitarian Church, and Murphy Auditorium in Mission High School.
Here is a little bit of what I remember about these concerts and Michael Carlson as director. With input from the artistic advisory committee he brought us music that challenged us because he saw the potential in us to be able to sing complex music and sing it well. On this CD there is a song in Tagalog, and one in Yiddish. There was music by gay and lesbian composers which is part of our mission to share their music. With regular rehearsals, out of town retreats and sectionals we were prepared to always give our best.
The CD begins with a grand anthem "You Are the Light" by Leo Arnaud. Next is "Begin the Beguine" by that gayest of composers Cole Porter. For this we had choralography by Kirk Johnston. Next is "Give Me the Splendid, Silent Sun" which is 20th century classical choral music which gave us the chance to show our stuff. Next is "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen with the head banging choreography at the bridge. Next was "Nina," a fun ditty by another gay composer, Noel Coward, with a great solo by Eric Wenburg. Next is "The Spirit of Creation" which was another challenging piece. Next was "Dahil Sa Iyo" (Because of You) a Tagalog love song that was a favorite of Imelda Marcos.
Next was "Erev Shel Shoshanim" (Evening of Roses) which we sang in Yiddish. It is a beautiful song and well worth looking for. Next was "My Heart is Longing for Your Love" which we sang acappella. Next was a song by composer Eric Whitacre. This was the very romantic "With a Lily in Your Hand" from "Three Flower Songs". Next we went to Motown and performed "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Ashford & Simpson complete with all the Motown choreography and big arm movements made easy for us by Kirk Johnson. Next was "Dysfunctional Relationship" by June Bonacich which was a song which was part of a musical she was writing for us. Next we sang "Shenandoah" acappella in a beautiful arrangement by James Erb. The CD ends with a favorite of ours "I Open My Heart" by Skye Evergreen, who I have written about in a previous History Corner.
Each of the artistic directors that I have sung with over the years has taught me something new in my musical journey with this chorus and Michael was no exception as he brought music that he enjoyed and we learned well. Next week I will continue my journey in LGCSF music and art with you. Take care of yourselves.
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero