Greetings to all of my faithful readers,
I hope you are all well and maybe taking baby steps out into the world and starting to spend time in person with family and/or friends. I want to share what makes me feel proud today since we are in June and it is Gay Pride month and I thought I would share some of my memories and photos of chorus from different eras. As I was going through items from 1994 I came across a roster and as I read through each of the 100 names I could picture each of them. There were singers of course as well as staff and volunteers listed. Reading some of the names I felt sadness at reading the names of persons who left us too soon and one thing I do when we sing and go onstage is to carry the memories of these beautiful people with me and to honor them. I think that this might have been one the last paper rosters that was printed and handed out. The Leadsheet has always been around weekly, either in print or online, to keep the chorus up to date on what is happening. I do miss the ones that were in print because they always had wonderful graphics and they changed depending on who the editor was. There are two names on this roster who are still singing with us, Yolanda DeByle and Jesse Lanou so there is continuity within the chorus.
Since the time I joined the chorus in fall of 1984 I have sung and shared the stages, rehearsal halls, retreat spaces, cabarets, fundraisers, award shows, GALA Festivals, dinners for people with AIDS, memorial services, birthdays and other joyous celebrations with many hundreds of wonderful, beautiful, and extremely talented chorus members, artistic directors, accompanists and musicians. I have spent time in production meetings, building and painting sets, decorating sterile churches, artistic advisory meetings, membership meetings, and participated in many chorus board elections. The point I am trying to make is that I would not change anything I have done that is related to the chorus and trying my best to make it the best that it can be.
Another thing I came across in the 1994 folder is a certificate that the chorus received from the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park in August 1994 for our significant contribution we made to the creation and perpetual maintenance of the Grove. We also planted a tree in the Grove in memory of Don Killam who sang in the bass section and is now one of our Angels. I also danced with him onstage as the tenors and basses sang “Hermando’s Hideaway.”
Another thing that I am proud of is all of the wonderful music that the chorus has presented to our audiences, especially the music composed by living LGBTQ composers. This has always been the mission of the artistic directors of our chorus throughout the years. It has been an honor for me to rehearse, learn and perform the music that tells our story for our audiences.
The photos I have included is one from a retreat with Pat Parr, one of Dale, Lisa Vogt and Noam Szoke at GALA 2008 in Miami, one of a chorus birthday with Pat and our first AD, Robin Kay, in the back center and one of Deb Cohler arriving at GALA 2004 in Montreal. I have participated in seven GALA Festivals and they each have been different and it has always been exciting for me to see new choruses performing at Festival for the first time, especially the women’s, mixed and youth choruses who always bring tears to the eyes and a feeling of joy in our hearts to us seasoned singers. I will be back next week with more photos and memories of Pride concerts through the years. Take care of yourselves and hug your loved ones.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero