Greetings to all my loyal readers. May 16th is the day to honor our LGBT elders so think of those who have come before us to pave the way to what we all enjoy today. This week I am writing about what the chorus was doing in Spring of 1982. At that time we were still part of Golden Gate Performing Arts and they had a full schedule of concerts from March through June. Our concert “Romance ’n Rhythm” was held on Saturday, March 27, at the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco. As a bit of history, in the program notes it said in part, “On January 23, 1980, thirty-four men and seven women met for the first time to form the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Men’s Community Chorus. Two years later, Robin Kay, artistic director of the chorus, stood on the stage of the Japan Center Theater and accepted the Cable Car Award for Outstanding Concert of 1981 on behalf of the Mixed Chorus and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. In that short span of time, the Mixed Chorus has become the largest mixed gay chorus in the country - an indication of the potential unity and strength among lesbians and gay men. And we’re only beginning.” One more thing about Robin - in June, 1981, she became the first lesbian conductor to perform at Louis M. Davies Symphony Hall in “A Gay Musical Celebration.” In December, she appeared as guest conductor of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus at Carnegie Hall.
For this concert we were 100 strong and the program consisted of the full chorus singing “Messa di Gloria” by Giacomo Puccini, “Missa: Papae Marcelli” by G. P. Da Palestrina. The Chamber Chorus was conducted by Gary Miller, guest conductor from the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, and performed “Hymn to St. Cecilia” by Benjamin Britten, “Fascinating Rhythm” by George and Ira Gershwin, “If It’s Magic” by Stevie Wonder and a Tribute to Louis Armstrong. So you can see there was the balance between the romance of the classical pieces and the rhythm of the popular music. Then our other small group, Vocal Minority, directed by Bill Ganz, sang four more romantic and rhythmic songs. The first was “All the Things You Are” by Jerome Kern, “Song to Celia” by P.D.Q. Bach, “I am the Monarch of the Sea” by Gilbert and Sullivan and finished with “The Rhythm of Life” by Cy Coleman.
I just want to share a little more about what Golden Gate Performing Arts did in the Spring of 1982. There was the premiere performance of the Falcon Dance Theater in a concert “Rites of Spring” on May 14 and 15 at the Nourse Auditorium. Yes there was a dance group as part of GGPA then. They were joined by the Barbary Coast Cloggers in this celebration of gay spirit in a diverse mosaic of dance styles.
The SF Gay Men’s Chorus performed “From Ops to Pops” on May 7 at Dinkelspiel Auditorium at Stanford University and May 9 at Davies Symphony Hall. They performed rousing opera chorus to familiar Cole Porter and Disney songs.
The small groups of LGCSF performed in “Love Songs” on May 16 at Albion Hall. Robin Kay conducted the Chamber Chorus in madrigals and music by Brahms and Bill Ganz led Vocal Minority in a program of American music.
And lastly on June 25 was the Fourth Annual Gay Musical Celebration at the Civic Auditorium (now Bill Graham Auditorium). We were onstage with SF Gay Men’s Chorus and the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps. Tickets for these concerts ranged from $5 to $16. What a bargain! This flyer also mentions that the Gay Musical Celebration is an event of the San Francisco Summer Festival. I have included two photos, one of the cover page from “Romance ’n Rhythm” and the other of the flyer for Spring 1982 so please enjoy.
See you next time with another look back at our shared history of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco as we all get ready to celebrate Pride next month.
In love and harmony,