GALA Choruses Festival IX, Denver, Colorado, July 7-11, 2012
Dear gentle readers, last week I said that this History Corner would be about our fall concert, Loving Repeating. Well I was mistaken. Our next appearance was in Denver at the GALA Choruses Festival IX. This was held at the Denver Performing Arts Center.
At this GALA, there were several changes to what had happened at previous Festivals. First, the Festival was shortened to five days, there were morning Coffee Concerts where choruses applied for this were given an hour to perform their latest shows. Also there were evening Blockbuster Concerts - Songs of the Soul, a sacred concert; Our Legacy = Our Song, a history of GALA Choruses through choral commissions; Women's Chorus and Mixed Chorus Singin' in the Round, at which we sang "You Are the New Day"; Men's Chorus Commission Sing-Along; Youth Invasion Concert, which featured the LGBTI choruses; Classical Masterworks Sing-Along; and the Big Gay Sing: Express Yourself! which ended with everyone in the theatre joining a virtual worldwide choir singing Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." Also at this GALA, there were 112 choruses, 48 small ensembles and 6,000 delegates which was the largest number of delegates attending this Festival.
Our chorus and the students from Lick-Wilmerding High School all traveled to Denver and sang on July 9 in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. We performed "Harvey Milk: A Cantata" and the world premiere of our own June Bonacich's wonderful song "If Gays Ruled the World." If only that were true the world would be ever so much more fabulous. This was the first time at a GALA Festival that a high school chorus had performed with an established GALA chorus and they were all thrilled to be part of this whole new experience.
One thing that I want to talk about that really stood out for me, beside our performance, was the Youth Invasion Concert mentioned above. This concert featured the youth choruses that were there. They were Diverse Harmony, Dreams of Hope, Mosaic Youth Chorus, Perform OUTKC, and the Youth Pride Chorus. All of us in the audience were in awe of these kids getting out on that big stage at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and giving it their all for us. The performance that I will always remember was PerformOUTKC's performance of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." It began with a single singer singing the first verse and she was at first shy and quiet but as she got going her voice became stronger and people in the audience sang along with her to help get her over her shaky start. Then the rest of that chorus came on and finished the song and the audience gave them a standing ovation.
One of the young ladies from Lick-Wilmerding wrote an essay to GALA Choruses to write about her experience at the Festival. She wrote about the Youth Invasion Concert and PerformOUTKC in particular and how amazed she felt when the audience spontaneously sang along to encourage the lone singer on stage. From what else I remember about her essay, she also wrote that she had gained a new understanding and respect for all of the youth chorus singers and the Lick-Wilmerding kids and the youth choruses had time to spend together at the Festival. Finally, she wrote that this time at Festival was a very real life changing experience for her.
So everyone get ready for the next GALA Festival to be held July 4-8, 2020 in Minneapolis. More on this to come from me in the near future.
Next week I will be writing about Loving Repeating, our fall concert from 2012.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
34th Annual Pride Concert, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, June 22, 2012, 7 pm & 9 pm.
This Pride Concert was a historic night for the chorus and the Freedom Band, co-producers of the concert, for a variety of reasons. First, this was the first time we had performed in the beautiful concert hall at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Second, it was the first time students from Lick-Wilmerding High School had sung with us in a Pride Concert. Third, this was the world premiere of "Harvey Milk: A Cantata" which was co-commissioned by the chorus and Lick-Wilmerding.
The composer, Jack Curtis Dubowsky, and Billy Sauerland, our director, had received the full cooperation of the Estate of Harvey Milk and the Harvey Milk Archives of the Scott Smith Collection. Also Susan Goldstein, the City Archivist of San Francisco, gave Jack and Billy full access to Harvey's original papers, which yielded texts that have never been published before. It was from these texts and the words from Harvey's famous speeches that the lyrics we would be singing came from.
There were two shows of this Pride Concert, one at 7 pm and the second at 9 pm. Each show was a little bit different in the lineup of the groups that performed with us on this night. In the first show, Voices Lesbian Choral Ensemble sang Billy Joel's "She's Got a Way," Ysaye Barnwell's "We Are," and Akasa's "World Citizen." The Golden Gate Men's Chorus performed "Gryning Vid Havert (Nautical Sunrise)," David Conte's "Everyone Sang," and "It Gets Better."
Both shows began with the Freedom Band playing "Kirkpatrick Fanfare" and we joined them to sing "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana." Also in both shows our chorus and the students from Lick-Wilmerding performed "Harvey Milk: A Cantata" which was composed of five movements. These were I. Recruit You, II. Come Out, III. Judgment, IV. Hope and V. Postlude.
For me personally singing the words of Harvey Milk was a very moving experience. I had heard Harvey make his speeches when he was running for Supervisor in 1978. I had started working in the City Attorney's office in City Hall in March of 1978 and I was working there the day Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk were shot by Dan White so I will always have that memory.
The Freedom Band came on and played "Dreams and Proclamations," "Celebration Tribalesque," and "The Sinfonians" in both shows and we then joined the Band to perform "Dry Your Tears, Afrika."
The two choruses who were not in the first show but sang in the second show were the Oakland-East Bay Gay Men's Chorus and they sang "Feeling Good," "Dentro Il Mio Cuor," and "I Sing Out." Also the Lollipop Guild, a small group of the SFGMC sang "All My Loving," "Somewhere" from "West Side Story," "Too Straight Polka," and ended with "Rock the Boat." Again this was another wonderful night of collaboration with all of our great performing groups and the students who brought their own energy to us and the concert. Our audiences also had a great time because we all heard immediate positive feedback in the lobby after the shows.
Next week I will be writing about "Loving Repeating" which was our fall show.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
Composing Together: Spring Choral and Orchestral Concert & Gala
Ehrer Theatre, Lick-Wilmerding High School, April 27, 2012
Hello faithful readers. Thank you for the feedback you have given me. First, I want to give you a bit more background about our artistic director, William Sauerland. He was also the Director of Vocal Music at Lick-Wilmerding High School. This is how the collaboration between our chorus and these high school singers came about and how we were guests of these young people on their spring concert. In preparation for this concert, our chorus and the students began rehearsing "Harvey Milk: A Cantata," a new work composed by Jack Curtis Dubowsky with words by Harvey Milk. I will be writing more about this in next week's entry.
This concert highlighted Lick-Wilmerding's various musical entities. The evening began with selections of chamber music by J. S. Bach, G. F. Handel, Karl Abel and Edward Elgar. The next part of the concert featured their chamber orchestra. Their first piece is what gave the concert its name - Composing Together: The Orchestra Project. They played a couple of songs that had their world premiere - "Malted Milk Ball Gelato" and "Waking Up." These were followed by more traditional chamber orchestra pieces by Gyorgy Ligeti and Leroy Anderson.
After intermission, the high school Vocal Ensemble sang three Beatles songs, "Can't Buy Me Love," "If I Fell," and "Eleanor Rigby" and finished with "Not While I'm Around" by Stephen Sondheim.
Next the Women's Chorus sang "Always Remember," which is a traditional Irish blessing. Next was "The Water is Wide" and they finished with "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." Next the small women's group The Waves sang "I Got Rhythm" and "Mr. Sandman."
Next the Men's Chorus came on and sang "Set Me As a Seal" by L. Farnell. Next was an Irish folk song "Star of the County Down" with our Jason LeBrun accompanying them on flute. The men ended with "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" by Monty Python star Eric Idle.
LGCSF was next on the program and we sang "Look to the Rainbow" and "Down by the Sally Garden" with Jason accompanying us on flute. The evening ended with all singers onstage to sing a sneak peek of "Harvey Milk: A Cantata - Movement I: Recruit You." The final piece was Leonard Cohen's beautiful hymn "Hallelujah."
This concert was a real learning experience for all of us as this was the first time we had been invited by a high school music department to take part in one of their concerts. It was good for us to hear these wonderful young musicians playing and singing their music. Certainly we had a new audience in the form of all the parents and families of the students and we felt welcomed by all of them.
Next week's entry will be the 34th Annual Pride Concert 2012.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
Rainbows and Leprechauns: A St Patty's Day Cabaret, Martuni's Piano Bar, March 19 & 20, 2012.
This cabaret was our second show of 2012 with two more to come before the chorus heads to Denver to sing at the GALA Festival. More on that to come later. We were busy the first half of 2012.
Between Love Bites and this show we only had about a month to put this together and rehearse the songs. We all, chorus and soloists, stepped up to make this a good show for our audience with guidance from Billy and Paul giving us his wonderful accompaniment. The chorus opened with "If You're Irish, Come Into the Parlor" and next was "Look to the Rainbow" with Mary Cantrell and Michael McClure soloing with the chorus backup and Jason LeBrun on flute.
We next sang "Down by the Sally Gardens" and Jason accompanied us on his flute. Next Mary was front and center as she sang about "Leprechaun Stew." The next two were Irish folk songs sung by Dale Danley and Maureen Bogues - "Muirsheen Durkin" and "Whiskey in the Jar." Following Dale and Maureen was Billy and Rachyl Underwood singing two songs - "Always Remember (An Irish Blessing)" and "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows."
No St. Patrick's Day show would be complete without "My Wild Irish Rose" which was performed by the quartet of Fernando Ruelos, Daniel Lyons, Michael McClure and Tom McElroy. Jim Oerther followed that by singing Enya's "May It Be."
Two more Irish folk songs followed. First was "Biddy McGraw" sung by Maureen Bogues, Yolanda DeByle, Joselle Monarchi and Linda Rodriguey. After that came "Star of County Down" sung by Maureen, Yolanda, Kim Hargreaves, Joselle, Linda and Wendy Tobias with Jason on flute.
Next up was Joan Goldman singing "The Irish Ballad" by Tom Lehrer. Next were three songs from Sesame Street - first "Frogs in the Glen" sung by Wendy, "Bein' Green" sung by Jade Miller and third was "The Rainbow Connection" sung by Daniel Lyons with the chorus.
For our finale and audience sing along Mark Higgins and chorus sang "When Irish Eyes are Smiling," followed by "Over the Rainbow" and ending with "Danny Boy." I remember the green beer and Martuni's martinis flowing and everyone joining on these last three songs. Lots of fun for all of us.
Next week will be about a joint concert with musicians and singers from Lick-Wilmerding High School and the chorus which took place at the high school auditorium. Stay tuned.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
Love Bites and So Did the 80s, Mission Cultural Center, February 10 & 11, 2012.
Hello my chorus family. If you will indulge me I would like to share a bit more of our history aside from our shows. As I was trying to get to sleep a couple of nights ago I was wondering what more I can put in this history blog. We were having dinner with a friend on Lakeshore in Oakland recently and I remarked that the chorus had sung in the nearby Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church as guests of Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus several times during Oakland Pride. That got me to thinking about all of the venues too numerous to name that have welcomed us to put on our concerts. We have sung in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Los Altos, Modesto, and at GALA Festivals in Seattle, Denver (3 times), San Jose, Tampa, Montreal, and Miami. I have wonderful memories of all of these. And now Love Bites.
Once again we were back at the Mission Cultural Center for our 9th annual anti-Valenine's Day cabaret. This was our way of keeping that sappy, lovey-dovey, schmaltzy Hallmark holiday in check. How do you remember the 80s? It was a decade of big hair and big shoulders, synthesizers, Sony walkmans and early CD players. For this show we had our wonderful choreographer Michael Mohammed and guest soloist, Katya Smirnoff-Skyy.
The show began with an 80s Dance Party Medley which included "Flashdance," "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," "I Love Rock n' Roll," "Total Eclipse of the Heart." "Let's Hear It For the Boy," (with new lyrics) "Material Girl," (one of our tenors Alvin Thomas rocked this one) and "Footloose." Next was "If I Had a Hammer" with lyrics deranged by Yolanda DeByle. Tom McElroy next sang "I Think We're Alone Now" followed by Scott Turco singing "Only in My Dreams." Next Janice Placido performed "Heaven is a Place on Earth" and next Katya sang Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Next up Daniel Lyons sang another Cyndi song "Time After Time" and this was followed by Wendy Tobias singing ABBA's "Winner Takes It All." Certainly no 80s show would be complete with an ABBA song. Next was a duet with Jade Miller and Andrew Field singing "All Out of Love." Michael Mohammed was next with Tina's "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and the chorus backed up Dale Danley singing "Love Bites" and we ended the first act with a Bon Jovi tribute singing "Livin' on a Prayer" and "You Give Love a Bad Name."
One thing I have to put in before getting to Act 2. This was when Whitney Houston had died and we had a big heart onstage with our message of love for her.
We began Act 2 with the chorus singing a medley of TV show theme songs. This was lots of fun for us. First was "Everywhere You Look" from "Full House." Some of the chorus produced a video of this song with shots of the house from Alamo Square Park. Next was "Brand New Life" from "Who's the Boss," then "As Long As We Got Each Other" from "Growing Pains." We ended the medley with "Thank You for Being a Friend" from "The Golden Girls" and this also included a video with four of us as Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia - what a hoot.
Next came a Family Feud skit with Katya Smirnoff-Skyy as hostess. We invited members of the audience to participate in this game show skit and this was lots of fun and there were prizes.
Mary Cantrell then sang "Every Breath You Take" and she rocked it and this was by Paul Michael Alves putting his take on "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" by Eurhythmics. And then Jim Oerther performed with a striptease the song "Tainted Love" and was it ever tainted. This was followed by Howard Miller singing what we called "The Hello Medley" featuring songs with "hello" in their title. Next came Katya leading us in "True Colors" and this featured a video of pictures of our chorus angels as we remembered them and sang "you are beautiful like a rainbow."
The chorus ended the show a tribute to Michael Jackson where we sang and danced to these songs:
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Bad," "Beat It," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and of course "Thriller" with Jason LeBrun as soloist. We all had a blast putting this show together through lots of hard work at rehearsals and then onstage in front of a very appreciative audience.
Next week will be all about Rainbows and Leprechauns: A St. Patty's Day Cabaret.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
A Shameless Show of Holiday Shite, Martuni's Bar, December 18 & 19. This year's holiday cabaret was a little bit different from the shows under the "Christmas Crap-Array" banner. Billy Sauerland and the Artistic Advisory committee came up with this new iteration of this for the chorus. We had a guest accompanist, Brandon Adams tickling the ivories for us. The chorus and soloists sang mostly basic, traditional holiday songs with a few different and funny ones.
The chorus opened with two songs, "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Next a trio composed of Eve Benton, Michael McClure and Billy sang "Carol of the Bells." Next Andrew Fields and Michael McClure sang "What's This" from "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Then Wendy Tobias sang "A Marshmallow World." Next Mary Cantrell sang "What is Christmas?" The next song was "The Christmas Song" by Mel Torme and sung beautifully by Alyssa Stone and Billy. Then came "Coventry Carol" sung by Eve Benton and Michael McClure.
The next three songs were of the silly or fun variety starting with "O Little Town of Hackensack" by P. D. Q. Bach - one of our favorites - better known as Peter Schickele. This was performed by Kim Hargreaves, Jason LeBrun, Daniel Lyons, Linda Rodriguey and Richard Turtletaub. Next was "Atheists Don't Have No Songs" as recorded by Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers and sung by Joan Goldman and Andrew Field. Next Howard Miller gave a moving rendition of "Chinese Food on Christmas." What else would a good Jewish boy sing about?
And then the chorus ended the show with "Bring the Torch Jeanette, Isabella." Then came the sing-a-longs of familiar holiday songs and some had very naughty lyrics - "The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen" and "Walkin' Round in Women's Underwear." It was a fun show and our audience at Martuni's, especially after having a few martinis, loved us and sang along with gusto.
And that was the year of 2011 - Billy Sauerland's first with us. He was already thinking about 2012, which was a GALA Festival year, and what we would be performing for our audiences.
Next week will be all about Love Bites and so did the 80's.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
BrokeBACH Mountain, Mission Cultural Center, November 18 & 19. This concert came about, in part, following conversations between Billy and Tim Seelig, the director of SFGMC in regard to "Oedipus Tex" which was Act II of this concert. Tim had sung the role of Oedipus Tex in the past and he wanted to reprise this role with us. So here we go.
One matter I forgot to include in the last entry was that Paul McCurdy joined us as our Assistant Music Director and Accompanist. He really liked playing all of the Bach music we included in this concert.
Act I of the concert was designed like a Bach cantata, full of chorales, chorus numbers, and solos (but includes a line dance). Jim Oerther was the soloist in our opening Bach "Chorale", then came "Bourree." Then we sang two pieces by Jacques Offenbach, "Can-Can" and "Barcarolle." Next we sang and danced songs from the soundtrack of the movie "Brokeback Mountain." They were "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" with Joan Goldman as soloist. Then came the line dance to "I Will Never Let You Go." Next was "The Maker Makes" with Andrew Field as soloist and the fourth piece was "The Wings." We also performed "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and "Stand By Your Man." Paul McCurdy got to show off his chops by playing "Solfeggietto" by C. P. E. Bach. The chorus also sang "Neighbors' Chorus" by Offenbach.
Act II was our performance of "Oedipus Tex" by P. D. Q. Bach, an opera in one cathartic act. We were all in character we picked and wearing our various cowboy drag as we presented this funny story. Chorus members who are still singing were Dale Danley as Old Gimpy/Gimpy Galoot, Dr. Mark Higgins as the Mayor, Wendy Tobias as Madame Peep and Jim Oerther as L. Armstrong Jones. Joining Paul in our band were Jason LeBrun on flute, Daniel Lyons on Clarinet, Jadine Louie on horn, Sue Leonardi on trumpet, Linda Hitchcock on percussion, and Neil Patel on cello. These musicians were members of the Freedom Band and Jason and Daniel had such fun accompanying us that they joined us to sing. This was a really fun collaboration with all of us and our audiences enjoyed it as much as we did.
Next week will be "A Shameless Show of Holiday Shite."
Cheers, Michael Lucero
33rd Annual Pride Concert, Everett School Auditorium, June 24. This Pride concert was an official "In Pride We Trust" event for Pride of 2011. The concert was promoted as "Five Pioneering Ensembles, One Fabulous Performance." Our chorus co-produced the concert along with the Band and the Symphony. In the program welcome it says "This concert is a collaboration that comes together every year thanks to the work of a diverse and dedicated group. Huge thanks to this year's teams for making it happen." The emcee for the concert was the fabulous Trauma Flintstone aka Joe Wicht who is also one of our fabulous Board members. Our special guest was Commander Zoe Dunning, who received the Annual Pride Concert Recognition Award. She was an invited guest at President Barack Obama's signing of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell in December of 2010.
The five pioneering ensembles who performed in this Pride Concert were the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony conducted by Daniel Canosa, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band conducted by Jadine Louie, Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco conducted by William Sauerland, the Golden Gate Men's Chorus conducted by Joseph Piazza and San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus conducted by Dr. Timothy Seelig. What a wonderful and fabulous group of musicians from our fair city who all came together to perform and share our music for our Pride audience.
All singers and the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony opened the concert with the "Star Spangled Banner" and then the Symphony played "The Miller's Dance" by Manuel de Falla and "Danzon No. 2" by Arturo Marquez. Then the Golden Gate Men's Chorus sang "Day In Day Out" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Freddie Mercury. Then the SFGMC Ambassadors sang "San Francisco" - what else? - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - naturally - and "She's Got You" featuring Phillip Whitely singing the solo.
Act II began with our chorus singing "Something's Coming/Tonight" from "West Side Story", "You Are The New Day" which was a new song for us brought in by Billy, "Let' Do It" by the fabulously gay Cole Porter, and the world premiere of "If Gays Ruled the Country" by our own June Bonacich. If only that was the case now.
Next the SFL/G Freedom Band played "Yankee Doodle" and "Shenandoah."
Next our chorus and SFGMC Ambassadors and the Band performed "Born This Way" by the fabulous and wonderful Lady Gaga. For the big finale all the choral groups and the Band performed "A Patriotic Salute" by George M. Cohan and "America, the Beautiful" by Samuel A. Ward with lyrics by Katherine Lee Bates. This was a great start to the Pride weekend and again it was a great opportunity to connect with the other singers and musicians and to share our music with our fabulous audience.
Next week I will be writing about "Brokebach Mountain." Please give me any and all feedback about my blog entries for the History Corner.
Cheers, Michael Lucero, your fabulous chorus historian.
Love Bites Off Broadway, February 11 & 12, Mission Cultural Center. This show was our 8th annual anti-Valentine's Day cabaret and the first one with our new Artistic Director, Billy Sauerland. He was young and full of energy and had come from a background of singing with Chanticleer and singing in operas as a child soprano. After a search for this new director the previous fall, Billy was thrust into getting the chorus and himself ready for Love Bites. At the first Artistic Advisory Committee meeting with Billy to talk about this, his first question was "what is Love Bites?" We filled him in on the history of this cabaret that Stephanie and committee came up with. Then came the search for full chorus numbers to fit the Broadway theme. These were "My Funny Valentine" from "Babes in Arms", "What I Did for Love" from "A Chorus Line" and we closed with "One More Day" from "Les Miserables" with alternative lyrics by Howard Miller and naughty lyrics by Billy. Then came the process of Billy working with the various soloists, duets, and small groups. As you can see in the photos of Act I and Act II, Andrew Field sang "Down with Love", then the sopranos and altos sang "Nothin' Like a Dame", John Gullotto sang "This Nearly Was Mine", Lisa Vogt and Molly Aplet sang sang "Loneliness of Evening" and the tenors and basses sang "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair." One of the highlights of Act I was Deb Cohler and Linda Rodriguey singing "Bosom Buddies."
Act II began with Wendy Tobias singing "In Short" from "Edges" which was written by our new favorite composers from earlier this year, Pasek & Paul. Then a sextet sang "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago" which the chorus had sung in a previous Love Bites and which included some great choreography by Wendy Tobias. Joan Goldman sang one of my favorites, "Send in the Clowns." Tenor Howard Miller then sang "Could I Leave You?" from "Follies" and really gave it his all. Elisa Shore & Wendy sang "Take Me or Leave Me" from "Rent." Then Jim Oerther sang "Show Off" from "The Drowsy Chaperone." Then there was medley of three songs from three of Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows. As mentioned above we ended with "One More Day." This was a fun show for us and our audiences and I feel was a good way for us to welcome Billy.
Billy wrote in the program in part "Welcome to the 8th annual Love Bites cabaret of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco! It is my delight to have recently taken over as Artistic Director of this enthusiastic and engaging ensemble. Not only is this my inaugural Love Bites concert, but this is also the first time the LGCSF has had the pleasure of singing in the wonderful Mission Cultural Center. Love Bites 2011 focuses on the bitter and unrequited love songs of the musical theater canon. I hope these songs of Broadway will take you on an anit-Valentine's journey that is silly, sassy and sublime." The chorus at this point was at 27 strong and Billy told us that he would like to grow the chorus to 40 singers. Just to let you know, the chorus really enjoyed performing at the Mission Cultural Center. There were two small and cozy dressing rooms and a generous for us backstage space. The staff there were all very welcoming.
From now on I will be writing about one show per week to extend the life of the History Corner so let me know what you all think of this. I will be able to expand on what I write about and I hope you enjoy this new format.
Next week will be about Pride 2011.
First I would like to share some thoughts about Stephanie Lynne Smith, our artistic director from 2002 to 2010. Some of her accomplishments with us was to have living gay composers write music for us. The results of this were "Woven Together" by Richard Link, who also sang with us for a couple of years. We also performed "Group Therapy", a wacky musical look at group therapy composed by our own June Bonacich. We also took this on the road to Chicago for the Gay Games Chicago cultural week. The third one was "Halloween in the Castro - a Horror Opera", a look at the history of this event composed by Jack Curtis Dubowsky, who has also given us many other songs. Stephanie also went on to become artistic director of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus. In 2013 she and her wife, Jen Brown, moved to Portland. She is now the Assistant Artistic Director and Pianist for Confluence: Willamette Valley LGBT Chorus. I just looked at their website and they have a full season of music coming up. Stephanie is also the presenter of "Miss Smith Presents", where she works with performers to help and encourage them to work on and sharpen their skills for public performance.
I was reading Stephanie's greeting in the program for the 32nd Annual Pride Concert which celebrated our 30th anniversary. She wrote in part "we did some spring cleaning and I came across a box of plaques, awards and old programs. The present (2010) chorus of twenty singers had once been a chorus of 150 singers and somebody named Pat Parr was all over a bunch of awards and newspaper clippings. The Cable Car Award? The Academy of Friends? What group is this? My eyes were opened, not only to the history of the group, but to endless possibilities. As I step down from this position (AD), I hold great hope the next somebody will recognize the gem they are holding." I love you Stephanie.
The Music of Dead White Men, First Congregational Church of SF, October 22 and 23. This concert marked the debut of guest conductor Cole Thomason-Redus. The music we sang in this concert ranged from Gregorian chant to music by Brahms, Samuel Barber, George Bizet's "Carmen", Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata", to songs by Jonathan Larson, Freddie Mercury and Arthur Sullivan. It was a challenge to learn all these different styles and genres of music but with Cole's guidance we all learned this wonderful music.
The 4th Annual Christmas Crap-Array, EXIT Theatre on Eddy, December 16, 17 and 18. This was the next edition of our irreverent holiday program that Miss Smith and the artistic advisory committee first cooked up in their fevered brains in 2007. Lots of fun for us and for our audience.
The 21st Annual Home for the Holidays - A Soulful Celebration, Castro Theatre, December 16 and 24. This was the latest edition of SFGMC's musical gift to the community which has become one of the City's most anticipated events to attend on Christmas. There were three shows this year at 5, 7 and 9 pm. We sang at the 9 pm show and performed "Santa Baby", "White Christmas", and "Celebrate Me Home." This is always a wonderful night of making music and to be with SFGMC and to share this music with the audience which always makes this a sold-out evening. This was a good way for us to cap off the year and looking forward to welcoming our next artistic director.
joined the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco in August of 1984, after seeing them sing in the Pride Concert the previous June and their director, Matt O'Grady, announced that if anyone in the audience wanted to join the chorus that auditions would be coming up so he joined. During his time in the chorus he has always sang in the bass section. He has served as Music Librarian, on the Production Committee, the Artistic Advisory Committee, as a bass section leader, as the GALA liaison and currently as chorus historian. He is glad to create this blog for the chorus to get the history out to anyone who looks at our website.