Reach Out and Bring Happiness: Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus 10th Anniversary, September 12, First Congregational Church, Alameda, CA. We were the guests of OEBGMC as they celebrated their Tenth Anniversary. Together we sang "How Can I Keep From Singing" to open the concert and "The Awakening" and "What a Wonderful World" which was arranged by Thaddeus Pinkston to end the concert. On our own we sang the whole of "Lambscapes" and "I Do" by Eric Lane Barnes and in the second half we did scenes from "Halloween in the Castro" as a way to promote it. This was another wonderful collaboration between our chorus and OEBGMC.
Halloween in the Castro - A Horror Opera, October 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, MCC. This was a major undertaking for the chorus to put on a show in the opera tradition with many solos and duets and a chorus as the townspeople of the Castro. It was also a big commitment from the chorus to put on five performances. This was based on the history of Halloween in the Castro as it changed over the years from a neighborhood gathering with many people of costume to show off to the huge crowds of later years and violence against gays and lesbians who were there just to have a good time. Our Dr. Mark played Sister Chiquita Piccata Mundi, one of the central figures of the opera who tells tales of Halloweens past when the queer nuns turned the night into a highly successful annual fundraiser. But by the second show Mark had developed a bad case of laryngitis but in the tradition of the theatre the show must go on and he did his best. We all came together after many weeks of rehearsal and put on a memorable show for our audiences. In a quote from a review by Sister Dana Van Iquity, "Composer and librettist Jack Curtis Dubowsky has created a monster of a hit show featuring the LGCSF and some spectacularly spooky soloists conducted by Stephanie Lynne Smith. The changing scenery, props, and costumes are fully operatic." By doing this show, the chorus grew in many ways artistically and in our coming together to give our all for the love of the music.
3rd Annual Christmas Crap-Array, December 17, 18 and 19, EXIT Theatre on Eddy. Unfortunately I do not have a program for this show but again Miss Smith led her elves through a night of naughty holiday songs and some great choral singing as well. That is it for 2009 and next will be the first half of 2010. I do hope you all are enjoying this blog.
Hello all, I am back from my trip to Munich and Berlin and ready to get back to our history. One thing I want to mention that in September of 2008 we were grateful to have a new Assistant Artistic Director and Pianist in the person of Daniel Hooper. Now onto 2009.
Love Bites Pop Rocks, February 6, 7 and 13, The Women's Building. We were 25 strong for these shows. The theme of this Love Bites was LGCSF sings Top 40 hits of bitterness and betrayal. The show on Feb. 13 was a special Adults Only show. We opened with "Love Stinks" and the solos, duets and trios sang "Before He Cheats" "Mr. Valentine's Dead", "The More You Ignore Me," and ended the first half with a song by Eric Lane Barnes called "I Do," which was our ode to gay marriage. The big finale for these shows was Desperately Seeking Love Bites: A Madonna Retrospective which was created by Carolyn Eidson and Stephanie better known as Fifi and Fannie. The songs in this medley were "Love Don't Live Here Anymore," "Live to Tell," "Express Yourself" and "Vogue." Carolyn was an excellent Madonna and the chorus wore cone breasts and vogued. We had lots of fun with this.
LGCSF Sings - Because We Can!, April 3 and 4, Theatre Rhinoceros. This was a concert of the best of our season with some surprises. This was another chance for our soloists, duets and trios to shine along with several full chorus songs. Some of the highlights were two songs from "Wicked," "Popular" and "What is This Feeling?" The first half ended with the chorus singing "Bonse Aba," "Harriet Tubman," and "Such a Nice Brisket" by Jack Curtis Dubowsky. The second half featured several songs by Eric Lane Barnes. They were "Caffeine Overload Polka," "Bittersweet Tango," "Lambscapes: Historical Settings of Mary and Her Lamb," and we finished with "More I Cannot Wish You" with Remy Timbrook soloing. It was good to revisit these songs.
2009 Pride Concert: Let's Get Loud!, June 25 and 26, First Unitarian Church. LGCSF and the Freedom Band were co-hosts for this Pride concert. Our special guests were SFGMC and two of their small ensembles, The Lollipop Guild and Vocal Minority. This was a celebration of SFGMC on their 30 years of singing and sharing their music with the world. It was also the 30th anniversary of The Lollipop Guild making it the longest running small ensemble in GALA Choruses. The concert opened with the Freedom Band playing two songs. Next up was Vocal Minority and then SFGMC and the first half ended with two songs featuring all three ensembles, "Love Has Always Been Our Song," and "The Promise of Living." The second half started with The Lollipop Guild, then more music from the Freedom Band and then we did our set - "Bonse Aba," "Parade," "I Do," and "More I Cannot Wish You." The concert ended with all of us performing "I Am What I Am." This was another great two nights of shared music and being with our fellow musicians for this Pride concert.
First I have an addendum fun fact to last week's Corner - we were guests of SFGMC on December 24 at the Castro Theatre for Home for the Holidays. One of the songs we sang was "Magic Snow" by Jack C. Dubowsky. Afterwards, there was quite a controversy and complaints from members of SFGMC who were in recovery who were upset at "Magic Snow", a song about how Santa gets through Christmas Eve. Our response was simple: Santa is a fictional character and therefore not real. We were not invited back for the next one. Now to 2008.
Love Bites: My Dog Bites and My Pickup Truck Won't Start, February 7-9 and 14-16, EXIT on Taylor. This was our 5th annual Love Bites show and we were in a new venue and yes we did two weekends. We were 30 strong at the start of the year and we began the show with another Jack C. Dubowsky tune "Your New Stupid Boyfriend." And it went on from there as we sang various deranged country songs about love gone wrong. One of the duets by Ann Shapira and Shelley Kutilek sang the Dixie Chicks song "Goodbye Earl." We reprised "Stomp on My Heart" from "Group Therapy." We ended with a choreographed "Your Momma Don't Dance." We had lots of fun and so did our audiences.
LGCSF Does It Again!, April 11 & 12, Theatre Rhinoceros. This was a fundraiser to help get the chorus to Miami for the next GALA Festival. The music in this show was a greatest hits type show of the best music we have sung under Stephanie's direction. We sang "Muni Rider", then another song from "Group Therapy" called "Transference Tango," then we reprised a couple of songs from the Christmas Crap-Array, "Magic Snow" and "Surabaya Santa," and then one of our favorites "Stacy's Mom" featuring Laura Liscar. The second half was our version of "Trial by Jury" by Gilbert & Sullivan. It was fun to sing and dance these songs again.
We sang an outreach performance at a benefit for the Cindy Kolbs AIDS Fund and the Gay/Straight Alliance at San Francisco State University on April 17.
2008 Pride Concert: Our Message is Music, June 26 & 27, First Unitarian Church. This Pride concert was a special one in which we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. Three of the Band's former conductors were there to direct three pieces - Jeffrey Foote, Nancy Corporon and Jadine Louie. With these three organizations together again it was another wonderful time to present our music with the pride we have in ourselves and in our community. The concert ended with a favorite of the Band - "If My Friends Could See Me Now," with changed lyrics that celebrate playing in an all gay band.
GALA Festival 8, July 12-19, Miami. The chorus traveled to Miami to participate in the quadrennial GALA Choruses Festival. This Festival marked the 25th anniversary of GALA Choruses. We were there with 5,000 singers representing 125 choruses and small ensembles from all over the world. Ann Hampton Calloway sang in the Opening Ceremony. This was the first Festival where the youth choruses had their own concert blocks and they were beautiful and inspiring. Our set included two songs from "Group Therapy" - yes the chickens were there - and more of our favorites "Neighbors' Chorus," "Magic Snow," a Chinese folk song "Diu Diu Deng," "Ray's Rockhouse" and a traditional Zambian song "Bonse Aba" that Stephanie had brought to us.
Oakland-East Bay PRIDE Invitational, August 16 & 17, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland. Again we were guests of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus. Also in these concerts were three groups appearing for the first time. They were the Rainbow Women's Chorus, Vocal InFusion and a small ensemble of SFGMC, Vocal Minority. It was good to hear these new voices in these concerts and to make new friends as well.
LGCSF Eats Out: A Classical Concert About Food, October 17 & 18, The Kanbar Center. A concert about food - what were we thinking? Well thanks to Stephanie and our friendly composers Jack Curtis Dubowsky and Eric Lane Barnes and June Bonacich it all worked. Our tenor Ron Masker sang the "Banquet Fugue" by John Rutter, we sang "Potluck" by June, "Such a Nice Brisket by Jack, and we sang four songs by Eric - "Lambscapes V & Vi," "Carmina Ricotta," "Caffeine Overload Polka," and "Bittersweet Tango." Then we sang "If Music Be the Food of Love" and ended with "Libiamo" from La Traviata. This was a tasty treat for us and our audiences.
Christmas Crap-Array II, December, EXIT Theatre. We gathered again to present a cabaret evening of non-traditional and deranged anti-holiday and Christmas music. I do not have a program for this one so I don't remember what we sang except for "Melvin the Elf."
2007 - Love Bites, Pride, Queer Night at the Opera, An Autumnal Out-ing, Home for the Holidays, Christmas Crap-Array
Love Bites the Hand That Feeds It, February 9 and 10, Theatre Rhinoceros. The chorus was at 35 strong as we started with the year with the next incarnation of our anti-Valentine's Day cabaret. This was our first time performing in Theatre Rhinoceros, a theatre that has supported gay playwrights and actors as well as singers. We began this show with "Down With Love" and then the various soloists, duets, etc. did their things and we ended the first half waltzing to the "Neighbors' Chorus." In the second half we sang a song by Jack Curtis Dubowsky, who would become a composer who would work closely with Stephanie through the rest of this decade.
29th Annual Pride Concert: Here's Where I Stand, June 21 & 22, First Unitarian Church. This was another wonderful time to perform together at Pride with SFGMC and the Freedom along with guest artists GLAM Youth Choir and Voices: Lesbian Choral Ensemble. The Band was magnificent as usual as were the Men's Chorus. Our set contained music of different styles, from the deranged lyrics of "Potluck" to "Gay Little Nymph" "The Offbeat of Avenues," and "For Now" from Avenue Q and the night ended with all choruses together singing "Here's Where I Stand."
A Queer Night at the Opera, June 29, SOMArts Theatre. This concert was a departure for us. We were asked to participate in this National Queer Arts Festival evening of operatic music. There were four local opera singers and we were essentially the opera chorus behind these singers. Learning this music expanded and challenged our musical chops and we were singing before a new audience which is always good for us. The evening ended with "Libiamo" from La Traviata.
An Autumnal OUT-ing, October 26 & 27, November 2 & 3, Theatre Rhinoceros. This show combined a cabaret for the first half and Gilbert & Sullivan's operetta "Trial by Jury" in the second half. We worked with our stage director and choreographer Michael Mohammed to stage "Trial by Jury" as we all took on a character of the opera and created our costumes and makeup. Of course we changed the setting of the opera from a courtroom to a 1960's era gay bar. It was challenging to learn the music but all of our hard work paid off for us and our audiences. The photos below are from backstage at Theatre Rhino for "Trial by Jury."
Home for the Holidays, December 1, Thomas Downey High School, Modesto. The chorus traveled to Modesto as guests of SFGMC to sing in their Home for the Holidays concert for the good people of Modesto. On this World AIDS Day, this concert was a fundraiser for the Stanislaus Community Assistance Program which provides critical health and human services to people effected by life-threatening diseases. This was a good time for us and it was for a good cause.
Christmas Crap-Array, December 20, 21 & 22, EXIT Theatre. What Love Bites is to Valentine's Day this new cabaret we hope will become a Christmas type tradition. Many traditional Christmas and holiday songs were de-ranged by various chorus members such as "My Favorite Drinks" based on "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music," and de-ranged by Kirk Johnson. The full chorus led off with a new and naughty song by Jack Dubowsky called "Magic Snow" which tells how Santa is able to make all of his deliveries on Christmas Eve. Lots of fun for us as we discovered more hidden talents from the chorus. This was a fundraiser for us to help send the chorus to Miami next July for the next GALA Festival.
2006 - Love Bites, Pride, Gay Games VII, Oakland Pride, The Best is Yet to Come, Turn the World Around
Love Bites . . . and Leaves a Mark, February 10 & 11, Rainbow Room, LGBT Center. This was our third annual Love Bites anti-Valentine's Day cabaret. We were 41 strong at this time and began the show with "Down With Love" and then came a variety of songs spotlighting our talented soloists, duos, trios and quartets. The first half ended with "Stacy's Mom" which went on to be a favorite of the chorus. Yay, Jen and Laura, you rocked. The second half opened with a naughty version of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and more good solos, etc., and we ended with "These Boots are Made for Walking." Lots of fun again for us and our audiences. Also we got a glowing review by Sister Dana Van Iquity in the Bay Times.
28th Annual Pride Concert: We Are What We Are, June 23, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theatre. Again we gathered with our friends in the SFGMC and the Freedom Band along with Candye Kane, the debut of the GLAM Youth Chorus, and the Golden Gate Men's Chorus in two shows of great Pride music. GLAM was the first gay youth chorus in California so this was a historical night for them and all of us. We welcomed our new accompanist and assistant artistic director, Michael A. Schuler. We sang "Ray's Rockhouse," "Free Your Mind," and "Ella's Song" with Deb Cohler as soloist with Laura Liscar, Elisa Shore and Lisa Vogt. The finale which included all choruses was "I Am What I Am." This was a wonderful way to start Pride weekend and to share our music with our audience.
Gay Games VII, July, Chicago. Members of the chorus traveled to Chicago for two things. First, we sang as part of a mass chorus at the Opening Ceremony of the Gay Games as we watched the parade of athletes representing their countries make their way into Soldier Field. Our director Stephanie Smith was honored to be the conductor of this mass choir. We had rehearsals for three days prior to our performance and the mass chorus also sang an evening concert at the Grant Park bandshell for a very receptive audience. Also as part of the Gay Games Cultural Week the chorus took Group Therapy on the road and performed three shows at the Raven Theatre which is located on the north side of Chicago. This was a lot of work for us but also a lot of fun as we bonded to perform this show again, in a new city and a new venue, which incidentally worked very well for us. There were athletes from the various teams who came to see us. One of the nights after the show, we went to a bear and biker bar a couple blocks from the theatre and we took over the back bar area and Laura was flirting with all of the big and beefy men there and we all had a great time.
Out Loud: 7th Annual Oakland Invitational Pride Concert, August 27, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland. Again we were guests of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus in their Pride concert. Also on this evening's program were Colla Voce, Out on a Clef, GLAM Youth Choir, and Otto Voci. Again this was a time of these LGBTQI musical organizations to come together to share their music and show the world where we all stand and we all had a great time rehearsing together before the concert and putting on our best faces for the performance. Thanks Michael Carlson.
The Best is Yet to Come: Jadine Louie Farewell Concert, September 16, Everett Middle School. This concert was presented by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band to honor the leadership of their musical director, Jadine Louie, as she stepped down after 10 years. Our chorus, along with SFGMC, were special guests. SFGMC started off with their traditional "Irish Blessing" for Jadine. We began the second half with a traditional Kenyan song, "Kwaheri." Under Jadine's leadership, the Band performed in more than 40 community concerts, 10 Pride concerts and hundreds of parades, civic and community events. The Band has twice been named the Official Band of the City of San Francisco by the Board of Supervisors during her tenure. We love you, Jadine.
Turn the World Around, November 3 & 4, St. Aidan's Episcopal Church. From the program, Stephanie wrote "The LGCSF is happy to present songs of hope, Joy and Laughter from all over planet Earth. We believe that through the language of music, we are all Together in Harmony. Enjoy!" And indeed we sang music, among others, from Quebec in French, a set of Chinese folk songs and the traditional Kenyan "Kwaheri." We also sang the Second Movement from Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein in Hebrew. We also traveled to Lake Titicaca and spoke a Geographical Fugue. This was challenging music for us and we stretched our musical muscles and after all the hard work it came together beautifully for us and our audience.
I was trying to remember if we sang with the SFGMC this year in their Home for the Holidays show. If anyone from that time remembers please let me know.
First before I get into 2005, I have a few more facts from 2004. That year San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom requested that the County Clerk issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. One of those couples who got married at that time were our Director, Stephanie Smith, and the Director of SFGMC, Dr. Kathleen McGuire. So the choruses were now related by marriage. On the back of the Oakland Pride program were pictures and bios of Michael Carlson, the Oakland Men's Chorus Director and our former Director and our current accompanist, Thaddeus Pinkston.
Love Still Bites, February 11 & 12, LGBT Center Rainbow Room. This was the second annual Love Bites cabaret and again gave our singers the chance to showcase their talents as soloists, duets and trios along with a few full chorus numbers. During this time we had a straight married couple in the chorus, Sean and Becky Quinlan, and they just fit in with what the chorus was and is about. This cabaret ended with the full chorus singing "Cell Block Tango" from the musical "Chicago," which we did with choreography - a hot number.
25th Anniversary Concert, May 7, Brava Theatre. Here are a few quotes from Stephanie in the program. "The Chorus was there for me when I came out to my parents. The Lesbian/Gay Chorus is not just a bunch of people rehearsing each week for the next concert. The Chorus is a family. The secret of the Chorus is not in the energy of its director or the shape of its finances. There is magic in the wonderful spirit of community that lives in the Chorus. The world I desperately want to exist DOES exist at each rehearsal and each performance. Every time the Chorus takes the stage, the differences between sexual identities vanish, and the music is all that matters." The music we sang for this 25th anniversary mattered to us and to our audience and this was a wonderful and magical night.
27th Annual Pride Concert, June 24, Grace Cathedral. This was yet again another wonderful night of music and sharing the stage with SFGMC, the LG Freedom Band and our special guest, the GLASS Youth Choir. It was a treat for all of us to be singing in Grace Cathedral again with our friends in the Men's Chorus and the Band. One of the songs we sang was "Big Boned Gal" by k. d. lang and Shane Kroll was the Big Boned Gal.
6th Annual Invitational Pride Concert, September, Lakeshore Baptist Church, Oakland. In this concert we were guests of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus along with Out on a Clef and VOICES: Lesbian Choral Ensemble. This was another great collaborative concert with these wonderful musicians.
Group Therapy, November 3, 4 & 5, Rainbow Room, LGBT Center. This was the first full musical theatre adventure that the chorus performed. It was "A freshly twisted, wacky musical comedy for everyone," written by our own June Bonacich. Michael Mohammed was our stage director and choreographer. This was a whole new learning experience for all of us - to learn this music and each be a character for an entire show. As each of us got more comfortable with the character, the more natural we became in our performances - especially when P. Francis Tucker, played by Scott Turco, got spanked by several chickens. Wendy Tobias as Katie got her hair done during "The Hairdressers Polka." This was great fun for us and for our audiences.
Home for the Holidays, December 24, Castro Theatre. Again we were guests of SFGMC at their 9:00 pm show as part of this annual holiday gift to the community at the historic Castro Theatre. This is always a special night for everyone.
Love Bites, February 13, LGBT Community Center. This cabaret was the brainchild of Stephanie and the Artistic Advisory Committee to present "LGCSF sings the flipside of love." It has evolved into our annual anti-Valentine's Day cabaret which has showcased the many talents of our chorus since this first one. This evening was hosted by The Living Dolls, Liz Matthews & Diane Merlino, a Bay Area duo. The chorus was 52 strong as we began our 25th season. We started off with a "Love Bites" medley which included "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "I Get Around," "It's My Party," and "Stop In The Name of Love." We all had fun with this show and so did our audience.
Composers in The Mist, April 23 & 24, St. Francis Lutheran Church. As part of our mission, this concert featured original music by living Bay Area LGBT composers who were all at the concerts. We were joined by the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus. We sang three pieces by Jack Dubowsky, one each by Caroline Smith, Kathleen McGuire, and our own June Bonacich, Richard Link and Jesse Lanou. It was challenging and inspiring to learn and perform this music and it was great to get to know the composers.
Celebrating Our Champions!, June 19, San Francisco Jewish Community Center. Also as part of our mission, this was one of our outreach events. The evening was all about the Lesbian Health Research Center and their Annual Gala Benefit. The chorus was honored to be part of the entertainment for this important and inspiring event.
26th Annual Pride Concert: All You Need Is Love, June 25, Mission High School. This Pride concert was a tribute to Brian Epstein, the first manager of the Beatles, who also happened to be gay. Brian added some panache to the act of the Beatles - the theatrics of the mop tops, the suits and their characteristic bow. Our chorus, SFGMC, and the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band welcomed our special guests - Beatles' aficionado Martin Lewis, who is the webmaster of the official Brian Epstein website, and the SF LGBT Pride's Celebrity Grand Marshal, Alan Cumming. It was great fun to learn and perform the music of the Beatles and of course the audience was singing along with all of us. One of our singers, Maya Lara, did a knockout performance of John Lennon's "Oh Darling."
GALA Festival VII, July 17-24, Place des Arts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This was the first GALA Festival to be held outside of the United States. The chorus traveled to Montreal to join and perform for 6,000 delegates representing 175 choruses from around the world. It was great to hear all of the wonderful choruses from Canada. Comedian Kate Clinton performed in the Opening Ceremonies. One of the important highlights of this festival was the Transgender/Gender Queer Festival Chorus. Ever since this festival, each succeeding one has featured transgender and gender queer choruses. Their stories and music has inspired all of us. Another highlight was the Voices of Women concert, which was a celebration of women's voices in GALA Choruses that was being presented for the third time at GALA. For you newbies in the chorus, GALA is the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses and every four years there is a choral festival with LGBTI choruses from all over the world come to perform for each other. The next one will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota in July, 2020.
Fifth Annual Invitational Pride Concert, August 21, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland. In this concert, we were guests of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus in their Pride Concert. Also on the program were Out on a Clef and VOICES: Lesbian choral Ensemble. This was another wonderful opportunity to join together with three amazing performing organizations and make music with them and to share it with the audience. We sang part of our set that we had sung at GALA in Montreal.
Somewhere Over The Top: An Adult Cabaret, September 17-18, LGBT Community Center. Under Miss Smith's guidance, she wanted the chorus to present two cabarets a year to showcase the many and varied talents of the chorus. This one featured some music with "naughty" lyrics and the finale for this was a Monty Python Sing Along. This was another fun evening of music for us and our audience.
Something's Coming, November 13, St. Aidan's Episcopal Church. This concert was a look ahead to the 25th birthday of the chorus. Our special guests were Voices: Lesbian Choral Ensemble. We sang some South African freedom songs, music by Samuel Barber, "Who Will Buy" from the musical Oliver!, among other songs and the finale we sang with VOICES was "Hold On."
Home for the Holidays, December 24, Castro Theatre. Once again we were the guests of SFGMC at the 9:00 pm show in their wonderful set of Christmas Eve concerts at the fabulous Castro Theatre.
Role Playing, March 1, Cafe du Nord. This was the start of the first full year for our new director, Stephanie Smith. In time she would be known affectionately as "Miss Smith." Our accompanist and assistant director was Vincent Peterson. This show was a cabaret evening for the chorus to showcase the talents of our singers. We were 38 strong as we began this year and we had great fun with this show.
Honor Our Heroes: 8th Annual HIV Prevention Awards, April, Ruby Skye. This was an outreach event for us and the chorus was honored to be part of the entertainment at this event. This evening was to honor four persons from the community who had done outstanding work in HIV/AIDS prevention. This was fun and easy for us and a way for us to be in front of a new audience. Alan Cumming was the honorary chair for this evening and Connie Champagne, Spencer Day and the Kent Strand Trio were the other performers that night.
Hope: Spring Concert, May 10 & 11, First Unitarian Church. These concerts took place on Mothers Day weekend and in the program Stephanie thanked all the mothers who were there to support their children. She also said "It is our hope that the music today will uplift, inspire, and offer you some comfort in these unsettling times." We sang "Dona Nobis Pacem," some South African freedom songs, John Lennon's "Imagine" in which our Yolanda DeByle sang the solo, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "How Can I Keep From Singing." Yes the music did uplift and inspire us and hopefully our audiences as well.
The 25th Annual Pride Concert, June 27, Mission High School. Last week I mentioned that the Pride concert was coproduced by both us and SFGMC after all the previous years where we were the sole producer. This Pride concert was the first one produced solely by SFGMC. This concert featured us, SFGMC with director Kathleen McGuire and the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band with Jadine Louie as director. Just think, at this point these three organizations were all led by three strong women.
The Band was started in 1978 with their first concert in 1978 of that year. Later the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus was founded and following the assassinations of Harvey Milk and George Moscone they sang for the first time that night on the steps of City Hall. In January 1980 our chorus was formed and tonight these three historic organizations celebrated this quarter century of music making and making change. The big musical piece we all sang that evening was "Oliver Button Is A Star!" and this was the San Francisco premiere. The final three songs for the evening we all sang together were "Don't Laugh At Me," "Everything Possible," and "Land of the Free." What a great way it was to begin Pride Weekend.
Night Falls Singing, December 6, First Unitarian Church. This concert came about as a way to celebrate the spirit of the deep winter moonglow to represent the changing of the seasons and our lives. We sang two times this day, at 3 pm and at 8 pm. As we began our own birthday season, we embarked on a journey and looked ahead. We started the night with Brahms "In Stiller Nacht," and there was music by Samuel Barber, Randall Thompson, "Stardust" by Hoagy Carmichael, "Turn the World Around," by Harry Belafonte and we closed with "The Long Day Closes" by Arthur Sullivan.
Home for the Holidays, December 24, Castro Theatre. Again we were the guests of SFGMC in their annual concert at the Castro which is their gift to the community. We sang at the 9 pm show that night. Also is there something going on between Stephanie and Kathleen, director of SFGMC? Hmm.
Afterglow, a Castro Cabaret, Cafe du Nord, February 22 & 23. This cabaret was an opportunity for the chorus to showcase for the community some of the individual talents that make up the world's oldest (and finest) lesbian/gay choral ensemble. Our special guests were Opus Q, which our director, J. R. Foust, also conducts. The show started of course with "Cabaret." There was music from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and "Beauty School Dropout" from Grease. The full chorus ended the show with "My Funny Valentine" and "A Handful of Keys."
The Promise of Living, St. Francis Lutheran Church, March 23 & 24. This concert featured music by some of our country's most prolific composers - Copland, Bernstein, Barber, Waller and Sondheim. Again our guests in this concert was Opus Q. This was challenging and educational for the chorus to learn this important music from these great composers. Also St. Francis Lutheran was our rehearsal space and would be for the next several years.
The 24th Annual Pride Concert: You're a Grand Old Flag, Everett Middle School, June 28. This Pride concert was the first time we shared production with the SFGMC. It was also the first time that the concert was an official event of San Francisco GLBT Pride. Our emcees for the evening were Sharon Gless and Sir Ian McKellen. This concert was also a reunion of sorts - the two choruses and the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, started in 1978, 1979 and 1980 as the brainchildren of Jon Sims. His vision was to bring something from the gay community to the mainstream, promoting tolerance and awareness of LGBT life. The music performed was by John Williams, Aaron Copland, Rodgers and Hart, George M. Cohan. This was also the first time that we sang "Harriet Tubman." This was the final performance with J. R. Foust as he stepped down as director.
Full Moon Full of Love, Cafe du Nord, September 21. This cabaret was our first show under the direction of our new Artistic Director, and former accompanist, Stephanie Lynne Smith. Our new accompanist was Vincent Peterson. Joining us for this cabaret were the Emperor Berlin, Empress Sheba!, Empress Chablis, and Coley Grundman. This was a fundraiser with the money going to our Australia contingent who will be singing at the Gay Games in Sydney, Australia.
Bay Area LGBT Choral Festival and Singin' for Our Supper, MCC, October 5. This festival was co-hosted by SFGMC and LGCSF. This was a wonderful day long event that brought together participants from the following choral organizations: Golden Gate Men's Chorus, Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Santa Cruz, LGCSF, Let's Do It!, Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus, Opus Q, Sacramento Men's Chorus, Sacramento Women's Chorus, MCC of San Francisco Morning Choir and their Worship & Praise Choir, Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus, Rainbow Women's Chorus (San Jose), SFGMC, Transcendence Gospel Choir, VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble, Voices for Diversity, Silicon Valley's Community Pride Chorus. We all had a great time getting to know all these wonderful singers and learning many things that would be helpful to all the choruses and their singers. The day ended with a concert, Singin' for Our Supper, featuring all the singers and a Festival Chorus, who sang "The Promise of the Future" by Gustav Holst, and "Watch Me Shine" by Richard Link. "Watch Me Shine" was composed for the 2002 Gay Games and will be sung by members of Bay Area choruses at the Games in November, 2002, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Gay Games.
Fall Concert 2002, St. Francis Lutheran Church, October 18 & 19. This was our first full concert under the artistic direction of Stephanie Lynne Smith. This concert was short and sweet as we only sang eight songs which ended with a song that was our trademark, "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Again the chorus is on a new journey with a new director and we all look forward to what she will bring to us. I was on the Artistic Advisory Committee at this time so it was a great chance to work with Stephanie.
Home for the Holidays, Castro Theatre, December 24. This was the 13th annual version of this show and our second time as guests of SFGMC at their annual gift to the community. It is always a good thing when the two choruses can sing and perform together. This was lots of fun and of course the audiences loved everything about the show.
2001 - Holding Court at the Palace, 23rd Pride, Building a World Together, Let Music Live!, Home for the Holidays
In keeping with our traditions of free concerts, in the spring of 2001 we traveled to Colma Cemetery on March 4 to take part in annual pre-burial wake of the Widow Norton, the First Empress of San Francisco. On March 17, we would again sing at the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park for the Grove volunteers and caretakers and visitors.
Holding Court at the Palace. This concert was held at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in the afternoon of February 11. It was an eclectic mix of choral works, small ensemble pieces and solos. I think that this was the first time we performed "How Can I Keep From Singing?" Other music we sang was "You and the Night and the Music" with Joan Goldman as soloist. We also sang "If I Loved You" from Carousel, "Of Crows and Clusters," a piece by Wolfgang Mozart called "Non So Piu Cosa Son" and we ended the concert singing "With One Voice." Stephanie Smith, who had filled in as accompanist at the GALA Festival was now our full time accompanist.
23rd Annual Pride Concert. This Pride concert was held in June at the First Congregational Church, SF. Our guests for this were the Lesbian & Gay Freedom Band, the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus, Opus Q and the Lollipop Guild of SFGMC. This was another wonderful collaboration with these great Bay Area singers and musicians. The music we all shared with our audience was as diverse as the five groups performing. At the time, Opus Q was the new kid on the block as they had formed earlier in 2001. Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus was formed in the fall of 1999 by Dick Kramer and their accompanist on this concert was our own Thaddeus Pinkston.
Building a World Together. On this concert, we were guests of the Oakland East Bay Gay Men's Chorus in their Second Anniversary Pride Concert. It was held on September 8 at the First Congregational Church in Oakland. The other groups in the concert were Opus Q, Out on a Clef, SDK, and the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus. Again this was another collaborative effort by all of the singers and we all had fun together and the time spent with these singers helped strengthened the bonds we had developed in the past. Also this was a benefit concert in support of the Center for AIDS Services, Oakland, Lighthouse Community Center, Hayward, Pacific Center for Human Growth, Berkeley, and Rainbow Community Center, Concord. This was the first time we had shared a stage with Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus and SDK. SDK was the newest ensemble in this concert having been formed in spring 2000. They were a male trio and performed an eclectic mix of pop, jazz, folk and showtunes. Thaddeus was also their accompanist. This was also the last time we were led by Michael Carlsen as our director.
Let Music Live! On this concert, we were guests of Opus Q in their first ever Peace Concert. This was held on December 8 and 9 at the University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley. The director of Opus Q was Jerry "J.R." Foust and also our newest director, so this was our first performance with him. We sang just two pieces, "The Long Day Closes" and "Shir L'Shalom." So this was the beginning of a new journey with a new director. J. R.'s musical hero was Leonard Bernstein so we were sure to be singing his music in the future.
Home for the Holidays. We were guests of San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus on their annual holiday show at the Castro Theatre, which is held every Christmas Eve, December 24, with three performances. This concert is SFGMC's gift to the community for all people who may not have had a home to go back to for Christmas with their families because they were gay. It was fun to sing our set and with SFGMC in this concert which always concludes with everyone singing "Home for the Holidays" and singing to a full house of people who really appreciated what we all were doing.
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.