1998 - Another Year of Change: Spice It Up!, 20th Annual Pride Concert and Classical Music for Cowards
I would like to say that as I have been taking this trip down memory lane for myself and my time in the chorus various memories come back to me that are important for me to share with you. First is that sometime in the late 1980s, Michael Clarke, one of our tenors, did most of the paperwork and research to get the tax exempt status that the chorus has enjoyed since that time. Michael also gave the chorus a generous monetary gift as part of his estate. And he was also a wonderful human being and I was glad to have sung with him.
Next if you can remember back to April, 1992. That was when the Rodney King riots were happening as the result of the verdict in the trial of the LA police officers who had beaten Rodney King. The riots in San Francisco were on the Thursday night before our Five Nights of Madness concerts when we were having our dress rehearsal. After the rehearsal was over, we accompanied each other to our cars just to make sure we were all safe. The concert scheduled for May 1 was cancelled as a precaution for us and our audience. Needless to say when we gathered on May 2 to perform our show, we had a sold out audience and we sang and danced our hearts out. That was a very emotional performance for all of us after all that had happened and we were able to give our audience an enjoyable concert and to make their hearts a little lighter.
Spice it Up! This concert was held on March 13 and 14 at the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason. Our director, Trente Morant, gave us a wide variety of music to give to our audience. There was everything from the Gershwins to Sweet Honey in the Rock to our friend Sky Evergreen and music and arrangements by Trente. We had some special guests - Jill Togawa of Purple Moon Dance Project, Jackeline Rago of Crosspulse and Jonnie Pekelny. It was a challenge for us to learn and memorize this music but in the end we had fun and our audience did too - they were up and dancing.
20th Annual Pride Concert: High on Pride - 20 Years of Singing Proud. This Pride concert was held on June 26 at First Unitarian Church of SF. Our special guests were Qwire, Canberra, Australia's Gay and Lesbian Chorus, the SFGMC and the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band. Jose Sarria, the Widow Norton, First Empress of San Francisco, was the MC for the concert. This concert was special because we had the opportunity to spend time with the singers from Canberra before the concert. It was also special since this was Trente's last concert with us. He had to step down due to health reasons. The last song we sang in this concert was a song composed by Trente called Take Off and he and we did.
Classical Music for Cowards. This concert was conducted by our Interim Director Bill Ganz, who had worked with the chorus in various ways in the past. This was held on November 6 and 7 at MCC. Our special guest for this program was the Oberon Quartet who played Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 as the overture to the concert. We sang music by Handel, Schubert, Faure, Puccini, P. D. Q. Bach, Gilbert & Sullivan and Hail Holy Queen from Sister Act. Again this music was challenging to learn but we did and we all gained a new appreciation for this music and we learned not to be afraid of classical music.