2013, Part 2: Something Foolish
Something Foolish, Martuni's, March 31 and April 1, 2013
Hi folks, this is Pax filling in for our historian (and my fellow bass singer) Michael Lucero. I wanted to write about this particular concert as it was my first with LGCSF. I had seen the Love Bites 10th anniversary show, loved it, and joined the chorus right afterward.
The theme of this cabaret show was "Something Foolish", for April Fool's Day. I immediately thought of "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin. I suggested the song to director Billy Sauerland, he found a choral arrangement, and I got to perform lead on it (I was an alto at that time).
But before I got to channel my inner Aretha, we opened the concert with "Socrates, Plato, and Sinatra", a rather whimsical piece. We surrounded the audience on all four sides for this number. As you can see in our group shot, there isn't a whole lot of room at Martuni's for a group of our size!
After "Chain of Fools", the trebles performed "Buy Me This New Chain", which was "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" deranged by our resident parodist (and alto singer), Yolanda DeByle.
Wendy Tobias and Scott Turco then teamed up for the humorous "The Song That Goes Like This", followed by Andrew Field singing a smooth solo, "Kissing A Fool".
Andrew, Fernando Ruelos, and Dale Danley then beautified themselves with makeup while singing "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story. Ellen Miller and Tom McElroy followed with the duet "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" from Annie Get Your Gun.
Two more humorous solos followed; Howard Miller with "Sara Lee", and Wendy with "The Diva's Lament".
Scott, Tom, and Jason LeBrun then rocked the house in drag with "Three Little Maids".
Closing the show, LGCSF board member Nathan Marken performed "Wig in a Box" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which he was starring in at the time.
I greatly enjoyed this concert, as did our audience. This was the first of many great memories I made performing with our wonderfully queer chorus.
Next week's entry will be about our 35th Annual Pride Concert, Ripped from the Headlines.
In peace and harmony,
- Pax Ahimsa Gethen
All gallery photos by Pax Ahimsa Gethen
A Shameless Show of Holiday Shite: The Sequel, Martuni's Piano Bar, December 16 & 17, 2012.
Unfortunately I do not have a program sheet for this cabaret and I did not sing in it either so I do not exactly recall what we performed. I do seem to remember one of the songs was a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas with the 12 gifts very different from the original and there were signs that were held up for each of the 12 gifts for the 12 days. As with all of our cabarets at Martuni's we and our audiences all had fun, especially after a Martuni's martini or two.
Love Bites: 10 Years and Still Masticating, Mission Cultural Center, February 8 & 9, 2013.
Yes this was the tenth anniversary show of Love Bites, imagine that! In his program notes, Billy Sauerland wrote "Tonight's show is our 10th anniversary of this show and features some of the most beloved (or most biting, perhaps) songs from a decade of Love Bites. It is a pleasure to welcome back former LGCSF Artistic Director Stephanie Lynne Smith to help me co-emcee tonight's performance. As you may know, the tradition of this anti-Valentine's cabaret began under her direction, and since this year marks a first major anniversary, I am pleased to have her with us."
We were 33 strong for this show. The first act began with the full chorus singing "This Marriage" and "Down With Love." Next was a song from the Broadway musical "Avenue Q" called "Schadenfreude" and was performed by a sextet - Jason LeBrun, Carol Chen, Howard Miller, Tom McElroy, Janice Placido and Scott Turco. This was followed by Jed Herman singing "Beauty School Dropout" from "Grease." Our favorite deranger of songs, Yolanda DeByle, was next with "My Funky Valentine." This was followed by the songs "Closer," "Cruel to be Kind," "These Boots Were Made for Walking," "Taylor, the Latte Boy," and "Pimp You Out" by a guest artist, Mark Etheridge. The tenors and basses sang "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair" and the full chorus ended Act I with "Stacy's Mom" featuring Laura Liscar as the title character.
The second act began with Shane Kroll doing "Ring Them Bells" and his was followed by "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago" and performed by another sextet - Aaron Brewer, Andrew Field, John Gullotto, Ellen Miller, Howard Miller, and Janice Placido. Cat Dunford followed with "I Hold Your Hand in Mine" and this was followed by Wendy Tobias singing "In Short." Next Noam Szoke sang the torch song "Flush Down the Toilet of Your Heart" and this was followed by another guest artist, Liz Kennedy singing "Sensitive Song." Fernando Ruelos and the chorus sang Jack Curtis Dubowsky's all time love song "Your New Stupid Boyfriend." This was followed by Tom and Scott singing "Relationshit" and Jen Brown, the world famous Holiday Hotdog, gave it her all with "Why'd You Do It?" Next was Aaron Brewer singing "Alone" and the full chorus came on to end the show with "You Give Love a Bad Name."
We all had fun rehearsing this show and going back over these favorite songs from the past nine years of Love Bites shows and our audiences were very enthusiastic and they called out for more.
Next week's entry will be about our following cabaret at Martuni's called "Something Foolish" in honor of April Fool's Day.
Cheers, Michael Lucero
2012, Part 6: Loving Repeating
Loving Repeating - A Musical of Gertrude Stein, Mission Cultural Center, October, 2012.
As Billy, our Artistic Director, wrote in the program notes, after our successes with one-act operettas "Trial by Jury" and "Oepidus Tex," we were inspired to try a longer theatrical piece. Loving Repeating was the one we chose. The music is by Stephen Flaherty and the lyrics were by Gertrude Stein. Mr. Flaherty's best known musical was the Tony award winning musical "Ragtime."
The musical is told through a series of vignettes which came from a 1934 lecture Gertrude Stein gave at the University of Chicago. It is the story of Gertrude's relationship with writing and her romance with Alice B. Toklas. Joan Goldman played the part of Gertrude giving the lecture. Wendy Tobias played young Gertrude and Rachyl Underwood played Alice B. Toklas. Some of the other parts were Georgine Skeene played by Dale Danley and Helen Furr played by Daniel Lyons and Andra Kimball as the Dancing Cow. Just so you know, Georgine and Helen were nicknames that Gertrude and Alice used.
Our production was co-directed and choreographed by Michael Mohammed. We were all in costume and yes we all danced at some point during the show. Behind the main players, the chorus sat as a Greek chorus and what we sang were used to move the story along between the various solos and duets the main players had. Some of the songs in the musical were "A Sonatina Song," "Loving Repeating," "There are Many That I Know," "A History of One," "Firefly," "My Wife is My Life," "Men," "Kiss My Lips She Did," "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene," "The Thirteenth of April," "As a Wife Has a Cow: A Love Story," and "Do As They Do So." We had three other instrumentalists besides our wonderful pianist Paul McCurdy to accompany us. They were a second keyboard, flute and cello.
In addition to our regular Thursday rehearsals, the chorus went on a weekend retreat at the lighthouse and cottages in Half Moon Bay to work hard on the music, the dancing and of course to have fun, eat and bond with each other. All of our hard work paid off with our two performances and our audiences really enjoyed their evenings of live theatre.
Next week will be about A Shameless Show of Holiday Shite: The Sequel.
Have a wonderful week all of you wonderful singers and know that what we accomplished in our Rise concert was one of the best times I have had singing in all of my years in the chorus. You all rock my world, especially the new sopranos and altos.
Love to you, Michael Lucero
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