Greetings to all of my wonderful and beautiful readers. This will be my final History Corner for the year that was and I am continuing my series on Pride Concert Programs and Posters art this time from 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999. I have included photos of these program covers and posters for your perusal.
On Friday, June 28, 1996, was the 18th Annual Pride Concert held at the Herbst Theatre. This program with art was put together by Pat Parr, our AD, and during his time he created many program covers for a particular season and that had a common theme. A new chorus, Equal Voices, directed by a former of LGCSF, Rick Weaver, joined us for pre-show entertainment. For this concert our host and emcee was Donna Sachet, Empress XXX, who is a big supporter of ours. As this was our 16th anniversary, Donna joined us as we opened the show with "A Sweet Sixteen Birthday Fantasy". Following us were the SFGMC who sang selections from "Naked Man" and they were followed by VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble. After intermission the San Francisco Winds of Freedom opened up the second half and then we were on with our set and then the combined choruses and band performed "We Sing the Dream", which was the GALA Festival V anthem. Pat wrote in the program, in part, "Whether singing to our loyal concert audiences, at AIDS fundraisers, in hospitals, conventions, or at civic events such as the San Francisco Fair Gay Day, we of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus raise our voices and join our hands to share the power and love we fine in singing and working together."
On Friday, June 27, 1997, was the 19th Annual Pride Concert - One Concert, Many Voices at the Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Center. Our host for this night of music was our own Lisa Gray and featured pre-show entertainment by Jungle Red, which was an offshoot of LGCSF. This concert was held in honor of Sky Evergreen, a performer, jazz pianist, songwriter, arranger and recording artist. During the 1980s he played at many cabarets in San Francisco backing Sharon McKnight among many other singers. The chorus had sung many of his arrangements over the years as we did on this night. This was also the last concert with our AD, Pat Parr, and SFGMC gave him a tribute in loving appreciation for his selfless dedication and uncompromising artistry in the choral arts during set as the sang "Irish Blessing". There was also a Lifetime Commitment Ceremony - remember this was long before marriage equality - of two of our biggest supporters - John Dobson and R. Guy McGinnis with State Assemblywoman Carol Migden officiating. John and Guy wrote in the program "May the future of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus shine with creative renewal."
The concert with Lisa Gray singing "I'm Gonna Fly" and she was followed by our guests from Long Beach, the South Coast Chorale. They were followed by Equal Voices and then the San Francisco Winds of Freedom. After intermission Lisa Gray was on again followed by SFGMC. Then LGCSF were onstage as we sang three songs arranged by Sky Evergreen - "Lover Come Back to Me", "For All We Know", and "How Long Has This Been Going On". For the finale, the combined choruses and band performed the finale from "In Memory of Friends", "If We Only Have Love" and "Not a Day Goes By". Pat had conducted us in this concert in 1987 so we all came full circle in closing with these two songs with Pat.
On Friday, June 26, 1998, was the 20th Annual Pride Concert - "High on Pride - 20 Years Singing Proud" at the First Unitarian Univeralist Center. This was our first Pride Concert with our new AD, Trente Morant. This night of music opened with the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band and they were followed by SFGMC. After intermission our special guests from Canberra, Australia, the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire took the stage for their set closing with "Waltzing Matilda". How appropriate was that. Then we were on for our set with Trente which included a song written by Sky Evergreen, "I Open My Heart", which quickly became a favorite as we kept it in our repertoire to sing wherever we were invited. Trente arranged several of the songs we sang that night and we and the audience were treated to his flamboyant style, both in his fashion sense and his conducting.
On Tuesday, June 22, 1999, was the 21st Annual Pride Concert - "A Family Album", again at the Herbst Theatre. In the program notes we introduced our next new AD, Michael Carlson, and our new accompanist, June Bonacich. They were both a welcome addition to the chorus and we were excited to be working with them. The program notes read, in part, "This evening's concert, A Family Album - the 21st Annual Pride Celebration, begins the Chorus' 20th Anniversary and is focused upon our history as a community and a dedication of a hopeful, prosperous future. Tonight's performance is special for many reasons. Perhaps most exciting for the Chorus is its kickoff of a fundraising campaign and music-making schedule leading to its landmark performance at the Millenium Celebration of GALA Choruses in San Jose next year."
There was a new trio who joined us in this concert, the Bearatones, with our own Thaddeus Pinkston as their Artistic Director/Accompanist. Also joining us for the first time was the lesbian acappella quartet, Out on a Clef, with June Bonacich as one of the four. The GAPA Men's Chorus was with us again as were VOICES: Lesbian Choral Ensemble. The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band were on hand and then we were on with our set that Michael had prepared for us. One song that I really loved was Leonard Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" from Candide. This was very challenging to learn but very rewarding to sing. And we closed with "I Open My Heart" by Sky Evergreen who was still in our thoughts and hearts.
The combined choruses and band closed with "If My Friends Could See Me Now". We invited the audience to sing along so this was a great way to go out and enjoy Pride Weekend with our friends and to carry our spirits forward.
So long for this year - I wish all of you happy holidays, Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, Happy New Year or beautiful winter solstice. Keep music in your hearts and heads and I will see you in the new year with more of the history of LGCSF.
In love and harmony always, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers this week on this first Sunday of December. Are you ready to watch our appearance in the Band's Dance-a-Long Nutcracker this weekend? I know I will as well as trying to watch as many of the choruses in GALA in their virtual holiday cabarets and concerts. This weekend was Chicago Gay Men's Chorus' show and there will be concerts to fill all the upcoming weekends through the end of the month. This week I am continuing my series on our Pride Concert program art and featuring the programs from 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995. I have included photos of these four programs for your perusal. One thing I want to say about these programs is that we were able to reach out to the community and they responded by placing ads in the programs which helped us to pay for them.
On Friday, June 26, 1992, was the 14th Annual Gay & Lesbian Musical Celebration at First Congregational Church in San Francisco. This Pride concert honored the Tenth Anniversary of the Golden Gate Men's Chorus and featured an art exhibit by CASA, which was a social alternative organization focused on Gay - Bisexual Latino issues. It promoted HIV awareness and bi-lingual/bi-cultural services for its members and the Latino community at large. The MCs for this concert were Roberta Achtenberg and Tom Nolan, who were local politicians and great allies and supporters of the LGBTQ community in the 1990s. I want to recognize Tim O'Bayley who I worked with on the Production Committee during this time and he was the one who designed the programs for us.
The first chorus onstage was the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus who were followed by Vocal Minority. Next were VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble directed by our friend, Melanie DeMore. They were followed by Golden Gate Men's Chorus. After intermission the San Francisco Winds of Freedom took the stage who were followed by Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Men's Chorus. Then LGCSF came on and presented our GALA Festival set that we would be performing in Denver that following July. For the finale, the combined choruses and band performed "In This Moment" by Gary Simmons which was a GALA Choruses Festival IV competition winner.
On Friday, June 25, 1993, was the 15th Annual Pride Concert at the Herbst Theatre. From Pat Parr's welcome he wrote, in part, "Tonight's Emcees are legends in their own time both as entertainers and as supporters of Lesbian and Gay rights. Gail Wilson has charmed audiences with her fabulous vocal stylings, and she has devoted endless energy and time as a past Co-Chair of the AIDS Emergency Fund and endless fundraisers. Jose Sarria, Empress I of San Francisco, the Widow Norton, was fighting for Gay rights as a performer at the infamous Black Cat in San Francisco long before Stonewall was designated the beginning of the Gay rights movement. I am pleased to have worked with both of them in the past and am very grateful for their presence tonight.""
First onstage for this Pride Concert were Gail, Jose and LGCSF singing "You're the Top". We were followed by VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble, then came our own Menage, and the Winds of Freedom blew us away as they closed the first act. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus were on to kick off the second half and they were followed by our special guests, The Rhythm Method, a talented quartet of women from Denver who had wowed us with their performance at GALA Festival the previous July. Then LGCSF were on with their set and one of the pieces we sang was written for us by John-Michael Albert called "Survivors". The concert came to a grand finale as all the performers joined onstage to sing "We Shall Be Free" by Garth Brooks and Stephanie Davis. Once again this was another wonderful night of singing with our talented Bay Area friends and neighbors and our visitors from Colorado.
On Friday, June 17, 1994, was the 16th Annual Pride Concert at the Center for the Arts Theatre at Yerba Buena Gardens. In his welcome, Pat Parr wrote, in part, "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco is proud to present this evening of music in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Stonewall. It is appropriate that the three oldest self-identified lesbian and/or gay musical organizations in the U.S. have combined with one of the newer (four years old) organizations to bring you this concert of music reflecting the diversity, solidarity, and strength of our community. We are also proud to bring to our San Francisco audience for the first a chorus of mixed voices from the GALA network - the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus". The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band presented pre-concert entertainment in the Howard St. Courtyard of Yerba Buena Gardens.
The concert began with LGCSF and Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus onstage singing songs of protest and praise from South Africa. Then we left the stage to Seattle as they performed excerpts from their most recent concert "Boys and Girls with Stories". They were followed by SFGMC who closed out the first half. We came back for the second half with our set in which we sang a song composed by a member of the chorus, Rick Weaver, called "Portrait of Me" with its message "our portraits hang in every hall, every shape, color and size . . ." reflecting the universality of lesbians and gay men within all segments of society. The concert ended with the combined choruses performing "Circle of Love" which was written by Rick Weaver and Pat Parr especially for this 16th Pride Concert to unite the approximately 300 voices of the three choruses performing on this night. Needless to say we all had a great time as we rehearsed together with and spent time this weekend with these beautiful and talented singers. This program was put together by Leslie Steere.
On Friday, June 16, 1995, was the 17th Annual Pride Concert and we were back at the Herbst Theatre. Pat Parr put this program together and wrote, in part, "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco is proud to present our 15th Anniversary Season. As the oldest continually singing, lesbian and gay chorus in the country, we celebrate the life, energy, and strength of our community in all our endeavors: our concerts, fundraisers, outreach programs, and performances at many and various San Francisco events. In 1994 we were honored to be the first lesbian and/or gay-identified group ever to receive the prestigious Arts Excellence Award from the Business Arts Council of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce."
We had as our special guests for this concert the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington, D.C., marking the second Pride Concert where we had choruses joining us from outside California. We joined them onstage to open the concert with "We Shall Be Heard" and then we left the stage for Washington to sing their set. They were followed by SFGMC who performed selections from their summer extravaganza "KGAY FM: Sounds of the Sixties" with their special guest star Florence Henderson. Following the San Francisco Winds of Freedom were on with their spectacular sound. Then LGCSF followed with our set and then Washington joined us to sing "Behold the Hills of Tomorrow" by Stephen Sondheim and then came the finale with SFGMC joining all of us with the band to perform "Words Like Freedom" by Langston Hughes. Once again this was another wonderful and beautiful of music, laughs, friendships begun and the chance to hang out with our siblings from Washington in rehearsals and performance. There really has been nothing quite like a Pride Concert where the musicians involved come together for this one night, this one moment in time.
I hope you are enjoying this series of History Corners about our Pride Concerts, the program art and a bit of what happened during the concerts. Please let me know what you think. See you all next week here and please check out all the virtual holiday concerts of our sibling choruses this month.
In love, harmony and peace, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers on this last Sunday of November, 2020. I hope you are all safe and sane and healthy and hope you were able to celebrate Thanksgiving virtually with friends and family. Phil and I had a quiet one here in Alameda and shared a dinner of ham with a bourbon, cherry and pomegranate glaze, mashed sweet potatoes with Grand Marnier, a glass of Pinot Grigio and strawberry rhubarb pie.
This week for you I am continuing my look back at the Pride Concert program and poster art. The four program covers here are from 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. These four concerts were produced by LGCSF and sponsored in part by PCW Communications, Inc. and the Galleon Bar & Restaurant.
On Friday, June 24, 1988, was the 10th Annual Gay Musical Celebration, A Decade of Pride. In the Welcome our Business Manager, Linda K. Rohde, wrote, in part, "Tonight, on behalf of the members, staff and advisory board of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, I welcome you to the continuation of that tradition - THE ANNUAL GAY MUSICAL CELEBRATION - A DECADE OF PRIDE. Some of the faces have changed, both in the audience and within the ranks of the performers, but the warmth and enthusiasm of that first concert still prevails, giving us that comfortable feeling of 'returning home' after a year-long journey."
In the list of Production Staff for Art Design was by Jack Klaus. I was listed as the "Right Hand Man" and Judy Tauber, a soprano, was listed as "Right Hand Woman".
At this time we were at 48 strong voices almost equal in all four sections. In this concert LGCSF opened and closed the show. Our guests included the San Francisco ARCAIDS Theatre, the Chamber Singers of SFGMC, Menage, our jazz octet. After intermission the SFGMC were on, then Fiddlestix, our country-western quartet, then Jennifer Berezan, a singer/songwriter/guitarist whose first album "In the Eye of the Storm" was due that summer. Then as I said we were on to close the concert.
On Friday, June 23, 1989, was the 11th Annual Gay Musical Celebration which was A GALA Chorus Preview and held at Mission High School. LGCSF was at 54 strong. In this concert were the eight Bay Area choruses who would be participating in the GALA Choruses Festival in Seattle the following July. There were choruses from Sacramento and Santa Cruz who were making their San Francisco debut. This was a wonderful night of music as we shared the stage with these amazing choruses and heard some of the inspiring music we would be performing and singing in Seattle.
First onstage was the Golden Gate Men's Chorus, then the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus of San Jose, and then the Sacramento Women's Chorus. Next was the Men's Chorus Commission conducted by Gregg Tallman followed by SFGMC. Next came the Women's Chorus Commission conducted by Sonni Zambino. After the intermission was the Mixed Chorus Commission conducted by Pat Parr and followed by LGCSF. Next was the Santa Cruz Men's Chorus, then VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Choral Ensemble, the Sacramento Men's Chorus and the concert with all of the choruses combining to sing our own Jesse Kane's wonderful song, "Hand in Hand".
On Friday, June 22, 1990 was the 12th Annual Gay Musical Celebration - "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus Turns 10". This concert was sponsored in part by Grants for the Arts. The program was put together by Marsha Seeley and our publicist Jackie Hicks. The design of the ten candles were carried over to all the program covers for this season. Yes this concert marked the conclusion of the Tenth Anniversary season of LGCSF. It was our great pleasure to reach out to thank the individuals and groups that were instrumental in our creation in January, 1980. Through the vision of Jon Sims and the support of SFGMC, our founding director, Robin Kay, accepted the challenge to create a "mixed" chorus. There were 60 men and 7 women who met at the first rehearsal.
LGCSF opened the concert opened the concert followed by the San Francisco Winds of Freedom. Then Vocal Minority, formerly a small pop group of LGCSF, but then on their own, performed. They were followed by the then current small groups, Menage, Naugahyde and the Dinettes and Menage. After the intermission the SFGMC were onstage. Then LGCSF and alumni from the first ten years sang together - "I'd Rather Sing Soprano", "Somewhere", which had been our signature song, "I Sing the Body Electric" and "Hand in Hand". These were conducted by Robin Kay. This was followed by the big finale with all the performers onstage singing "Not a Day Goes By/If We Only Have Love". This was a wonderful night of music and hanging out with alumni of LGCSF and sharing our music with our wonderful audience.
On Friday, June 28, 1991, was the 13th Annual Pride Concert - "The Musical Event of the San Francisco Pride Celebration!" The publicist in the program is listed as Carol Northrup so I believe she created the cover for this program. Our Master of Ceremonies was Hank Plante, journalist and anchor of KPIX Channel 5 news. This concert was dedicated to Robin Kay, Founding Director of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco. As Pat Parr wrote in the Welcome "As producers of this concert it has been the goal of the Lesbian/Gay Chorus to include representation by different performing groups from the Lesbian/Gay community each year. We are very excited about this evening's program. The diversity in membership, styles and sizes of the groups performing is possibly the greatest we've ever put together. From Broadway to Gospel, traditional to contemporary, jazz to songs of protest, comedy to drama, the works presented tonight all have one thing in common - the dedication and hard work from each member of each organization to bring the music to life."
The concert opened with the wonderful Glide Ensemble, who were followed by the Golden Gate Men's Chorus, then Vocal Minority who were followed by VOICES: Bay Area Lesbian Ensemble. They were led at this time by our good friend, Melanie DeMore. So our connection with her goes back to 1991 and this concert. After the intermission the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus took the stage and were followed by Menage. Then LGCSF were onstage and the night ended with the Combined Choruses singing "Brothers and Sisters". Once again this was a night of wonderful and inspiring music and performances by all of these talented musicians.
Next week I will continue my look back at the art of our Pride Concert programs and posters. Take care of yourselves. Remember this Tuesday, December 1, is World AIDS Day and #Giving Tuesday. Sending my love to you all.
In love, peace and harmony, Michael Lucero