Greetings to all of my faithful readers. I hope you are all well and washing your hands and staying home as much as possible. I thought I would continue a bit more with what I wrote about last week - the fundraising the chorus did for various AIDS organizations in the 1980s and fundraising that was done for us.
In the chorus archives I discovered two letters from Gary Menger dated November 4 and 5, 1986 that were the beginning steps of planning for the first "In Memory of Friends" concert fundraisers that LGCSF was involved in. He wrote in part "there's a need to mourn our dead, confront our loss, allow ourselves a moment to slow down and feel a catharsis." Gary also included a first draft of music he would like in the show with the music flowing to form a narrative from more innocent times to what was happening in the 1980s. This went through several changes before the final script was finished and I seem to remember that everyone involved thought the music selection was exceptional.
On March 2, 1986, there was a Comedy & Cabaret show to benefit LGCSF at the 'N Touch cabaret and bar on Polk Street. One of the comedians on this show was Tom Ammiano, who was a teacher and later was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the State Assembly. The other comic in this event was one who seemed to be everywhere at this time, Danny Williams. For those of you too young to remember these men, just Google them. The chorus also performed for the crowd.
Another benefit for LGCSF was held at the New High Chaparral bar on Market Street in the Castro on April 5. This event featured four different country western dance groups, the Savoy South Bay Stompers, the Foggy City Dancers, the S. F. Saddle Tramps and the San Jose Spurs. Of course Danny Williams was part of this show and our own Jene Bombardier entertained the crowd with her music.
On October 4, 1987, at Glide Memorial Methodist Church in the Tenderloin the chorus and Menage along with the Glide Ensemble and their musical director, Richard Dorsey, performed in a benefit for the S. F. AIDS Emergency Fund. I remember this was a really fun and uplifting event as we were able to perform before a new audience who really liked us.
Finally on December 18, 1987, the chorus presented a Christmas Concert and Carol Sing Along. The reason I mention this concert is that half of the proceeds from ticket sales went to the Larkin Street Youth Center and I believe this was the first time that we partnered with this wonderful organization.
That's it for this week and next week I will be digging more into what we did in 1985 which was a transitional year for the chorus. Stay well and stay positive - we will get through this. For those of you who maybe missed my latest Chorus Connection post the GALA Festival will be taking place next year July 7 - 11, 2021 in Minneapolis and after all this time away from each other I expect this will be the best one ever.
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero