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