Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers wherever you may be. I hope you all had a good weekend and that you have voted or are making your plans to vote. This week's editions will be about two more events we participated in with Michael. The first was that we were asked to sing in the SF Singfest by Mark Growden who is the festival founder. This was held in November, 2017, in the Mission Dolores Basilica which is a beautiful space to sing in. This event featured five regional community choruses so it was a great way to meet these singers and to listen to their music. The Bay Area has so much talent and it was good to share ours with these musicians.
The second event was our spring concert, "Passages - A Musical Journey Through the Stages of Life". This was a collaboration with the Lick-Wilmerding High School Choir and the USF Classical Choral Ensembles. This was also part of USF's Performing Arts and Social Justice program which we found out that Michael is very passionate about as we learned and rehearsed the music performed here. The singers from Lick-Wilmerding were on first and sang two songs - "The Hills of Tomorrow" by Stephen Sondheim and Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror". The USF singers then came on and performed "Der Tanz" (The Dance) by Franz Schubert and a modern classical piece by Jocelyn Hagen called "Sofdu, unga astin min" (Sleep my young love) and this was sung in Icelandic which was very impressive and beautiful.
LGCSF was then onstage as we performed 3 selections from Kirke Mechem's "BIRTHDAYS: Round Numbers - Bridget at Ten - Turning Twenty - Is Seventy Old?" One aspect of this concert that Michael brought to us is that we should be singing about things that happen to people throughout their lives. He brought us music that dealt with Alzheimer's disease both with a song written by a composer who was developing Alzheimer's and then a cantata in which the lyrics were written by people whose family members had gone through the various stages of Alzheimer's and how they coped with their loved ones.
We sang "Melancholy Flower" by Steve Goodwin who was going through the early stages of Alzheimer's and knew he had more music to compose but was not able to do it. A friend and fellow musician, Naomi LaViolette worked with him on this piece and provided the lyrics to his beautiful music.
The cantata we performed "Alzheimer's Stories" was composed by Robert Cohen after receiving a commission from the Susquehanna Valley Chorale on the subject of Alzheimer's disease to honor the lives of the family members of the singers of this Chorale who had suffered and died from this disease. The lyrics came from stories the singers had posted on a blog they created. There are three parts to this beautiful and poignant and humorous work. The first is "The Numbers" about the numbers of people who have contracted Alzheimer's since it was first diagnosed 1901. The second is "The Stories" recounting the stories the singers remembered being told by their loved ones. The third is "For the Caregivers" which gave honor to all of those who gave care and love to their loved ones and which was the most poignant and emotional part to sing through. I just want to say many thanks to Michael for bringing this beautiful music to us and that we got to perform it with the other two choirs and to sing in St. Ignatius Church on May 4, 2018 on a beautiful spring evening.
Take care of yourselves and I will be back next week with the next installment of the LGCSF History Corner.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Photos by Katharine James
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