LGCSF History Corner: Some Musings on GALA Choruses Past and Present and Three Concerts I Watched This Weekend
Greetings to all of my faithful readers, I hope you are all well and getting vaccinated as you are able. Phil and I both have been fully vaccinated so we are now just waiting until the time comes when we can all be together again.
This time I want to share some musings on GALA Choruses past and present. In my archives I came across a couple of GALAgrams which were the way news from GALA was presented to all choruses in the 1990s and 2000s before social media and the Internet. In the one from Spring 1998 the cover story was about the second Singers Weekend and Leadership Conference to take place in Dallas over the Labor Day weekend. At that time when there were fewer choruses in GALA the Singers Weekends were offered for singers to come together and take part in either a mass SATB, SSAA or TTBB chorus under the direction of directors of a GALA chorus. Singers will be rehearsing, attending masterclasses and clinics and seeing old friends and making new ones.
In May/June of 2002 we received the 20th Anniversary Supplement of the GALAgram which talked about Why We Sing, Our History and Our Legacy - Twenty Years Together and Counting. What that meant then with the growth of GALA came the demand for more sophisticated education and training and strong artistic and social change leadership for GALA Choruses leadership. The GALA Choruses Board of Directors committed to the strategic questions that will strengthen choral relevance in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community and beyond.
During this time in the early 2000s there were two regional festivals which were held between the the GALA Festivals in 2000 and 2004. There was a Western Regional Festival in Seattle in May, 2002 and an Eastern Regional Festival in Cincinnati in July, 2002. At the Western Regional the first gay youth chorus in GALA, the GLASS Youth Chorus from Vancouver, B.C. performed for the first time. Also in 2002 the Gay Games were held in Sydney, Australia, on October 25 - November 9. Members of any of GALA Choruses were invited to come to be part of the Cultural Festival that was occurring at the same time and to sing in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and to sing in the big concert in the Sydney Opera House. Some members of LGCSF went to Sydney for this amazing experience and came back with great stories to share with us. Unfortunately I was not able to go to Sydney.
The third GALAgram I want to highlight is from Fall 2007 and was the Special 25th Anniversary issue. Robin Godfrey, the General Manager of GALA at that time, wrote, in part, "GALA Choruses is celebrating its 25th anniversary. What began as a network of support for GLBT choruses beginning to form in the early 1980s has evolved into an association of over 120 member choruses on three continents involving more than 7,500 singers. GALA Choruses produces the largest GLBT performing arts festival in the world with more than 5,500 delegates in attendance at Festival VIIe in Montreal in 2004 and a similar crowd expected for Festival 2008 Miami next summer". There was also a great article entitled "Mixed Choruses Play a Unique Role within GALA" which talked about the growth of LGBT choruses and the music they bring to share with the world.
Next I want to share with you that I spent my weekend watching three concerts from four GALA choruses. First up were the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus and Atlanta Women's Chorus presenting their show "Never Turning Back". It was the first time in nine years that the two choruses had performed together. It was really amazing as each song was performed in a different place either outside in Piedmont Park or around a pool where the women sang "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips and it was so much fun as they were wearing long gowns and dresses. The most moving song was "Angel Down" by Lady Gaga and sung by Panache, the men's chorus small ensemble, against a wall with George Floyd's name written many times. The most fun was a mash up of "I Will Survive/Survivor" which was filmed in a roller rink called the Golden Glide.
The next one was the Cincinnati Men's Chorus in their 30th anniversary show "String of Pearls". The pearl is the traditional gift for a 30 year anniversary so the title was totally appropriate. The men sang a great arrangement of "Fever" and "Moon River" and these were the highlights for me. Another highlight was "Take the A Train" by Billy Strayhorn and was presented with four dancers in what looked like a subway station as they went through their dance which was amazing.
The third one I watched was the South Coast Chorale from Long Beach in their 31st anniversary cabaret "How Can I Keep From Singing". Each singer introduced their song and talked about what was behind their choice to sing it and there were some funny and some very moving reasons shared. One highlight for me was the song "Mamma Said" which is by an artist who I had never heard of before, Mica Paris. I looked her up on iTunes and found she is British, a beautiful woman of color who had been in a couple of gospel groups so she has that background. Look her up and you will be amazed.
I know that the Cincinnati Men's Chorus video is still on YouTube so look for it. I am not sure if the videos of the other shows are still available but look for them. I will be looking for move concerts and cabarets throughout the spring and into summer of the amazing choruses that make up GALA Choruses. I suggest that you join the Facebook group GALA Chorus Members to see the schedule of upcoming concerts. Watching these concerts is a way that I am staying connected to these choruses until we can all be together again in person. Please let me know if you do watch these choruses and what you think about them.
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones and I will be back next week with more on our history.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
LGCSF History Corner: 1991, Production Committee, Pride Parade and Celebration Program
Greetings to all my faithful readers out there in chorus land. I hope you are all doing well and looking forward to getting your vaccinations. Phil and I have both gotten our two shots of the Pfizer vaccine so we are feeling good.
This week I thought I would do something a little different. This is my point of view of 1991 from my participation on the Production Committee (back when we had good working committees) and production of the Spring and Pride concerts. This is from the published minutes of our Production Committee meeting of 4/27/91. Present were Tim O'Bayley, Pat Parr, Terry Stalker, Linda Rohde, Todd King, Stephen Litzenburger, John Young, Chris Decker, Mary Cantrell and me. We talked about the Spring concert "Songstream" in the wrap-up where we reviewed the final budget and learned that the net profit for the concert was $1,280.78. This concert was our classical one featuring the music of American composers with two performances, one in Oakland and the other in San Francisco. Our AD, Pat Parr, reported that overall he thought the concerts went very well, with the exception of poor PR presence and ticket sales in Oakland. Tim O'Bayley, our production coordinator, said that he thought the committee did a great job and the areas that we can improve on are Program Ad Sales, poster coverage both in SF and East Bay, and press relations as there were no reviews. Obviously this was all before we had smartphones, social media, Youtube, Facebook, etc., so we had to get out and pound the pavement to put up posters, and solicit advertising from the community.
Next on the agenda was talking about all the production needs for the upcoming 13th Annual Pride Concert. Pat said his hope is that we fill First Congregational Church. We would be sending letters out to the participating groups on 5/3. They were besides us, Golden Gate Men's Chorus, Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus, Vocal Minority, Menage and Voices. We set the prices for tickets at $10, $15 and $25 for a sponsor ticket. We were in the process of being able to accept credit cards.
Among the tasks we all would be involved in were Facility/Technical - Tim investigated renting Pride flags to decorate the church. Mary volunteered her supply of scarves to decorate as well. We had our own mixer and microphones but may need to rent speaker poles. We will audio record this concert. We have to rent spotlights and contacting Hank Plante from Channel 5 News to be our MC and the possibility of TV coverage. For Publicity we will have an ad in the Parade Program and we will get a 25% discount for performing at the Parade Celebration. We will also get ads to all the gay papers and the SF Chronicle for the Pink Section.
The goal for the Pride concert is a $5,000 profit, with Tim doing graphic design and typesetting for the program. Phil Hernandez was the groups liaison and set designer. Todd King was the party coordinator, Marty Cormier handled tickets and ad sales and Pat took care of ticket printing, sound arrangements, etc. We also had three members who were Chorus Motivators to help involve the chorus with telemarketing, mailing, tickets and poster/flyer coverage. So as you all can see there was a lot going behind the scenes to put on this important concert for Pride.
One last thing is that in the Pride Parade and Celebration Program on the pages listing the Celebration Performers and Speakers the Chorus and Menage both performed in the 3:00 pm block on the City Hall Stage. Our own Lisa Gray performed in the leather segment on the Specialty Stage. Also I noticed on the Board of Directors of Parade 91 that our own Joan Zawaski is listed as Fiscal Coordinator. There was also a very interesting article in the Pride program entitled "In Defense of Drags (and Other 'Undesirables')" by Dennis McMillan aka Sister Dana Van Equity of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In part he writes "I fear it's time again for image-conscious homosexuals to write their annual letters, begging the drag queens to not embarrass the community by disgracing the parade. Now, we who dress wildly do not censure those who prefer to apper less flaming, so why shouldn't we expect the same respect for our choice of dress code?" He goes on to say that it was the drag queens in the Stonewall bar who fought back against the police in June 1969 and without their actions we might not be having this parade. It is always good to have a look at our wider history so we know where we came from and to take up the resolve to always move forward. There are three photos of these items for you to see. As I continue through the archives I never know what I will come across until I sit down and read through what is there. Stay tuned for next time as I share more of our history both Chorus and beyond.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all my faithful readers out there. I know you are out there because I have gotten feedback from you. I found some new to me material in the chorus archives from 1993 that I want to share with you. These show the outreach the Chorus was doing in the community beyond San Francisco. And in print.
First I found a program from the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus for a concert they produced in March of 1993 called "Classic Memories" held in San Jose. They were directed by Lynne McLaughlin. Their special guest was our jazz octet Menage. The concert featured classic pop music from 1890 to the 1940s with music such as "Bicycle Built for Two", "Ah, Sweet Mystery", "The Charleston", "Sing Hallelujah", "I Got Rhythm" and "Someday My Prince Will Come". Menage performed "Java Jive", There, I've Said It Again", "Time After Time", and "I Remember You". Both groups combined to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as the finale.
The second program I found was one that was In Celebration of Gay Pride Month for GALEEMAS (Gay and Lesbian Employees Association at Pacific Telesis) on June 18, 1993. This was held in San Ramon and the chorus performed songs from our concert "Fantasies: Fairy Tales Can Come True". We sang "Be Our Guest", "Never Never Land", "At the Ballet", "If I Were/I'd Like To Be", "Money Medley", "Beauty and the Beast", "Co-dependent Medley", and "Imagine". This was one way we went on the road to widen our audience and do what we do best - sing for our audience and have fun doing it.
There were two items I found that fall into the print category. The first one was an article in "Alice Reports", which was the newsletter of the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian/Gay Democratic Club. It was titled "Lesbian/Gay Chorus: 13 Years, 'Together in Harmony'". It highlighted the fact that we are the oldest "mixed" chorus in the country and talked up all our endeavors - our concerts, fundraisers, outreach programs, and support of San Francisco community events.
The article also mentions our Cable Car Awards for the chorus and Menage. Also it talks about our sold-out smash hit "Fantasies: Fairy Tales Can Come True" concert and the upcoming 15th Annual Pride Concert which we hosted. My takeaway from this was you never know where the name of the chorus will show up with new praises for us.
Also in 1993 the chorus published two newsletters which were mailed to our friends, family and audience members to let them know of what we had done and what was upcoming. This was called "LGCSF Newsline" and we had two issues, one in April and the other in October. In the October issue we announced the arrival of our first recording "Together in Harmony" coming out in March of 1994 and available on CD and cassette tape - yes Virginia this was way before music streaming and iTunes and Spotify. There was a photo of the chorus in Denver at the 1992 GALA Festival in the atrium between the performance halls. There was also an article about our fall concert which would feature music by gay and lesbian composers. One would be a world premiere written by our pianist Dwight Okamura of three poems by Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall (188?-1943) who was a writer and poet. Her most famous book was "Well of Loneliness". Pat Parr gives thanks to Rodger Pettyjohn for starting the "Composers" concert tradition. Four other members of the chorus also composed music for this concert so it was their world premieres as well. Are there any composers out there either in the chorus or in my readership who would like to have the chorus perform them. Just let our AD, Michael Reilly, know.
One more thing of interest. In the April issue there was an article about our 1993 Annual Fund which was our way then of fundraising for the chorus. It mentions that even a $25 contribution would help and that only ten $25 donors keeps our piano tuned for a year. That's it for this week but as I dig deeper into the archives I will be sharing more LGCSF history with you next week.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all my faithful readers out there. I hope you all are doing well and that some of you have been able to get your vaccinations wherever you are. Phil and I are doing fine and he got his second Pfizer shot on the 10th and I will get my second on the 23rd so we will be good to go.
This week I came across in my archives the program from our performances with the Peninsula Ballet Theatre of "Carmina Burana" that took place in March of 1997. I have included three photos of the program so please take a look at them. This took place during the Pat Parr era and it had always been a dream of his for the chorus to perform the Carmina one way or another. He wanted to make sure that the chorus would be at a point where we would be able to this amazing piece the justice it deserves. I am not sure how the collaboration with Peninsula Ballet Theatre came about but it was quite an ambitious one. There were a lot of moving parts in this production. Of course there was LGCSF and the dancers of Peninsula Ballet Theatre. What a wonderful opportunity this was for us to be working with them. In rehearsals we had a chance to hang out with them a little bit and to get to know them. They were directed and choreographed by Carlos Carvajal. There were two soloists, Roderick Gomez, baritone, and Patty Wolfe, soprano. LGCSF had worked with Patty in the past so we were comfortable with her. There was also Ragazzi, the Peninsula Boys Chorus. There were two pianists, our own Dwight Okamura and Elizabeth Keim who had worked with us from time to time. There was other musical accompaniment by Pacific Sticks. So as you might guess we had to really be on our A game for this.
For any of you who may not know much about "Carmina Burana" they were poems written by wandering scholars and vagrant monks in the late thirteenth century. They were collected by a monk in the Benedictine monastery of Beuron in Bavaria, and kept hidden until the monastery was dissolved, when they found their way to Munich. They were discovered in 1803 and published in 1847.
In 1937, Carl Orff composed this cycle of songs, extolling secular beliefs in the joys of worldly pleasures: drinking, eating, and making love. Carvajal's choreography illustrates the Wheel of Fortune these songs are based on, which weaves a never-ending cycle of life and death, happiness and misfortune, success and failure.
Prior to this the chorus had only sung "O Fortuna," the opening song of this piece so it was great to be able to sing the whole thing which goes like this: Scene I - Wheel of Fortune, Scene II - Spring Time, Scene III - In the Tavern, Scene IV - Court of Love and Scene V - Wheel of Fortune. The English translation of "O fortuna" is "O, luck, like the moon changeable in state, you are always waxing or waning; hateful life is one moment hard and the next moment watches over the mind's acumen in gambling, poverty, power, it melts like ice." This is from the program.
I will finish with this which I have shared before. In May, 2018, we went to Munich to attend the Various Voices European LGBTQI Choral Festival. One of the reasons I wanted to go was to sing "Carmina Burana" with 3,000 singers, a full orchestra, four soloists, and the people of Munich in one of the major squares on a beautiful night of music. This is one of my most cherished musical memories.
Next week I will be bringing back memories of the chorus so please stay tuned. Until then I am as always,
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers out there. I hope you are all well and staying that way by wearing your masks and washing your hands, etc. This time I thought I would write about Mary Cantrell, a long time member of the chorus, who was our wardrobe mistress throughout the Pat Parr years of the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s and beyond. In August, 1992, Mary sent a memorandum to the chorus re General Information re Costume/Drag for Chorus Members. She wrote:
General Costume Requirements: We do such a variety of concerts that the drag will probably change drastically from one to another. However, there are some basic you need to have:
Casual: Those appearances, like the Beer Bust or at Candlestick, etc. require: a chorus T-shirt in one of the rainbow flag colors (red, kelly green, royal blue, purple, orange, bright yellow), blue jeans, tennis shoes.
Formal: This will apply to our classical concert in the fall and for other occasions that Pat may designate: black dress pants (or skirts, if you prefer), black socks, black shoes, white long-sleeved, collared dress shirt (to wear with the rhinestoned black ties we have). This year we have added: black long-sleeved, collared dress shirt. So the drag for all new and old chorus members for the fall 1992 classical concert is: BLACK BOTTOM and BLACK TOP! No turtle necks or charcoal grey (sorta black) will do. As usual, ties will be provided.
At other times, we may go even more formal, which means the dressiest, glitziest, sparkliest outfit (in good taste, of course): long dresses, cocktail length dresses, tuxedos, etc.
Shows: Our spring shows are a whole different thing from either of the above, and there is no way to tell you what we will require until the show is more set. As soon as production for a show is decided, however, you will be given instructions on what you need. The Costume Committee will work with people to get you outfitted for a show, but YOU MUST WORK ON IT TOO AND LET US KNOW WHAT IT IS YOU NEED. Usually, you will need to bring in your costumes for approval by a committee member 6 weeks or so before a show, so handling this is very important to insure a smooth show.
I have a couple of notes about the Leadsheet from August, 1992. At that time our own Yolanda deByle took over as the editor of the Leadsheet. She wrote that she wanted to expand it and provide a space that serves you such as a Letters to the Editor column, a Bulletin Board for people who want to announce parties, things for sale or want to buy, etc. We had a garage sale on August 29 and we were working the Castro Street Fair and an Eagle Beer Bust on October 4 at which we were selling Ben & Jerry's ice cream. We were also singing at Candlestick Park on August 21 for the SF Giants "Strike Out AIDS" benefit. So you can see that fall of 1992 started out on a very busy note. One more thing I noticed in the Calendar for August and September is that, besides our regular Thursday rehearsals, there were sectional rehearsals on Wednesday nights, alternating between S & A and T & B. Also we had social time from 7 to 7:30 before rehearsal with a different section hosting. Why does some of this sound familiar as to what we did before Covid hit.
One last thing - in 1992 our three major concerts were "Five Years of Madness" in May, the 14th Annual Pride Concert in June and "Classics of Nature" in October with a concert in Oakland and a second in San Francisco. Costuming and drag for each of these concerts were different so it was important at that time to have the guidance from Mary Cantrell, as Wardrobe Mistress, and the Costume Committee to help us all look our best for our grateful audiences. After all isn't that why we do what we do in the way we do what we do? I have included three photos, two of them with Mary - one of these with Jim Oerther, Michael Mohammed and Pamela Cook backstage at Theatre Rhino - and a two-fer showing us dressed up.
Take care of yourselves and have a great week. Be on the lookout for virtual concerts and cabarets from our sibling GALA choruses on Youtube throughout the spring.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Greetings to all of my faithful readers. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe and wearing your masks, etc. I will be getting my first vaccine tomorrow, March 1, and I am grateful for that. This week I came across some interesting newspaper articles from the Tampa, Florida gay paper "Watermark" that had many items about the GALA V Festival that was held in July, 1996. I have included photos of these in this blog. Among was a photo spread titled Meet the Performers with photos of Chorale Internationale Gai de Paris, Manner Minne, the First Gay Chorus of Berlin, the Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Washington, D.C., MUSE & Cincinnati's Women's Choir, Washington D.C.'s Quintessential: Women Singing A Cappella. This Festival was hosted by Crescendo, the Tampa Bay Womyn's Chorus and the Tampa Bay Gay Men's Chorus. LGCSF performed on Wednesday, July 10, in Concert Block #8 and we closed this concert block following five other choruses, Denver Gay Men's Chorus, Another Octave - Connecticut Women's Chorus, Cincinnati Men's Chorus, Ottawa Men's Chorus, Bread & Roses Feminist Singers.
On another page in Watermark there was a list of the GALA V Schedule of Events. There was an Opening Social on Saturday, July 6, inviting people to join the 5,000 Festival delegates. Next day, Sunday, July 7, the delegates marched in the Tampa Gay Pride Parade. That evening was the Opening Ceremonies and World's Largest Hurricane Party. There was a parade of choruses, the keynote address by Dr. Maya Angelou, and Harvey Fierstein was the Master of Ceremonies. Sunday evening began the week of chorus concerts continuing through Saturday, July 13. There was a Gay & Lesbian Night at Busch Gardens with the Flirtations performing, a Women Celebrating Women Concert and Gala with Dr. Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock. There was the traditional Legacy Award Dinner and the closing Black & White Ball to celebrate the last evening of GALA V. Also in this issue was an article about Holly Near who performed at Festival as she had performed at past Festivals.
Imagine what things were like in 1996 especially in Florida to host this Festival. I read in this paper "As recently as March, protesters from the American Family Association complained that hosting GALA V and its large contingent of foreign festivals was a bad idea."
In the next paragraph there was this, "the week-long festival will showcase world class talent and a virtual "who's who" of gay entertainment." Everything and everyone came together to put on a wonderful week of sharing music, networking with singers from other choruses and just a feeling of belonging. I also found a copy of the Fall 1996 issue of GALAgram which is how GALA Choruses communicated with all the choruses about what was happening. This was way before computers and social media kept us up to date. The headline on the front page says "Festival V Takes Tampa by Storm" with pictures showing this. I included another page of photos from this as well as on the "Out and About" page showcasing what choruses are doing, there is an item about our upcoming concert "Opera: Grand and Not So Grand". And speaking of ads for us, I came across one from SF Live on their Intelligencer page promoting our March, 1996 concert "A Tribute to the Music of Elton John" which we perfomred at the Cowell Theatre at Fort Mason.
I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane of the chorus in 1996 and how we relied on the print media to learn about what was happening and how we advertised ourselves to San Francisco. Who knew then how the world would change in terms of how GALA would grow and change, how LGCSF would grow and change and how we continue to go on in this crazy time with our virtual performances. Enjoy the photos that will accompany this blog entry and please let me know what you think of what I am doing. I appreciate any and all comments and criticisms from you. Take care of yourselves, and I will have something more to write about on the history of LGCSF.
In love and harmony, Michael
Hello and greetings to all my faithful readers. I hope you all had a fun Valentine's Day and watched the Cincinnati Men's Chorus in their Dear Johns virtual cabaret. It was very festive and fun. This week I thought I would write about the history of Love Bites since we are waiting for our latest virtual Love Bites video to arrive with the 18th version of our ongoing gift to the community. I have included four photos of past program covers, including our first one so check them out.
First of all the chorus had been putting on cabarets before our first Love Bites in February, 2004. The titles of three of them were "Full Moon Full of Love", "Role Playing", and "Somewhere Over the Top". The idea for Love Bites was the brainchild of our AD, the beautiful and talented Stephanie Lynne Smith, aided and abetted by the Artistic Advisory Committee. I, along with Deb Cohler, was on that committee and we held meetings at Deb's house. I seem to remember that we talked about the success of these previous cabarets and what could we create to continue this tradition of showcasing the talents of our members. We were all of a similar mind that we more or less hated the schmaltzy love songs we listened to around Valentine's Day growing up and thought why not turn that around and sing songs that reflected an anti-Valentine's Day vibe since we had all experienced some kind of romantic breakup in our lives. When this idea was presented to the chorus it was like we all said "Yes, let's do this" so Stephanie asked singers who wanted to do solos, duets, trios, etc., to present her with songs to include in the shows.
As we went forward with a new Love Bites each year we came up with a specific theme and asked that the songs picked by the members fit in that theme. There were also full chorus songs that opened and closed the shows so there was certainly something for everyone to do. We all had great fun in putting these shows together and some of the talent we displayed and the songs that were performed by the soloists, duets, etc. surprised and amused us and maybe had us shedding a tear or two.
The very first Love Bites was held on Friday the 13th, 2004, at the LGBT Center in the Rainbow Room with our special guests, the Living Dolls, from Seattle. This was our home for Love Bites for the next two years. We also performed Love Bites at Theatre Rhinoceros, Exit Theatre on Taylor, and the Women's Building. When Billy Sauerland came on as AD in 2011 Love Bites was presented at the Mission Cultural Center where we had a 125 seat house, an actual stage and backstage. This was our home for the next few years for Love Bites. And then we went to Martuni's, the fabulous, intimate piano bar which has been home for Love Bites and Naughty and Nice. I guess this can tail onto what I mentioned in the last History blog regarding some of the venues we have performed in here in San Francisco. Wherever we were putting on Love Bites, our audiences found us, loved us and came back for more. I want to give the biggest loving shout out to Ms. Smith for her guidance and support and help she gave to us and especially for the soloists, duets, etc. who got out onstage and sang their hearts out for our audiences and for us.
So take care of yourselves my wonderful readers, stay safe and hopefully you will get vaccinated as soon as possible as more vaccines are on their way to a CVS or Walgreens near you or wherever you have your health care.
Sending all my love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all my fabulous readers out there in the world. I hope you are all well and staying sane and safe and healthy. Phil and I are doing well and just waiting to hear from Kaiser sometime for our appointment for our vaccinations. This week as I was thinking about what to write I came across a folder in my archives that had advertising for our Pride Concert 1998. Our Artistic Director at that time was Trente Morant and we had been working hard to learn our music for this concert. Our special guests that year were Qwire, Canberra, Australia's Gay and Lesbian Chorus. We had time to socialize with them between our dress rehearsal and the day of the concert, June 26.
First I would like to say that in 1998 there were several gay newspapers that were available to the community in many places. These included the Bay Area Reporter, the San Francisco Bay Times, San Francisco Frontiers and the Sentinel. The Pride Concert was announced in the arts sections of each of these publications, Out & About, Coming Up! and Pride Guide.
Also in 1998, KQED television had published a Lesbian and Gay Pride Month calendar which listed all of the content that was produced and shown on KQED in June as well as listing all of the various community events happening and the Pride Concert was proudly listed in this booklet.
Unfortunately I do now know who in the Chorus at that time was in charge of marketing for us but I would imagine it was our Public Relations committee who would have taken care of this for us. Also a large part of what we did to advertise was hand out flyers in the Castro and contact all of our friends and family to let them know what a fabulous concert we were producing and to please come and celebrate with us. Then as now word of mouth is one of the best ways we can advertise and let our audiences know when one of our performances is coming up. In this age of social media it is so easy to reach out to all of our friends around the world and let them know when we will be on Facebook or YouTube.
I have included photos of our flyer from 1998 Pride and also pictures of the notices in KQED's publication as well as the ones in the gay newspapers so check those out as well.
I think next week I will be writing all about Love Bites and how it started and how it has evolved over the years. See you then. Take care of yourselves, love each other and stay safe.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers, I know you are out there. I hope you are all well and staying safe and healthy and to any of you in an area where the winter storms are happening please stay safe and warm. This week I want to begin with one more item to go with what I wrote about last week - the awards and certificates that the Chorus received. I came across three items from the 1991 Cable Car Awards show nominating the Chorus for three of our concerts from 1990. These were all for "Outstanding Concert" and the three concerts were "The Lesbian/Gay Chorus Turns 10", "Brahms & Bernstein", and "Radio Daze". I am not sure if we won for any of these but of course we were honored to receive them.
My main thing to write about this week is about our early Leadsheets. As you who have been in our Zoom rehearsals this year one of our alumni, Jesse Lanou, has joined us to sing with us once again. During the first one, Jesse mentioned that she had been the editor of the Leadsheet starting when she first joined in 1981. I was not able to find any Leadsheets in my archives from 1981 but have some 1982 that I wanted to share with you and what we were doing then and what was in our calendar beginning in August. One item in the Leadsheet from that time is a suggestion for the streamlining of our name from "San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Men's Community Chorus" to "San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Chorus". Our rehearsals were held on Wednesday nights. BREAKING NEWS - the Gay Olympics torch reaches San Francisco from New York City on 8/22/82 and the Gay Olympics Games start on 8/25/82. The chorus participated in the GALA West Coast Festival on 9/4/82 and we had rehearsed for our set in this one day event. There were 11 choruses participating in the six hour concert at Nourse Auditorium. Those first five days of September, 1982, were busy with our rehearsal on 9/1, registration of the participating choruses at California Hall on 9/2, cocktails, dinner and show on 9/3, tech rehearsals starting at 9 am at Nourse with the concert starting at 2 pm. On 9/5 starting at 10:30 am vocal clinic and rehearsal for Gay Olympics Games closing ceremony and the performance at 12:30 pm at Kezar Stadium. The following weekend, 9/10-9/12 was our fall retreat at Cazadero Music Camp. The Festival Concert was a great success and there were many thank yous in the Leadsheet for our chorus members who worked to make everything run smoothly. On 8/11/82 the vote was taken for the chorus name change and there were 31 votes to change, 18 not to change and 3 votes for neither old nor new name.
On 9/21/82, at the Plush Room our subgroup, Vocal Minority along with Sean Martinfield performed. The chorus was now in rehearsal for their fall concert, "A Harmonic Harvest", which was held November 13, 1982 at the First Unitarian Church. In the Leadsheet from 9/8/82 Jesse put in a notice to look for a new Leadsheet editor as she would be starting a new job as a San Francisco Deputy Sheriff so look out all you miscreants. As of November 1 we had a new Leadsheet editor in the person of Janice Embrey and Jesse was happy to announce this change.
There was a call for ushers for the SFGMC's concerts on 10/22 and 10/23/82 at Nourse Auditorium. As we were getting closer to our November fall concert, there was a concert production meeting on 11/2, our dress rehearsal on 11/3, regular rehearsal on 11/10 and the concert on Saturday, 11/13. As we moved into December we were rehearsing for our performance in collaboration with SFGMC in their "Now Sing With Hearts Aglow" concerts on 12/19 and 12/24. We also went caroling in the Castro on 12/22 instead of our regular rehearsal. So you all can see that the second half of 1982 was a very busy one for the Chorus. Please check out the photos that I included to see what our Leadsheet looked like back in the good old days. Also a reminder: if you have any chorus photos with a caption that you would like to share in a future History Corner please let me know. My email is in Chorus Connection. Stay tuned for the next History Corner - who knows what will inspire me to write about from our singing past. Take care of yourselves.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero
Hello and greetings to all of my faithful readers out there. I hope you are all doing well, staying safe, sane and healthy. It is so wonderful to have a President who has an actual plan to put concrete actions into place to tackle the coronavirus and that these decisions are based on science and the facts.
This week I thought I would write about some of the awards and certificates that the Chorus received throughout the years. From the 1970s through the 1990s there were two separate organizations that awarded prizes for excellence in the gay community - the Cable Car Awards with their overall theme of Outstanding - and for excellence in live performance - the San Francisco/Bay Area Gold Awards presented by the San Francisco Council on Entertainment. Any awards given from these organizations were very prestigious.
The Cable Car Awards started in 1974 by Bob Cramer and he always included on stage and in the audience leaders in the political arena joining with entertainers, journalists, athletes, artists, photographers and civic minded persons to celebrate our community. The Chorus and its subgroups, Menage and Fiddlestix, were all nominated in 1989 and 1990. The Chorus won in 1989 for Outstanding Concert for our LGCSF Goes to the Movies. In 1990, Fiddlestix were nominated for Outstanding Performing Group, as were Menage, and as was the Chorus for Outstanding Concert "The Critics' Award". In 1990, the Chorus was awarded a Cable Car Award for the 1989 Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade Outstanding Performing Group. In 1992, the Chorus was awarded the Bob Cramer Award for Excellence.
The San Francisco/Bay Area Gold Awards were started in 1978 by a man by the name of Jack Essex and a group of his friends who mapped out the first Gold Awards to honor cabaret performers, singers, pianists, comedians and the cabarets and the jazz and comedy clubs where they were able to perform. In 1988, Menage was nominated for Outstanding Musical Group. Menage was also nominated in 1989 as well as our own Scott Johnston for Outstanding Male Cabaret/Nightclub Vocalist. So as you can see back in the good old days of live entertainment in San Francisco the Chorus was well represented.
As far as certificates that the Chorus has received in the past, I want to mention two certificates we received in 2005. These were both Certificates of Honor from the City and County of San Francisco and signed by then Mayor Gavin Newsom. The first was awarded on January 20, 2005, and recognized and honored the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1980 by John Sims as the world's first gay and lesbian choral ensemble, the chorus has entertained audiences throughout the Bay Area and across the world.
The second was awarded on May 7, 2005, and it recognized and honored the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco for 25 years of building and enriching our communities with music. Your voices are helping to transcend the barriers of race and sexuality and unite individuals from all walks of life. Congratulations!
I want to give a shout out to one of our alumni who joined us last Thursday on Zoom, my good friend Jesse Lanou who now lives in Oregon. She was the first to respond to my outreach on Facebook to join us this season and I hope we will hear and see other alumni in the future. One of the memories I have of Jesse is when my partner, Philip, and I helped Jesse backstage at one of the Cable Car Awards shows. It was a long day of work but also a lot of fun and we got to interact with the presenters and the performers.
One last thing before I sign off for this week. There is something a little different that I would like to do for a future History Corner, or maybe two of them. That would be to request any backstage photos that any of you have and that I could use and put captions with the photos as a visual glimpse of what we have done. Please upload your pictures to Dropbox or to my email which is in Chorus Connection. I look forward to seeing your photos. Take care of yourselves this week and see you on Zoom on Thursday.
In love and harmony, Michael Lucero