Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus recently presented Paradise Found as part of their spring concert for season number 39. The evening ran the gamut of musical styles, from "The Hills of Tomorrow" from Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" to the enchanting "Bali Ha'i" and "Some Enchanted Evening" from Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific to "Kaua I Ka Huahua'i" the traditional Hawaiian war chant.
The concert featured the Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu Dance Company who did some wild and energy-driven dances. It was exciting to watch those dancers move. The concert also featured some world premieres: the 15-minute "Paradiso," with music by James Granville Eakin III and lyrics by Dr. Timothy Seeing, the Artistic Director of the chorus; "Sanctuary," with music by Ola Gjeilo and lyrics by Charles Anthony Silvestri; Steve Hiffines' "Heaven Is Where You Are"; and "Dance with the Storm" by Andrew Lippa. This new work was electrifying. There was also a gorgeous arrangement of "Over the Rainbow" by Andy Beck.
The first half of the program was extremely tranquil, with the exception following after an exquisite rendition of "Nearer My God to Thee." There was another lively Hawaiian war chant called "E ala e." The second half was livelier and featured all 250 men in Hawaiian style shirts and white pants.
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performed Paradise Found in the recently renovated Herbst Theatre for the first time over a decade, from March 30 - April 2nd, 2017.