The Fairfax Street Choir
on Bolinas Rd in Fairfax

The Beginning of the Fairfax Street Choir

by Marla Hunt Hanson

     The Fairfax Street Choir began on a sunny day in June of 1972.  My friend Barbara and I were looking for a new place to live. We had been staying at a friends house while we searched the want ads and the word of mouth leads. I had been part of  a moderately successful all woman band called the  Ace Of Cups and was on leave from the 60's San Francisco music scene.  After looking for places to live Barbara and I decided to go over to Shelly Duncan's house.
     Shelly had a baby grand piano. Her husband, Gary Duncan, was a guitar player in  The Quicksilver Messenger Service Band and they were on the road.  Some of our friends were there and we ended up singing a few songs.  We had such a great time that Shelly said we should all get together again. Meanwhile I was working at the newly opened Sleeping Lady Cafe which had an old upright  piano against one of the walls next to a small stage. I would sit down every now and then and play it while encouraging people to sing with me. Some of these people  worked with me at the Sleeping Lady Cafe and when there were no customers or we had a break we would hang out at the piano and sing. They ended up coming to Shelly's house to sing the next time we met there.
    Later on some of the people who came to Shelly's were actually customers of The Sleeping Lady. Some were friends of the Ace Of Cups Band or the wives or girlfriends of the Hug Band or the Sons of  Champlin Band.  Karen Trefts who later came to be  known as "Hosanna"   tried out for the Choir in Shelly Duncan's  living room by singing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". The Choir began to get too big for Shelly's living room and Quicksilver was back from the road so  we needed a new  place to meet if we wanted to keep singing together.
     One of the greatest places in Fairfax during those years was the Koffee Klatch. That was where Cheryl Gurley cornered me at one of the tables and asked if I thought there was a place for her in the choir. I said I didn't know as I had quit the choir to go Sufi dancing on Wednesday nights. Bill Mathieu, otherwise known as Allaudin, was the leader of the Sufi Choir. He could make a whole group of people sing at Sufi dances and it sounded good. I had such a great time when I would go but it didn't last long. The Choir had decided to increase the choir practices to two times a week and had chosen Monday and Wednesday nights. When I decided to quit rather than give up Sufi dancing it did not sit well with the Choir. In fact certain members accused me of leaving them without a piano player. They said that everyone had gone to Choir practice and I wasn't there to play the songs and keep them in tune or give them their parts.They  said no one else was nuts enough to play for them and I had better get it together and come back. So the following Wednesday I went back. I never went Sufi dancing again. Oh yes and Cheryl Gurley? She became the first manager of the Fairfax Street Choir and we started having choir practice at her house.
The Fairfax Street Choir Original Members
First row from left to right
Marla Hunt,Wendy Palmer, Karen Trefts "Hosanna"
Linda Haggerty "Isa", Laura Allan, Laurie Beem,
Cheryl Gurley
Middle row from left to right
Debbie Wolf, Clyde Niesen, Debbie Page, Steven Galloway
Kit Lacy, Doris Chapman, Carol Alexander, Patty Baker
Top row left to right
Lorna Dune, Tom Bryant, Shaun, Maylok, Marlin
Roger, Ralph Penuneri