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 hot sunny day in June of 1972.  My friend Barbara and I were looking for a 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 just left a moderately successful all woman band called the Ace Of Cups and was happy to be on leave from the San Francisco music scene which was quite the buzz in the 60's. Barbara and I were tired of looking for places to live for the day and decided to go hang out with some friends over at Shelly Duncan's house. Shelly had a baby grand piano. Her husband was Gary Duncan one of the guitar players in The Quicksilver Messenger Service band and they were on the road. We ended up singing a few songs and had such a great time that Shelly said we should all get together and do it 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 and encourage people to sing with me. Some of these people  worked with me at the Sleeping Lady and when there were no customers or we had a break we would hang out at the piano and sing. Some of those people ended up coming to Shelly's house to sing the next time we went there. Later on some of the people who came to Shelly's were actually customers of The Sleeping Lady. Some who showed up were friends of the Ace Of Cups band or the wives or girlfriends of the Sons of Champlin band or the Hug band. Linda (Isa) Haggerty was the sister of Terry Haggerty, the guitar player for the Sons. I remember that Karen Trefts tried out for the choir in Shelly Duncan's living room by singing Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings.  The choir began to get to 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 continue singing together.
One of the great 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 there was a place for her in the choir. I said I didn't know as I had just 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 choir practices to two times a week and they had chosen Monday and Wednesday nights. When I quit rather than give up Sufi dancing it did not sit well with the Choir. As a matter of fact certain members  had accused me of leaving them stranded without a piano player. They said that everyone had gone to practice and I wasn't there to play the songs and keep them in tune or give them their parts.  I was told that 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 got to go 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. 
First row from left to right
0riginal membeers
Marla Hunt,Wendy Palmer, Karen Trefts,
Linda Haggerty, 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