The Early Days   The Fall of 1972

     The Hot summer nights  began to cool and by early Autumn the  Street Choir was huge. Word of mouth had attracted the curious, the flamboyant, the searchers for enlightenment and some serious musicians. The Choir moved from Shelly Duncan's living room to Cheryl Gurley's house which was located on the side of a steep, winding road in Fairfax, California.
    Cheryl lived there with James Gurley, the guitar player for "Big Brother and The Holding Company".   She was quite the hostess even as she started realizing the intense situation she had gotten herself into. Every Monday and Wednesday night 25 or 30 people would park their cars in impassable places outside of  Cheryl's house putting dents in neighbors cars and  blocking their driveways.  Then with loving smiles they  would stampede  into  Cheryl's living room  tramping mud everywhere.  The Choir kids would play upstairs in  Hongo's and Django's room tearing everything up with great fervor.  Then after a couple of hours everyone would leave.
   Marla's dream of going Sufi dancing on Wednesday nights was over.   Instead she played the piano and taught harmony parts to  the sections that  had somehow become  the altos,  the middles, the sopranos and the guys.  She had also enlisted  Mary Gannon, the bass player for the all woman band The Ace Of Cups, to play the bass.  Mary was a good bass player and  a great entertainer. Later on she invited Diane Vitalich (also a member of the Ace of Cups ) to play the drums.The music was incredible and heartfelt and carried a message that said   "We just want to sing together because we love it and we will brave the wind, the torrential rain  and the difficult (if any) parking and the mud to do it"!   At times they were dysfunctional and often they were disoriented but they were always full of joy and grace. That was the Fairfax Street Choir in Marin County CA in the fall of 1972.

    Everything was falling into place. We had sections, a good bass player,  and we were blessed with  David Carlson who played the guitar.  He was an excellent guitar player and he was married to Karen Carlson who sang in the middle section.Talk about a lucky break for us. David was so patient. Any other guitar player would not have lasted through one song.   The group was ecstatic with this turn of events.  All of a sudden the Choir had a band backing them up and the band actually sounded good.
     But then tragedy struck. Mary Gannon decided she was going to move to Hawaii. On November 25th of 1972 she got on a plane and left for Kauai. Everyone mourned her loss, especially David. Someone  said that  for a while David got up every  morning and faced  the direction he thought  Hawaii was in while  praying  for Mary Gannon  to return.   The choir was in need of  a bass player right away so Marla and David let this guy named Jeremy have a try at it. Jeremy had an English accent and was a true gentleman. He said he could play bass but didn't have one of his own. Marla loaned him her  Fender Jazz Bass but finally the  Choir had to let him go as he didn't really know how to play the bass at all. We all loved him but it was Goodbye Jeremy,  Hello Clyde.
Karima, Karen, Doris and Gypsy, singing in the Middle Section of the Choir.