350 lovely people came to celebrate at the San Francisco Conservatory on Friday night. They were serenaded in by the Louis A. Botto (LAB) Choir which everybody appreciated, especially those who knew Louis and how pleased he would be about it. A few dozen former Chanticleer singers came; their presence was much appreciated as a symbol of the longevity of Chanticleer and its importance to the men who have been in it. The highlight of the evening probably was their joining us on stage to sing the Biebl Ave Maria, which we rehearsed at 44 Page before the evening started ( although if you've been in Chanticleer it's hard to forget it, there are actually singers who go back to before there was Biebl!) That was very moving to all - onstage and off. Our guest for the evening was jazz songstress Nellie McKay who joined us for our performance of jazz repertoire, starting with a Comedian Harmonists number called Freund ( sort of summing up our feelings about the fellowship we have.) The very versatile Nellie accompanied and sang from the piano in a few numbers, including Cole Porter's "Night and Day." She accompanied a quartet singing "She's nobody's sweetheart now" on the ukelele, and played the uke and sang in "Dedicated to you." That was fun. At a little VIP after party in "Memory Lane" which had been decorated with old posters, recollections by singers, and photographs, Nellie sang, and we toasted the first 35 years of Chanticleer. Last night, Saturday, we appeared at the top of Nellie's show at the Venetian Room - a legendary San Francisco jazz room, where we had never been.All in all, a great birthday. Now we'll rest up a bit and go back to doing what Chanticleer does in Oregon, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, both Carolinas, and Georgia.

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