San Ysidro

San Ysidro©
(A piece for chorus, brass and percussion)

(In memory of those massacred at a McDonald’s Restaurant

in San Ysidro, California, on July 18, 1984)




[A Note From FG]

The late James Reichert, composer and sound designer, created the sound scores for all of my Off-Broadway productions in the 1960’s and ’70’s, and also wrote the songs and incidental music for my play, THE PRINCE OF PEASANTMANIA.

In 1985 Jim asked me for a new text for chorus, brass and percussion ensemble. The Music Director of THE PRINCE— as I recall — was also on the faculty of a major Milwaukee Arts HS at the time and had commissioned Jim to compose a new piece for her (apparently outstanding) Mixed Chorus.

At the time, I had been haunted by the deaths, the year before, of a madman who did the killing, armed with a nine millimeter Uzi, a twelve gauge slide-action shotgun, a nine millimeter semi- automatic pistol. Jim thought the idea worth pursuing. So I took all the news stories of that incident and wrote the text. Jim then scored it.


The student Chorus and instrumentalists were outstanding. But the piece was controversial. Jim recorded the concert, but when I asked him later how the tapes sounded, he said that the tapes has been wiped clean. He assumed, sabotage.

I recently found a cassette tape of a performance — the only other performance — that the West Virginia University Chorus and Orchestra recorded decades later when I was on the WVU Theatre faculty.

Since that performance, the cantata has stayed buried in a bits- and-pieces box in the garage. Musical Director and Composer James Rushin transferred the cassette tape recording to CD and MP# formats. He also made a piano reduction from Jim Reichert’s full score. On occasion — over the years —I’d try to interest choral groups into performing the piece. I never got a response.

Eventually, on this Web site, I will write about my collaborations with the late James Reichert—a genius and an alcoholic.

San Ysidro text and performance — for download —follow: