Noe Valley Voice June 2003

Letters to the Editor

Try Hong Kong, Not Paris


I read with interest the letter by SPUR president Jim Chappell evoking Paris as a model of urban density [May 2003 Voice]. It seems nicely timed to address the neighborhood objections to the proposed construction at 3953 24th Street (across from Bell Market).

While Paris is a lovely city to cite as a model--for its 85-foot buildings on streets only 50 feet wide--I would like to remind readers that Paris is blessed with wide boulevards within two or three blocks of this dense housing. It also has large open parks, public spaces, fountains, and market areas, spread throughout the romantic historic sections we love. They knocked down whole city blocks of housing to create this civic grandeur well over a century ago.

I would like to suggest that with our narrow streets and the density Mr. Chappell is recommending, we should consider Hong Kong the model of our future, not Paris certainly.

Jean Amos

Elizabeth Street

Imagine If You Were Looking for Men's Wear


The article titled "Tiny Clothes or Big Fat Me?" that appeared in the May Voice was nothing but a fluff piece, but even at that, I think it was unfair to the local stores. First of all, I don't know a woman alive who doesn't know that a size 8 in one store or by one manufacturer can be very different from another. Secondly, the stores in the area face a competitive battle and don't carry sizes that don't sell, so if you're not finding things you can wear, then somebody else must be shopping there.

As a man living in the area, how do you think I feel with virtually no stores to buy from? But that doesn't make me say, Damn, nobody wants me.

Stephen Farrell

Via e-mail

A Reunion of the Rainbow


Thank you for the terrific piece you did on our "All in This Together" premiere in Buffalo, N.Y., in March ["This and That," March 2003 Voice].

The Earth Day concert drew a record-breaking crowd at the Kleinhans Music Hall. There were 1,700 people, which was the biggest turnout for a family concert in recent years for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Needless to say, we were pleased. For me as the composer (along with Nancy Schimmel, who alas, was not there), it was truly the thrill of a lifetime. There were nearly 200 people involved in the performance--112 singers, 78 musicians, the conductor, and, of course, Mother Earth. It was really a smash. And to think, it all started here in Noe Valley with 12 little girls! That brings me to the next exciting news:

Nancy Schimmel and I have just released a compilation CD of the greatest hits from the original Singing Rainbow recordings All in This Together and Head First and Belly Down. The new CD is called Sun, Sun Shine--Songs for Curious Children, and it has 18 terrific cuts on it written by myself, Nancy Schimmel, and Nancy's mom, Malvina Reynolds (the "mother of the children's music movement," who wrote "Little Boxes" and "Turn Around," among other great songs). Now we're hoping to locate all of the Singing Rainbow alumni who performed on the original tapes.

Most of the original group has stayed pretty close and I know where they are: Vanessa June Marshall is on her way to New York to take a shot at Broadway while she gets her master's in musical theater; Michelle Diaz is on her way to Italy to spend her senior year at Cal studying opera; Ariana Dillon is here in San Francisco working at the University of San Francisco; Garnet Herndon lives in the East Bay and has just had her first baby (the first member of the next generation of Rainbow singers!); Meg Dane has recently graduated from Mills College and is just back from a year in the south of France; and Lesa Cassidy graduated from Evergreen in Washington and just got married. Whoosh! Amazing!

There are also lots of other kids who went through the program but who didn't actually sing on either of the recordings, such as Blake Parker, who is finishing his sophomore year at Humboldt and considering becoming an elementary school music teacher! Needless to say, I am prouder than proud of all of these kids and honored to have been able to work with them over the 13 years the Rainbow sang in Noe Valley. I am planning a "reunion" concert, so I would appreciate locating as many Rainbow members as possible.

Here are some of the "missing": Mariel Alexandre, Damien Baines, Cody Bannerman, Melissa Bianco, Katie Bieringer, Amy Chan, Julia Kenworthy, Peregrine Lannin-Honig, David Martin, Melanie Martinez, Caitlin Brook Powell, Alicia Roca, Marti Smith, Dannisha Thomas, Fionna Thomas, Abby Topolsky, Sophie Topolsky, and Lea Vella.

If your name is on my list (or if you know someone's whereabouts), give me a call at 415-648-8471.

Candy Forest, Director

Singing Rainbow Youth Ensemble

THE VOICE welcomes your letters to the editor. Write the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Or e-mail Please include your name, address, and phone number. (Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication.) Be aware that letters may be edited for brevity or clarity. We look forward to hearing from you.