Alum Johnny Mathis Remembers Christmas in San Francisco

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- When he picks up the phone, Johnny Mathis introduces himself as “John,” which was how he was known as a child at Emerson Elementary School in San Francisco, a teen at George Washington High and a young man at San Francisco State. Mathis sang throughout those years, but never more than at Christmastime, when he was a fixture in choirs at the bustling downtown San Francisco department stores. The 79-year-old returns to the Bay Area this weekend for two concerts. “I was a member of every choir in school; the mixed voice choir, the all-boys choir and then I got involved with the ROTC, and I was in a choir there at San Francisco State,” he says. “And of course at Christmastime, we were it, because we were free. I remember singing in the loft, way up high at the Emporium and several other department stores at Christmastime, with all different kinds of choirs.”