by Tenille Flower
The last time I went to Out and Loud Festival it was 2007 in Melbourne, and I was a self-described “token straight girl” singing with the Gay & lesbian Singers of WA. A lot has changed since then (well everything actually), but I can still remember the buzz of singing in the mass combined choir at the final concert and how I felt in that moment. Connected. Because that is what singing in community choirs like Brisbane Pride Choir really is about. Adding your voice, creating a beautiful sound together, and sharing that with an audience is an experience like no other.
The act of going to a festival like Out and Loud with a choir is about connecting in other ways too. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like travelling with people to really get to know them, and the shift from acquaintance to friend is pretty fast. When I went to Out and Loud in 2007 I didn’t consider myself part of the LGBTIQ+ community, but I was an ally. I loved my choir because we were connected by music, however that weekend we also forged connections through shared experiences, whether it be skipping workshops to go to the art gallery, singing loudly in restaurants (four part harmony of course) to the bemusement of unsuspecting staff, or deciding to risk the extremely dubious looking pool late at night at the dodgy hotel we were all staying in. I value those moments as much as the official performances and workshops the festival offered. This year I’m excited to sing in the National Gallery as well as at the final Gala, and I may even attend a workshop or two, but really it’s all about hanging out with my choir family. I look forward to getting to know my BPC peeps through shared experience, catch up with my WA choir friends who will be there, and maybe make some new friends in choirs all over this region. Are we there yet?!
Out and Loud Festival is being held in Canberra from 24th October to 28th October 2019.
Check out the range of performances in Canberra as part of Out and Loud Festival:
Come along to the Out and Loud Gala performance in Canberra on Sunday 27th October at 5pm. For more information and to book, click this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2506812259377486/?ti=icl
By Johnathan Morey
Community is something you see and feel, not something you hear about at the Pub. It’s the feeling of connection when you are welcomed by a group of people, and the smiles on faces from shared jokes. Brisbane Pride Choir provides such a warm sense of community for its members, and I’m very excited to see that joy moving deeper into Brisbane’s community.
It’s not long now, you’ll be seeing us in the community at the Pride Fair Day or at the World Aids Day vigil. We do these things not because we have to according to gay law, but because we have a community driven soul. Since I’ve become a member of the Pride choir, it’s really shown me the strength in the queer community.
I joined the Pride Choir in February last year, and as a 25 year old gay male, it was my first experience in a queer community group. I guess I’d heard about queer community groups, but I’d definitely never seen one, and had no idea why they existed. But within a month, it was clear, and I was glad to be in one. It wasn’t the fact that we all liked the same people, it was that we had a matching values, and shared experience. We all came from the minority. We understood what it meant to be mistreated, underrepresented and at risk, but looking for more in life and willing to explore our options for a fruitful life we deserve.
Our choir is full of very strong characters, and full of a long Pride filled history with our member’s stories and lessons learnt. It is astounding to hear from each other at our meetings, breaks and before choir gatherings of the real struggles we deal with every day. May it be the ability to get access to PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), sharing of family struggles, or bigots in our daily dealings. Together we are stronger, and together we provide strength.
Earlier this year we celebrated at the Brisbane Melt Festival Launch held at Brisbane Powerhouse on IDAHOBIT Day; the celebration of 29 years since Homosexuality had been declassified as a mental disorder. To share moments like these through music, you see the passion in our own and our audience’s faces as we mix our life long loves of pride and song. This is why Brisbane Pride Choir has a key place in Brisbane’s community, and we aren’t going anywhere.
At our latest creative meeting, we joyfully decided to see what we could do to get more involved with the Brisbane Community, working with other minority groups and those who would have such joy sharing time with our people. I’m excited to share we are looking into concerts and workshop experiences coming up with hospitals, disability services, aged care, indigenous groups and more.
I’m proud to be a member of Brisbane Pride Choir because we always have a place for you, no matter your stripe on the rainbow, we are a going to walk down the parade with you.
by David Hardy
2018 was the year we celebrated more than 20 years performing and telling our stories in Queensland and beyond.
Tim Smetham, our Music Director for the past seven years led the Choir in our most ambitious program ever, the YES concert at Brisbane’s Powerhouse in May 2018. We brought together current and former singers, as well as our founding Music Director, Marina Aboody Thacker in a tribute concert to Australia’s YES vote for marriage equality.
Our special guests at the May concert included Lucinda Shaw, Candy Surprise, Dawn Daylight and Mary Jane Carpenter. Early in our history, we had a small group of singers, Petit Four that regularly performed in the 2000s. The May concert brought back singers from this group who travelled from Tasmania, Victoria and even Malaysia. Our ‘YES’ concert also honoured three people who had recently passed away, including prominent singer Carol Lloyd, former Choir member Jimmy Finn and the Melbourne musician, Ben Leske who composed a major work, ‘Mianjin Millen’, which we performed in 2016.
2018 has been a momentous year, which began before our May concert. Alongside Candy Surprise, we performed at the ‘Sparkle in the Sand’ concert as part of the Gold Coast’s Commonwealth Games. The Choir was featured at the opening in July of the expanded New Farm Library, the Choir’s rehearsal home for the past four years. And in September, we sang at the Brisbane Square Library, part of an ongoing series in recent years of performances at public libraries.
2018 marked the fond farewell of Tim Smetham as Music Director, and the appointment of an interim MD, Robert Dryden. Towards the end of 2018, we were delighted to engage a new Music Director, Queensland Conservatorium graduate and former Choir singer, Elliot Rentoul. Elliot alongside our piano accompanist, Peter Ridgeway, have led the Choir in performances around Brisbane during the final months of 2018, including for the World AIDs Day event on 1 December. The Choir has featured at every WAD and Pride Fair Day event since it first formed in 1998.
As Marina Aboody Thacker wrote for a recent program, “we formed, as the Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir, in 1998. We weren’t a choir at the start but just a group of people who came together for a series of singing workshops funded by a Brisbane City Council grant. The fire was lit with those workshops and just a few months later we performed at the annual Pride Fair Day.”
Since 1998, the Choir has been an important part of the LGBTIQ community, singing and telling our stories, not only in Brisbane but around Australia and internationally. Some key events included: