On the final day of Various Voices in Dublin, and having consumed yet another full Irish breakfast, we mused on what the festival had meant to us.
‘I didn’t know what to expect. What I encountered was a spectacular festival with amazing choirs. Everyone has been incredibly friendly. And given the originality from different choirs, it redefined the word ‘choir’ for me.’
‘I loved the choir from Iceland as well as Gay Abandon. Sometimes it didn’t matter how big the choir was to create an amazing sound.’
Tim (Music Director)
‘I really enjoyed watching different conducting styles – I will definitely incorporate a few good ideas I saw at Various Voices into our own choir’s performances. Also loved networking with other choir MDs including Jane from Leeds and Kathleen from Melbourne.’
‘I loved the choirs that performed their hearts out, and the amazing costumes. One of the outstanding groups was The Homophones, just ten guys in wigs and glasses and looking like Nana Mouskouri. And outside the performances, the opportunity to meet people from other choirs; finding old friends and making new friendships.’
‘I enjoyed our impromptu times on tour, like rehearsing in front of York Minster before we performed that night with Gay Abandon in Leeds. And then at the festival in Dublin, as part of a gathering of GLBTI singers, it was the sense of belonging to a movement across the world.’
‘I was moved being in the audience at the Big Gay Sing in Dublin City that was put on by Gloria, Dublin’s GLBT choir and by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, led by Charlie Beale. To my left was gorgeous Tim and to my right two sisters from Dublin, Deirdre and Neave. It was a benefit for Marriage Equality - Australia and Ireland remain the last English speaking developed countries that do not have marriage equality. I’m a big fellow and during the show this big guy from the New York choir was called down from the choir risers by the MC, Panti Bliss. He took the microphone and called his partner from the audience and, on his knee, proposed to the guy he loves. Neave looked at me, and I at her and we both burst into tears, and she passed me a tissue.’
…and about our performance in Dublin on Friday, 13 June
‘A guy from one of the American choirs came up to me after our performance to congratulate us, and he said our 14 singers sounded like 40.’
‘A few people came up to me and said we made them cry. And they all loved Dawn’s introduction.’
‘The feedback was specific, about how everyone enjoyed the storytelling we included in our performance.’
‘My initial fear of singing in such a large theatre turned to wonder as we performed. I heard so much great feedback.’
‘I was absolutely proud of our performance. We timed it well…it felt polished and professional. And the comments we received were genuine, that people really loved the introductions and the explanations of the songs. It made me realise that singing in a GLBTIQ choir is not just about performing a few nice songs. It is a time to get our stories out there…it is singing about who we are.’
A group of singers from the Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir recently toured Ireland and the UK to perform in Europe’s largest GLBTI choral festival, Various Voices.
‘Performing in Dublin and Leeds was an exhilarating experience,’ said David Hardy, Choir President. ‘By taking part in a choral festival that attracted 2,500 singers from Europe, USA, China and Taiwan and Australia and New Zealand, we were able to connect with the global GLBTI community.’
Before Dublin, the Brisbane Choir was hosted by Gay Abandon, the LGBTIQ choir in Leeds in West Yorkshire, and attended the rehearsal of the Pink Singers in London. The Choir performed twice at the Dublin festival, on 13 June at the Mahony Hall, Dublin City University and on the next day, along with the Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire, at Dublin City Hall.
‘Tim, our Music Director, developed an Australian program for our performances, and before two of our love songs, we noted that Australia and Ireland are the last English-speaking developed countries to achieve marriage equality,’ said Hardy. ‘We carried to the festival a message of support from Rodney Croome, National Director of Australian Marriage Equality. For our Dublin performances and at our next major concert, Pride does Broadway on 19 September, on the eve of Brisbane’s Pride Fair Day, we will dedicate our performance to marriage equality.’
The Brisbane Lesbian and Gay Pride Choir is a non-auditioned choir, open to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersex, queer and straight people who love to sing.
The Choir rehearses every Tuesday evening at the New Farm Library meeting room, 135 Sydney Street, New Farm. The next (Semester 2) intake for new singers begins on Tuesday, 8 July, and all are welcome.
The Choir will next perform at a free Christmas in July event to be held at Commercial Road Antiques Centre, 85 Commercial Road, Newstead on Sunday, 27 July at 5p.m. This is a fundraiser with prizes and songs and lots of fun.