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: