1 April 2014

Sing with us at the Chorus festival this weekend!

Simon

Simon

This week sees the 6th annual Chorus festival kicking off at the Southbank Centre in London, and we’re really looking forward to joining in the various vocal workshops and enjoying great performances with choirs from around the globe.

We’ve also been invited to perform this Sunday morning – 6th April out on the lovely riverside terrace from 11:30am. We’ll be singing a few of our favourite songs from our recent sell-out concert, A Night at the Movies. There will also be a chance to hear a preview of songs from our upcoming summer concert at Union Chapel – Notes from a Small Island, celebrating the best of British composers and songwriters.

chorus_series_page_tile_newThat’s not all – after our set we’ll be running an interactive session and inviting you join in learning one of our songs, including a spot of choreography! You can find out more about the events and choirs taking part here.

Admission to our sessions at Chorus is free – so warm up your vocal cords and make a brunch date with us this Sunday. All the times and details are outlined in our Facebook event.

See you there!

5 March 2014

Tonight in Parliament

A small group of Pinkies gear up for their performance inside the Houses of Parliament. Photo by Hsien Chew

Hsien

Hsien

There’s nothing like those nights in London when, despite the nip in the air, you can feel that winter is slipping away, and the evenings are starting to stretch out. The dusk is a cobalt blue and the faded orange of the setting sun is amplified by the glow of sodium floodlights.

The 27th of February 2014 was just like that when a band of Pink Singers gathered in preparation for a performance at the Houses of Parliament.

This year has been a momentous one for the Pinkies. Last summer we sang at No. 10 to celebrate equal marriage, and so to perform in the Palace of Westminster to mark the end of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans History Month which focused on music was not only a privilege and an honour, it also gave us a sense of completeness. We were there at the invitation of ParliOUT, a cross-party networking group which does amazing work from within the Houses to advance LGBT issues.

Photo by Hsien Chew

This being my first visit to Parliament, I felt a lot like a tourist, in awe of the amazing spaces we passed through to get to our stage on the terrace. I confess to gawking open-mouthed at the massive hammerbeam roof of Westminster Hall, the oil paintings of St. Stephen’s Hall and the ornate mosaic floors and gold leaf ceilings of Central Hall as we were ushered to the Commons.

There was hardly any time to take in the views before the event kicked off.  John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, started with a light-hearted and self-deprecatory speech, before turning with seriousness to the recent noxious legislation in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria. On a world stage where innovation and talent makes a country competitive, governments must give their people, regardless of sexuality, every opportunity to flourish and grow. Persecuting minorities in the name of a perceived national identity does exactly the opposite and is self-defeating.

Read the rest of this entry ►

12 February 2014

Sochi olympics throw Russian LGBT rights into relief

Last week, one of the Pink Singers small groups, the Barberfellas, were invited to sing at a party/protest to highlight the plight of LGBT Russians – a hot media topic given the Winter Olympics and by the shocking documentary, Hunted.

Little did our Barberfellas know that in attending the event at Ku Bar in Soho, they would be caught on camera during a live Channel 4 debate between Peter Tatchell and former Kremlin adviser Alexander Nekrassov. You can see the full debate, presented by Cathy Newman, here:

The sort of rhetoric put forward by Alexander Nekrassov sounds reminiscent of some views heard commonly in the UK before the 1990s.  But of course LGBT equality is a global issue, not a Russian one. Last week, the BBC published an insightful interactive highlighting the countries in the world where it’s still illegal to be gay. It’s a sobering map. Whilst some good progress is being made, some countries such as India and Burundi are actually making retrograde steps and making life even harder for their LGBT citizens.

We still have a long way to go. And so, we continue to sing. The Pink Singers wish to express their love and solidarity with all LGBT people and their supporters in Russia, and we’d like to share one of our anthems, Hand in Hand, the lyrics of which ring especially true for Russia and other oppressed nations.

Stepping into the limelight for the first time!

Teddy

Teddy

A Night at the Movies was the culmination of my first season with the Pinkies, and so I was continually reminded I was “popping my Pinkie cherry”.  Prior to joining the choir, I had never been to a Pinkies concert.  Although I had performed in choirs for many years in Sydney, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I be nervous?  Would it be a professional appearance?  Would the concert ‘come together’ on the night? 

Any uncertainty I had was soon eased upon arriving at the venue.  As I walked from the Underground station to the venue, there was the most glorious parade of Pinkies carrying the most sensational array of hat boxes, suit bags, suitcases full of makeup, the obligatory feather boas and of course the absolutely necessary glitter that is required for such a concert. 

There had been many months of rehearsals leading into the big day.  There had been a lot of blood sweat and tears – and literally tears from all of us on different occasions trying as we tried to memorise repertoire and choralography (aka choreography for choirs).

The afternoon of the show was spent in a full technical rehearsal.  It went something like this… Start a song. Stop midway.  Move to the right.  Readjust lighting levels.  Have a sip of water.  Start the song again.  Stop again.  We’d moved too far to the right.  Shuffle the left.  No the other left.  No no.  Keep going.  Have a sip of water. Have a chat amongst ourselves.  Fix the balance between the band and the choir.  Have another chat. Okay start again.  Repeat.  Next song.  Repeat the process.  Have another sip of water.

I was soon starting to realise any apprehension I had about the concert had been far too premature.  What was quickly unfurling was an A-Grade professional performance of the highest calibre – choir, bigband, piano, solos, movement, lighting, videos, audience interaction, emotion.  There was an apparent degree of pre-performance preparation and thought put in by a very talented team of Pinkies.  We were scheduled to deliver a fun-filled and spectacular evening.  Read the rest of this entry ►

12 January 2014

A Night at the Movies guests: The London Gay Big Band

Tickets for A Night at the Movies are now all sold out! Keep an eye on our website in case any extras become available at the last minute, and keep Saturday 19 July free in your diary for our next London concert.

On Saturday 25 January we’ll be joined on stage by the hugely talented London Gay Big Band! They’ll be helping us bring to life a whole host of movie music favourites. Having heard them perform numerous times, most recently with the lovely London Gay Men’s Chorus at their Hallowe’en Ball, we’re delighted to have them join us.

LondonGayBigBand_Group_rgb_265_f1(1)

The London Gay Big Band was founded in the summer of 2011 and is a full-size, 20 piece, jazz orchestra made up of talented musicians and vocalists, bringing a fresh vibe to the London music scene.

Since its formation, the Band has gone from strength to strength, performing at a number of high profile events and venues throughout London and beyond, including the Southbank Centre, the main stage at Trafalgar Square for World Pride 2012, main stage at BT London Live in Victoria Park (part of London 2012 Olympics), The Langham Hotel, Hackney Empire, Floridita, Clapham Street Party, The Lord Mayor’s Show & Charing Cross Theatre, among others.

More information and details of their other upcoming shows

30 December 2013

5 best bits of the Pinkies Christmas weekender

Aoife

Aoife

The now legendary Pink Singers annual weekend away took place a week before Christmas, and was packed with festive delights! After piling on the bus down to Sussex with fellow choir members, the party and workshops started in earnest.

My highlights would have to be:

  • The peaceful, picturesque location offering a welcome change to bustling London
  • Singing choir songs around the camp fire… even if we were ever so slightly out of tune and time… let’s blame the mulled wine for that
  • Learning how to sing well with the brilliant Sam Kenyon, including putting on a country western accent by replacing words with ‘quack’!
  • The meticulously organised and delicious Christmas dinner for 70 people, served by elves and reindeer
  • The price! How they ever managed to organise such a well-catered weekend on such a small budget is just amazing!

 

Having the opportunity to get to know so many members of the choir – they are such a genuinely great bunch of crazy people and I’m looking forward to more hilarious, fun nights in 2014!

Photographs by Hsien Chew and Simon Pearson

10 December 2013

The best film I’ve never seen and the worst film I’ve ever seen

Jess

Jess (looking festive)

In the latest of a series of blog posts leading up to our next concert, A Night at the Movies, alto Jess recalls a particularly moving film moment…

I don’t often watch films at home. We all have a far shorter attention span these days, apparently, and when I have other distractions anything longer than The Great Muppet Caper (95 mins) makes me feel I should be doing something useful such as re-arranging the magnetic fridge poetry.

As a result, there are many good films that I’ve simply failed to see. One of the best has surely got to be Apocalypse Now.

Read the rest of this entry ►

8 December 2013

Getting into character for A Night at the Movies

We’re getting a little too excited about our upcoming concert, so much so that this happened:

Can you name all the films we pay tribute to? We can count over twenty…

Got your tickets for A Night at the Movies, yet? If not, hurry – they are selling fast!

24 November 2013

Films that mean something: Philadelphia

Iain

Iain

In the first of a series of blog posts leading up to our next concert, A Night at the Movies, Iain recalls a particularly moving film moment…

I was a 20 year old 1st year medical student when the film “Philadelphia” was released in 1993 and I saw it with my Mum during one of the university holidays – I think it’s probably the only film we’ve seen together in the cinema that features gay characters and it was certainly the first one we’d seen after I had come out earlier that year.

 

philadelphiaThe film tells the story of a senior lawyer, “Andrew Beckett”, played by Tom Hanks, who begins to suffer from AIDS related illness and then battles discrimination from his employers due to this and his subsequently revealed homosexuality.

It was pretty much the first major Hollywood film to tackle HIV/AIDS and to feature a sympathetic portrait of a gay man played by a big film star. The film tackled prejudice against people with HIV/AIDS head on as well as challenging homophobia and yet did not meet with 100% approval from LGBT people. Many of the scenes of affection between Beckett and his lover (Antonio Banderas) were cut from the film owing to sensitivities around mainstream depictions of gay love and the only way we know that the two are actually physically intimate, is a kiss in the final cut of a scene (shot from behind Banderas’s head so that you can’t actually see their lips touch).

There is one incredibly powerful scene, which has always stayed with me. Beckett is meeting with the lawyer representing him when he is distracted by the music playing in the background: it is Maria Callas singing the aria “La Mamma Morta” from the opera Andrea Chenier by Umberto Giordano. Read the rest of this entry ►

19 November 2013

A Night at the Movies – concert tickets on sale now!

Love films? Love soundtracks? Then join the Pink Singers for A Night at the Movies – an audio-visual choral blockbuster at Cadogan Hall on Saturday 25 January 2014.

Pinkies_ANightAtTheMovies_Hollywood_Poster_v9_blog

Experience the magic of cinema from the minute you arrive on the red carpet – with popcorn, usherettes and Hollywood glamour. Featuring over 80 singers, we’ll be performing a host of iconic songs from the silver screen, including Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ride of the Valkyries from Apocalypse Now, Circle of Life from The Lion King and Take My Breath Away from Top Gun.

We’ll be joined on stage by special guests the London Gay Big Band, for an unforgettable evening of eight-part harmonies and big band sounds.

Ticket information

Tickets are available at these price points: £10, 15, 20, 25, 30

And why not treat yourself to the special Red Carpet package and you’ll receive the full star treatment, including a private VIP drinks reception and the best seats in the house, for just £50.

Book your tickets online now or by calling 020 7730 4500.

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