Category Archives: See & hear

Management Committee 2014/15

The Pinkies are a dedicated bunch – as well as giving up our Sundays for some melody making loveliness, a few of us are also elected to join our management committee. This year’s crop includes a gold level standard figure skater, a gossip girl, a shoe stasher and our very own George Clooney.

Meet the team! Find out what our favourite songs are as well as some other interesting tit-bits…

Rich, Chair Rich is our Chair and has been a Pinkie for five seasons.

  • Rich holds the world record for the most committed pinkie when it comes to commuting to choir (it was 250 miles for nearly two seasons).
  • His favourite music is “the sound of whatever I am singing to in the shower. I get good echo”.

OliOli is our Artistic Director and has been a Pinkie for ten seasons.

  • Oli is obsessed with shoes and owns over 100 pairs which he struggles to store in his flat!
  • His favourite  Pinkie performance was ‘One Night Only’ from the movie ‘Dreamgirls’.“We spent a long time perfecting the choreography to this number; it wasn”t easy! However, on the night, the energy of the choir, the band and the audience all came together to produce an electric performance”. 

Nicola Nicola is our Multimedia Director and has been a Pinkie for two seasons.

  • Nicola used to be a part-time reggae DJ in Uganda.
  • Her favourite song is, “anything by Fleetwood Mac and any Pinkies’ performance which involves choreography (regardless of what the song actually is!”).

Gary, Membership & Social SecretaryGary is our Membership & Social Secretary and has been a Pinkie for four seasons.

  • Gary attained his Gold Level Grade in figure skating in 2010.
  • His favourite song is Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’, as it makes him…feel good!

ZoeZoe is our Choir Liaison & Events Officer and has been a Pinkie for six seasons.

  • Zoe went to the same high school that ‘Gossip Girl’ was based on.
  • Her favourite song performed by the choir is ‘Baba Yetu’.

 

Iain

Iain is our Bass Section Leader and has been a Pinkie for five seasons.

  • At the age of 18, Iain stood as the Green candidate in his school’s mock election. He had a campaign team and used a screen print of Greta Garbo in green paint on recycled newspaper as posters. The campaign slogan was, “Greta is…”
  • His favourite song is ‘I know it’s over’ by The Smiths:“It’s a song about desperation and loneliness so hard to explain why it would be a favourite. Listen to it & we’ll talk…”

LucyLucy is our Soprano Section Leader and has been a Pinkie for three seasons.

  • Lucy’s grandad invented the Terry’s Chocolate Orange (and no, he wasn’t called Terry).
  • Her favourite song(s) are any nineties Kylie, Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’, ‘I Am the One and Only’, most of the songs of 1996 and the choir’s rendition of Adele’s ‘Set Fire to the Rain’.

chris-viveashChris is our Tenor Section Leader and has been a Pinkie for one season.

  • When Chris was 19, he submitted a song called ‘Rush of Emotion’ to the BBC Eurovision Song contest. It wasn’t selected, but he might still sing it for you if you buy him enough beers…
  • His favourite Pinkie perfomance was ‘Set Fire to the Rain’, as he loved the arrangement and the tenor line.

Sarah

Sarah is our Alto Section Leader and has been a Pinkie for eight seasons.

  • Sarah believes in pushing herself out of my comfort zone and often tries to do things that scare or challenge her. For example, this summer she undertook her first solo camping trip in the woods!
  • Her favourite Pinkies song is ‘With a Lily in Your Hand’. “It was such a challenge to learn. I remember feeling really proud after having performed it for the first time and also a little surprised thinking, wow, did we really just make a sound like that?!”

Teddy, TreasurerTeddy is our Treasurer and has been a Pinkie for two seasons.

  • Teddy is a real life ‘Up in the Air’ George Clooney, having spent more nights in a hotel this year than in his own bed.
  • His favourite song is Ave Maria (Othello), by Maria Callas:“She slowly climbs up arpeggio towards the end and just lets the top note rest beautifully. It catches my breath every time. Three minutes of every emotion experienced”…

Secretary, GillGill is our Secretary and has been a Pinkie for 14 seasons.

  • Gill is a huge Nina Simone fan:“I once saw her perform live in concert. She was truly incredible –  powerful, passionate and terrifying!!” 
  • Her favourite song is ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone; “lots of lovely rich alto notes for singing along to in the shower!”

joshJosh is our Concert Producer and has been a Pinkie for four seasons.

  • Josh’s favourite song is Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’. (“I do need 12 bottles please.”).

 

 


PINK WITH ‘PRIDE’

 

HelenAlto Helen reviews ‘Pride’ and looks at the wider, modern context surrounding the film today. 

We heard on the news today that a British man had just been released from a Moroccan prison where he had been incarcerated having been tried and found guilty of ‘homosexual acts’. The release had occurred after intervention via political and diplomatic channels, and it is obviously good news that he is now safely home. It remains to be seen what will happen to the Moroccan man who was also arrested and imprisoned for the same ‘reason’, Jamal Jam Wald Nass; I imagine there will be no political or diplomatic ‘get out of jail free card’ for him.

It was a timely reminder that although we are tremendously lucky in the UK to enjoy freedom to live and love in private and public, across the world there are millions of others who risk imprisonment, torture and punishment by death for living the same lives we live every day. Consensual same-sex relations are illegal in some 78 countries. And being gay or lesbian could see you sentenced to death in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, Sudan, as well as some regional states in Nigeria and Somalia.

pridePRIDE the film, reminded me of the hundreds of brave LGBTQ folk who, over previous decades, have fought to get us in the UK to this position of equality and relative safety. It evoked a time when discrimination was being written into the law, through Section 28, and LGBTQ people had to withstand intimidation and violence on a regular basis. Most would agree that life is considerably easier for us now in the UK, than 30 years ago, but people still suffer from homophobia; the fight isn’t over yet, and we need to protect the advances so hard won in the past.

Many young gay people continue to be made homeless by their families after coming out or being ‘outed’. The Albert Kennedy Trust is a wonderful, small, charity and I have seen them in action giving safe accommodation, access to a key worker, and counselling that helps these young people feel that there is someone on, and at, their side.

Homophobic bullying is still a major problem in schools; if we can enable young people to feel confident in coming out, and to avoid their self-esteem being destroyed at a young age by bullies then the next generation of LGBTQ people will be in an even better place than we are now.

Pinkies at the Flicks

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Another ‘Night at the Movies’ as the Pinkies head out in force to see Pride.

A group of Pink Singers went to see the film one Wednesday evening a few weeks ago, enjoying a curry beforehand and drinks afterwards. I have never seen a cinema so full on a Wednesday night. This was several weeks after the film was released and people were still packing in to see it. It is a big, emotional, warm film, and it tells a story that none of us had heard before, of a gay and lesbian group in London who raised money for a group of South Wales striking miners.

The emotional heart of the film for me was really about the rejection and struggle that both groups faced, with the gay group struggling to find anyone even willing to take their money due to their social pariah-like status, and the miners facing near starvation and threats from the police and the political establishment. Many people who’ve seen it have experienced the audience applauding at the end; the applause is for both groups and the way in which they equally helped each other. The way that by joining forces and supporting each other they were able to take on the establishment and change things. The strikes, the fear and lives cut short by AIDS, the bricks through windows, all seem like another world. And so does the political activism.

The Pink Singers at Pride 2014

The Pink Singers at Pride 2014

What does PRIDE mean? For many now it is shorthand for a day of the year when we get to dress up and party. This film gives us as a community much to be proud of, but the work of these wonderful activists needs to continue, to enable us to be able to dance with justification under the banner of the word ‘PRIDE’.

Being part of the Pink Singers and publicly showing myself as a gay person has helped me to feel the word; walking through London streets every year at the Pride march shows other people, sometimes in other countries, that they are not alone. Visibility is still important as we subsume into the mainstream culture and gay venues are closed. Just today I found out that the Royal Vauxhall Tavern which featured in the film is the latest venue threatened.

One of the most enjoyable weekends I’ve had was with Pink Singers at the Various Voices festival this year, an international gathering of LGBTQ choirs. Chatting to other LGBTQ singers from countries around the world really brought home the importance of the fight for LGBTQ freedom from oppression across the world as a first step, but eventually for equality for all.

PrideTo quote from the film itself:

“When you’re in a battle with an enemy that’s so much bigger, so much stronger than you, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed, well that’s the best feeling in the world. Can you see what we’ve done here, by coming together all of us? We made history!”


Pink Singers Choir Yearbook 2013-2014

Simon, Bass

Simon P

It’s our end-of-season break at the moment, a time for us to have a rest, enjoy Sundays in the park, relax and chill out a bit…

Who am I kidding. Our management committee and artistic team are already busily planning our next season and GIRL, have we got some blockbuster songs coming your way at our next London concert in January. And plenty more besides!

But before we reveal any more of that, we thought we’d take a look back at our 31st year in pictures and video. What a brilliant year, and what a fantastic one to come!

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If you’re a nostalgia junkie (like me) you can check out our last few yearbooks here: 2012-2013, 2010-2011, 2009-2010. Happy viewing!


The Pink Singers 30th anniversary yearbook 2012-2013

We celebrated our 30th anniversary year in style in so many ways, that it’s taken quite a while for us to distil the enormity into this 4:30 clip.

Huge thanks to all photographers from within (and without!) the choir who worked on documenting the year: Hsien Chew, Liang Wee, Ben Park, Oskar Marchock, Pete Stean, Simon Pearson, James Cronin, Jake Milligan, Boy oh Boy Photography.

Relive our year and listen along to Richard Thomas’ composition ‘Earth, Wind and Choir’ performed by the Pink Singers and 21 other LGBT choirs at our choral festival Hand in Hand in July 2013.

And if this whets your appetite, check our yearbooks from previous years: 2011, 2010.


Hand in Hand: a short documentary

Back in July we invited LGBT choirs from around the nation to help us celebrate our thirtieth anniversary with a festival of song, Hand in Hand. We came together at the Troxy in East London for a day of vocal workshops and a spectacular evening concert.

We’ve made a small film documentary about this memorable day as a thank you to all who made it so special.


Four reasons to take your choir to Cardiff

Peter, Tenor Leader

Peter

On the 4th and 5th of October 2013, the Pinkies made the 150-mile journey from London to Cardiff to perform with the South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus to a sell-out crowd as part of their 5th Anniversary celebrations. In this post, Pete shares his four reasons to head back immediately!

#1. Croeso i Gaerdydd!

…or in Welsh, “Welcome to Cardiff!” My first time to Wales, I thought thought that I would drive over the bridge and be met by dragons, sitting on castles waving their leeks at me, chanting, “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!!” Alas, my fantasy was crushed by Gary, Paul and Ben (my trusty road-trippers), who, in between me trying to pronounce the road signs, took the responsibility of letting me know the truth. Wales is actually like most of the UK – but with its own special version of awesome. For instance, we walked to the venue via Cardiff Castle, we stayed opposite the Millenium Stadium and topped of the weekend brunching on Cardiff Bay (next to the Dr. Who experience).

In summary… Wales is an amazing place, even if it is lacking dragons.

My tip? Make sure you go for more than 24 hours and take time to look around.

Continue reading


A little Pink bottle goes a long way…

Lucy (Photo: Simon Pearson)

Lucy

“Why have you got bright pink nails, Miss?” must have been the most asked question of the day in my primary school. Why, indeed…

This Saturday was the culmination of the Pink Singers’ 30th birthday celebrations: the ‘Hand in Hand’ festival and concert at The Troxy in Limehouse. As a new Pinkie, this was the day I was to ‘pop my concert cherry’ and – despite the 6am alarm bell, the 90-minute trek into the wilds of East London and the fear of being in the same room as 500 bananas (don’t ask) – I was beyond excited!

The five months since I auditioned for the Pink Singers has flown by, yet we have achieved so much. I am so honoured to be part of such a talented, creative, intelligent, loyal and passionate group of people. People who have created an incredibly powerful exhibition; people with the vision to commission Richard Thomas to compose music for them; people who have welcomed choirs large and small from around the British Isles to come and share a stage with them; people who can sing and dance so amazingly well it takes one’s breath away. Continue reading


Reflecting on P.S. we’re 30 (Part 1 of 2)

Gary

Gary

In the first of a couple of posts, Newbie Gary reveals all about his first concert experience as a Pink Singer.

Well I did it: I got through my first “Pink Singers” concert, the culmination of 5 months hard work by the choir.

I remember back in the summer when I decided I would go along for an audition. I was very nervous, but everyone was so friendly and helpful. There is so much talent in the Pink Singers and I am still in awe of the fact that I am part of such an amazing group. The Newbies Party was great fun and a chance to meet everyone socially, and made settling in a lot easier… Continue reading


Let’s celebrate 30 years of the Pink Singers

In 1983 a group of gay and lesbian Londoners gathered in Oval House and, under the guidance of Mark Bunyan and Brian Kennedy, sang a few songs together. They would never have thought that three decades on, the Pink Singers would not only still be around, but bigger and better than ever! In 2013, let’s celebrate 30 years of London’s LGBT community choir. It is going to be great!


World Pride London 2012 – You’re a firework!

There were many rumours swirling in the lead up to the 2012 Pride London march. The pressure was on because it was also World Pride in London and we had guests from all across the globe. We heard that the march was to be scaled back, and that there were to be no floats; could Pride survive? Continue reading