The Big Pink Chill

In the Pink(ies)‘ is a blog on the life and times of a Pink Singer, known only as the ‘Pink Insider’. This is their account of our concert “The Big Pink Chill” in 2010.

Every concert is a special event, not only because we have been rehearsing for the twelve or so weeks prior to it, but because every single one is different. The Pinkies’ last concert – the Big Pink Chill – was no exception, but for me, there were a number of changes this time round which made this particular experience more memorable.

The most significant difference actually began a week or so before the concert itself when we had news that the tickets had sold out. I’m not sure of the ins and outs of it, but it looks like this was due to a combination of more tickets sold by members, combined with a trebling of the tickets we sold through the website. Now, usually we do, especially in the winter season, sell out, but to do so so far in advance certainly caused Simon W a bit of a headache and more than a few late, sleepless nights.

The Royal College of Music is fairly familiar to us now, given that this is our second time there, so there are fewer surprises in terms of the venue itself. Nevertheless, since this time we were performing with two other choirs, Purple Harmony and Sing Out Bristol, rather than by ourselves, it took significantly more organizational work to make sure everyone was in the right place at the right time.

None of this would have been possible without the volunteers like Kate D who kept Sing Out Bristol entertained and updated, but a great deal of credit goes to our UK Concerts director Ben P. I have no idea how he does it, but he manages to co-ordinate moving nearly 150 people in and around the theatre, set out instructions to the production crew, and act as the general lynch pin of the whole operation, while still keeping a calm exterior and still singing! The fact that, as a choir, we just have to concentrate on our own performance, and not worry about all the extraneous logistical issues is down in no small part to Ben’s hard work.

The Pink Singers are about singing, true, but the creation of the end product requires so much input from a huge number of people. It is salutary to observe that it is no longer just the people in the committee doing all the work; there is a whole phalanx of Pinkies helping out in other ways, from choreographing our moves, to making announcements, to performing solos, to arranging sectionals, to recording multimedia, to organizing social events. All of these things create a much richer experience for all the members. And all of these Pinkies are doing this as volunteers at that, so it is good that we now have a tradition of recognizing their efforts at the concert.

One of the big events this season has been our inclusion of religious music in our repertoire. To be correct we have, for a long time now, sung music with a sacred theme, but the songs have largely been in Latin or classical, or about Christmas. So if you really want to split hairs, this is the first time we have sung modern Christian songs which are not carols in English. Hopefully that just goes to show how arbitrary the classification is, but it would be remiss of me if I did not acknowledge that this caused some consternation in the choir. We are an LGBT choir, and many of our members have an uneasy and occasionally fractious relationship with the Christian faith. So it is with some pride that the choir still stuck together to perform these songs well, despite any individual reservations.

The result was, for me, the most significant event of the evening, which was when Purple Harmony joined us on stage to perform. They are a children’s choir from Surrey, and the choir in which Cass used to sing when she was a little one. To me their being on stage with us was a profound statement of how far our society has progressed in terms of inclusiveness and equality. In rehearsal, our joint song Rutter’s Look At The World sounded beautiful, but with children’s voices it was sublime. I had to stop myself from choking with tears during the song itself it was so transcendent. The performance defied all stereotypes of what an LGBT choir is, and I certainly hope that the more conservative elements will at least have had some of their prejudices questioned.

I also want to highlight our other guest choir, Sing Out Bristol. They are one of the newest LGBT choirs in the UK, being just over two years old, but already they have over 60 members, 40 of whom came to London. I met them for the first time at Various Voices back in May 2009. Speaking to some of their members, they face the same problems we do – deciding on a direction for the choir, managing a large group of people and dealing with the right balance between the needs of the individual and needs of the choir as a whole. There is so much to learn, from each other, and it is wonderful what we can give each other the platform to perform at and support each other in the way we do. I can see our relationship growing from here on in.

All of this is wonderfully virtuous, but the best part is that the Pinkies really know how to have fun, so after the concert it was on to a raucous karaoke at the Imperial College bar, followed the next day by an understandably more subdued post-concert brunch at the Ku Bar in Lisle Street. Time to put away the pink accessory for another season; see you at the end of February for Summer 2010!

You can read the original blog post here.

Timeline datestamp: 16 January 2010

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