We often say that the Pink Singers are the oldest lesbian and gay choir in Europe, but how do we illustrate our boast? What did the choir do in the 1980s and ‘90s? What did we do five years ago, come to that? There are some very interesting historical articles on our website, but detailed, enduring history has to be based on records – and that is why we are setting up a Pinkie Archive.
The archive will be a multimedia affair. We are collecting sound and video recordings, photographs (both digital and old-style) and documents. All storage will be electronic, so printed materials will be scanned. Audio files and documents are to be kept on-line, while video will be stored on two portable hard drives owned by the choir. All three repositories are password-protected, of course. The records will include concert programmes, repertoire lists, rehearsal tracks, choreography videos, concert videos and anything else that records the history of the Pink Singers.
The archive plan has been devised by Multimedia Director and current tenor, Hsien. Our first step is to sort through the old materials that we already have and transfer them to the appropriate digital repository. Liang (another tenor with squirrel tendencies) has already converted a set of VHS videos from the early years to digital format so they can be put on one of the portable hard drives.
To safeguard future materials, the multimedia team have been primed to deposit new audio files, videos and photographs in the archive. All these activities will be supervised by the newly-appointed Pink Archivist – that is, me. (Well, I am a librarian with a history degree, it had to be me really.)
Some of the choir’s documentary heritage is, in fact, already safely stored in an archive of gay history at the London School of Economics. The Hall-Carpenter Archive includes some of our concert programmes, press cuttings, photographs and other records, dating from 1983 to 1988. They are in good company alongside the papers of Peter Tatchell, old editions of Gay Times and lots more.
Our own archive would benefit hugely from any additional materials that current and former choir members might be able to let us have. If you have boxes of concert programmes, press cuttings, photos or anything else that might be of interest, do let me know. It does not necessarily have to be really old material – there are also fairly recent gaps in our collection that need to be filled.
Let me know if you can help!