PRESS RELEASE: Pink Singers awarded a £94,625 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to archive and celebrate the 40-year history of the choir through their project Sing it Loud, Sing it Queer.
The Pink Singers have received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £94,625 for an exciting heritage project, Sing it Loud, Sing it Queer. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, over the next year the project will unlock the incredible history of the London-based organisation from its origins in gay liberation to its identity today as the UK’s longest-running LGBTQ+ community choir, turning 40 this year. The project will make the choir’s archive collections more easily accessible and will enable new ways to engage with the Pink Singers’ archive digitally.
Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Dynamic Collections campaign, the project will enable people to discover LGBTQ+ history from the 1980s to now. It will unlock the many diverse stories of the choir through a new podcast series made in collaboration with Aunt Nell and a short documentary film made with Happenstance Films showcasing a brand new composition to celebrate the anniversary year. Volunteers will also learn new skills in archiving, research and oral history as the choir’s significant archives are prepared for donation to the Bishopsgate Institute, one of the UK’s most prominent archives on LGBTQ+ history.
Formed in 1983, The Pink Singers are Europe’s oldest mixed LGBTQ+ choir, internationally renowned for their music, activism, and close-knit community. Their membership is diverse; with ages ranging from 18 to 70, and representing many sections and experiences of LGBTQ+ life and intersecting identities, with members who come from all walks of life, representing a range of sexualities, gender identities, who are disabled, of colour, and who are parents.
This project will enable the choir to understand and share its LGBTQ+ community histories now and into the future. The Pink Singers’ history reflects 40 years of change and growth for queer communities in the UK; its choir members have performed on the backbone of Gay Liberation and Women’s Liberation, through the HIV-AIDS crisis, the introduction and eventual repeal of Section 28, the repeal of the ban on serving in the armed forces, the Gender Recognition Act, civil partnership and gay marriage, as well as the ongoing struggle to maintain equality in the modern age and protect the rights of trans people and people of colour. Most recently they have encountered the challenges of supporting each other and bringing the choir successfully through the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as their work in the UK they have also travelled extensively abroad, joining and supporting their LGBTQ+ choral friends in places like India, marching for the repeal of Section 377, and Poland, protesting the LGBTQ+ free zones and war in Ukraine.
Commenting on the award, Chris Scales, the choir’s Archive Manager and Project Chair said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are excited that the project will open up LGBTQ+ stories and the significant history of the Pink Singers to a new generation. Despite always being an ‘out and proud’ collective, as a grassroots LGBTQ+ community choir our journey of progress has often taken place under the radar. We are excited to unlock the many hidden stories of the choir and reflect on our place in society and legacy after four decades of activism and queer joy through singing”.
Notes to editors
About The Pink Singers
The Pink Singers is an LGBT+ community choir based in London. Formed in 1983 for the Lesbian and Gay Pride march, they have grown to become a 100-strong group of amateur singers who come together to sing, perform and campaign for their community. They are made up of talented people representing a diverse range of sexual orientations and gender identities from all walks of life, who are united by a passion for singing great choral music.
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.
Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.
For further information, images and interviews please contact Laura Owen, Project Manager of ‘Sing it Loud, Sing it Queer’ at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07982044679.