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The Pink Singers Go Online

In the light of the Covid-19 crisis, we Pink Singers have stopped our regular Sunday afternoon rehearsals for the first time in 37 years, and had our first virtual meet-up this Sunday.

It was emotional! We sang, we laughed, we offered support to each other, we shared stories. 

If your choir is looking to move to remote meet-ups, here’s a quick summary of what we did in our first one, and what we learned. We:

  • Used zoom as the platform, on a regular plan. It allows up to 100 participants and worked well for us, with 56 participants. 
  • Set the call to start 30 minutes before the actual start time, to allow plenty of time for tech setup.
  • Made everyone be muted by default, and had one MC (host) who called on people to share by raising their hands first to speak or sing. 
  • Kept it short – an hour or so. Spending time conversing on video chat feels more  mentally taxing than being face to face.
  • Did not sing ‘live’ together. There were 56 of us on the call and it would have been impossible. The varying latency of internet connections makes it very hard to hear each other in sync without special hardware. 
  • Muted ourselves most of the time and sang along with some tracks.
  • Sang warm-ups (all muted) with our MD at the piano
  • Shared some audio that everyone could sing along to, using Zoom’s share screen feature (use the advanced tab: share computer audio)
  • Kept the meeting open for a few people who wanted to hang around a chat for longer

We also danced, laughed, and shared stories of our crazy weeks. We welcomed our new members, applauded our public servants (in particular our healthcare workers) and celebrated recent birthdays. We met each others’ pets. We finished by singing ‘Together In Electric Dreams’ from our most recent concert – which has suddenly taken on a new and deeper meaning for us as we adapt to our new virtual existence, for the foreseeable. 

In future weeks we have plans for quizzes, break-out rooms where we can start to learn new music in small groups, sharing solo performances with each other, and more. We will also perhaps look at making some multi-track recordings. 

If you’d like to get in touch to share your tips, or ask questions, feel free in the comments box below. 


Two Gigs in One Day!

On Saturday 22nd February, the Pinkies had a busy day performing not one but two gigs. Soprano Sally-Anne tells us about the day and how she now finds herself unexpectedly into football. Over to
Sally-Anne….

Gigs are like buses, we don’t do any for a while and then two come along at once … luckily geography was kind to us and we were able to perform at two very different venues, to two very different audiences. Firstly we went to the Greenwich Maritime Museum to take part in the “Out at Sea” season where we performed to a lovely crowd of families and children who seemed to enjoy clapping along to our music. It was a lovely atmosphere and it was fantastic to return again (we were there last year) and sing in a larger and more open space.

Avi is definitely ‘Proud’!

We then jumped on the bus and went to Charlton to make a bit of history as the first LGBT+ choir to sing at a professional football match. As part of their commitment to fight discrimination in all forms, Charlton Athletic FC welcomed us to sing at their annual “Football v Homophobia” match. We sang two songs before the kick off to a crowd of c 15,000, including Heather Small’s “Proud”, and I can honestly say it was one of the most wonderful experiences I have had as a Pinkie. We were also invited to watch the match. Having never been to a football match before, I did not really know what to expect, but it was a lovely and family friendly event, and for a person who claims to have no interest whatsoever in sport, I found myself being captivated by the energy and skill of the players.

Francesco and Chris at the stadium

It was a real honour to perform for the football crowd, especially as we were asked to sing the Charlton Athletic “theme tune” (if that is the correct word) “Valley Floyd Road”. Thanks to the Proud Valiants, the official fan group of Charlton Athletic supporters who identify as LGBTQI+ and their allies for inviting us and for making us so welcome. And thanks Paul for your hard work putting this together. It really was a historical occasion and I hope that we can take part in some other sporting events in the future to keep on promoting equality and kick homophobia into the long grass! And congratulations to Charlton Athletic for winning 3-1!

Sally-Anne Smith, Soprano

By Special Arrangement – Part 2

The Pink Singers: By Special Arrangement – Part 2 celebrates over 35 years of our musical development, showcasing the diversity and talent of our members through our very own arrangements and compositions.

Saturday 11 January 2020 – 7.30pm
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Square, London, SW1X 9DG

The concert will feature a handpicked blend of songs, tailor-made to delight your ears with full eight-part harmonies. With music from artists such as Queen, Adele, Rag’n’bone Man, The Carpenters, Kylie Minogue and Beyoncé, we will be performing your favourites as you’ve never heard them before.

Alongside these home-grown arrangements, our 90-strong choir will also perform commissioned works by the likes of Benjamin Britten and Eric Whitacre.

Timeline datestamp: 11 January 2020

By Special Arrangement Part 2

Photo credit: Robert Workman

A couple of weeks ago ‘newbie’ Sarah Chapman performed in her first Pink Singers concert – By Special Arrangement Part 2. Sarah talks about what a great experience it was for her and how rewarding joining the Pink Singers has been. Over to Sarah…

Sarah Chapman
Sarah proudly wearing her Pinkie rose

On arriving at the venue, I was in awe of the size and location. For the other newbies and I, it was eye opening to see preparations behind the curtains of the concert. From the Artistic Director setting up the light displays and choir practice with the band to running through the dance numbers; it was busy but helped build my confidence.

No rehearsal or dry run could have prepared me for the concert. As we waited backstage to go on, my nerves slowly began to build up. Entering the stage and seeing the 900 people staring back, it was probably one of the scariest things I have done. However, despite this the show must go on (excuse the cheeky song reference!) The first act went quickly and towards the end my nerves had been replaced with adrenaline.

In the interval, I popped down to the bar to catch up with family and friends, who raved about the show so far. Buzzing with excitement, I returned to the dressing rooms for the second part. During the support act, ‘The Bleeding Obvious’, we began to prepare ourselves for the final section of the show. By this point, the atmosphere in the choir was electric!

Sarah with her fellow newbies. What a lovely bunch!

The first song was ‘Human’ by Rag‘n’Bone Man (arranged by Simon Pearson), which was a smashing hit to return to the stage with. The choreography by the dance team, matched the lyrics and beat of the music perfectly and set the second act off with a bang. The act went so fast and before I knew it, we had reached the finale. Even with my limited dance experience and some may say lack of rhythm, I was still able to complete the moves for our rendition of ‘Love on Top’ by Beyoncé (arranged by Michael Derrick).

It was challenging learning the 19 different pieces, but such an accomplishment when it all came together! My favourites were ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele (arranged by Nicki Wakefield), ‘What About Us’ by Pink (arranged by Ian Faulkner) and ‘All of Me’ by John Legend (arranged by Zoe Burdo). They sounded so great on the night! I also loved ‘Sleep’ by Eric Whitacre. The way in which the parts intertwine throughout the performance is mesmerising.

The concert was so much fun and I was very lucky to have a great turnout at my first concert with 12 of my friends and family attending from across the country. Although I was very nervous at the prospect of potentially falling over or messing up the dance moves, it did put me at ease that there would be someone around to laugh about it with afterwards.

Until recently, I only knew a handful of LGBT+ friends in London. Through the Pink Singers I have had the opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds, experiences, careers, gender identities… the list is endless. Everyone has been so welcoming and I cannot wait for the next season to begin!

Sarah Chapman, Soprano

Timeline datestamp: 11 January 2020

Experience the World Premier of the Stonewall Opera Finale!

The Pink Singers are delighted to be singing the world premier of Much to be Done, the reflective and powerful finale from the opera Stonewall. The piece will be performed at our upcoming concert on Saturday 11th January at London’s Cadogan Hall, which also features homegrown arrangements from our talented choir members.

Stonewall was written by Iain Bell, after a commission from the New York Opera to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to host Iain at one of our rehearsals. Iain spoke to the choir about the inspiration behind Much to be Done, which you can hear in the video below.

We think this is a beautiful and motivational piece, particularly pertinent for 2020 where our community still faces many overt and covert challenges. We are honoured to be introducing it to the world.

By Special Arrangement – Part 2
Saturday 11th January 2020 – 7.30pm
Cadogan Hall, Sloane Square, London SW1X 9DG