In the second instalment of our Hometown Concerts project, Sally Anne took us to her hometown of Northampton and beyond…
On 28th October, the Pink Singers performed at the Lab club in Northampton with the amazing Afrobeat band The T-Bone Afrika All-Stars as one of our series of “Home Towns” gigs. I was born and bred in Northampton, so I was delighted that some of my “Chosen Family” had the opportunity to perform in the my birth town. The All-Stars were amazing and we performed two pieces together. It was truly special to be able to sing with an Afrobeat band which the Pinkies would not normally have the chance to do.
It was a wonderful community event where the audience clearly enjoyed themselves. It was a new experience for both the band and us. Although our styles of music are a bit different, we were able to join together and bring joyful music to an audience who would probably not otherwise have heard of us. This is in the true of Pinkie spirit of reaching out to the community. And that is not all…
The following week some of us had the honour of recording with the T-Bone Afrika All-Stars who had invited us to sing with them on their new EP at Abbey Road Studios in London. We sang vocals on four of their tracks, and when the songs were played back to us they sounded incredible. It was really exciting to be able to hear the recordings we had just contributed to. It was wonderful to be recording in such a historic venue ( and yes, some of us did do the Iconic “Zebra Crossing” photos) and I am very much looking forward to listening to the finished recording.
I am proud of us for creating Pinkie History and Pinkie Magic with these two important as well as very enjoyable events. I want to thank my friends the T-Bone Afrika All-Stars for giving us the opportunity working with them to create music together. Thanks to everyone who made the Hometown gig in Northampton possible and who came to Abbey Road. I appreciate it very much and we should be justifiably proud of our achievements. And thanks to Chris Scales for their brilliant photography to record these memorable and beautiful events
We are recruiting for the position of Musical Director. Please see the role description and requirements below. The closing date for applications by email is 1st December 2023.
Musical Director Role Description
Role title: Musical Director
Remuneration: Annual fee works out at £40-45/hr, plus additional fees payable for extra work over and above the agreed requirements
Employment Type: Self-employed, 3 year fixed term contract subject to annual review with the board of Trustees, with a 6 month probation
Start date: February 2024
Selection: Interview and audition process.
As the longest running LGBTQ+ choir in Europe, The Pink Singers was established in London in 1983 to march in London’s Gay & Lesbian Pride and we’ve been singing, and marching ever since. Though a community choir, we have a reputation for high standards of performance that we are keen to uphold and grow.
We are a registered charity run by volunteers, and our aim is to share the joy of music within the LGBTQ+ community in the UK and around the world, and to promote and celebrate equality and diversity.
More information including our charitable aims can be found on our website.
Conduct weekly rehearsals on Sunday in London between 14:00-18:00
Conduct two London concerts a year in January and June/July
Conduct other smaller gigs (around 5-7 a year) that may be in London, in the UK or overseas, but particularly, important festivals such as Hand in Hand and Various Voices
Be a part of the creative team working towards the musical direction to articulate the choir’s vision
Work with the artistic director within the music team that sets our themes and visions
Attend meetings as required
Previous experience in leading a large SATB choir
Pianist (ideally to a high standard, but not essential)
Good musical ear, and communication skills
Attention to detail
Experience of vocal technique work
Enable choir to emote songs
Able to work with different genres of music
Develop vocal blend, and engage with text
● Adhere to The Pink Singers vision, values and constitution
● Be committed to equality and inclusion for everyone
● Abide by The Seven Principles of Public Life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership
What we offer in return
Community – Joining us means you becoming a ‘Pinkie’, a hundred-strong community of beautiful, diverse, inspirational LGBTQ+ people who come together to sing, share and spread joy. We are our own chosen family.
Impact – As MD, you get to influence the high-level and long-term direction of the choir to share the joy of music among the LGBTQ+ community and raise awareness of their rights. Our choir makes a real difference to people’s lives in the UK and around the world.
Growth – The role would give you the opportunity to develop your skills in conducting, working with, and managing a diverse choir of singers with mixed abilities, with a desire to improve their vocal performance.
We are sad to announce that, after 13 years, we will be parting ways with our Musical Director, Murray Hipkin.
The Pink Singers, an LGBTQ+ community choir based in London, bids a very fond and heartfelt Pinkie farewell to our long-standing Musical Director, Murray Hipkin. Following recent changes in Murray’s career, we have made the difficult, mutual decision that it is time for Murray’s tenure to come to an end.
Murray has been the Pinkies’ Musical Director for over 13 years and whilst sad to say goodbye, we appreciate the outstanding service and dedication that he has shown to us and our community for such an extended period. Since Murray took the musical helm, we have grown to become a 100-strong group of amateur singers who come together to sing, perform and campaign for our community both in the UK and abroad. We remain proud to represent a diverse range of sexual orientations and gender identities from all walks of life, united by a passion for choral singing. Murray has given us his extraordinary talent, musical passion and love of our community, and for that we will remain forever grateful.
“It is with enormous sadness that I have had to accept that major changes in my career path, necessitated in no small part by the current upheaval at English National Opera, where I have worked since 1983, mean that I am no longer in a position to give the Pink Singers the time and energy that they need and deserve from their Musical Director. The last 13 years count among the most joyful and affirming of my professional life and it has been a truly transformative experience to have had the privilege of working with the choir. My work with them has taken me to Pride marches around the world, into the recording studio, onto Zoom, and, of course, to wonderful concert venues such as Het Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam, the NCPA, Mumbai and, of course, our London “home”, Cadogan Hall. I have made friendships for life and learned many invaluable lessons and I will always be grateful for my time as MD of this amazing community.”
We wish Murray all the very best for his next endeavours and know that he will never be far from our performances, our hearts and the LGBTQ+ community.
Murray’s farewell performance with the choir will be as guest conductor at our next concert alongside Interim Musical Director, Olivia Doust on the 20th January 2024.
As part of our 40th year celebrations we are running a series of ‘Hometown Concerts’. The idea behind the series is that choir members take The Pinkies home to towns and cities that we have not visited before but have a special place in the hearts of our members. Kicking off the country-wide tour, our scouse duo Rachel and Darren took us to Liverpool for an amazing weekend. Over to Rachel…
Growing up in Liverpool definitely gave me a strong sense of social justice and an appreciation of good music, so it’s no wonder that, since living in London, I’ve found a home in this choir. Recently I had the joy of bringing these two things I love together, taking the Pink Singers to visit my home city.
The idea of a hometown visit came about when planning celebrations for the 40th anniversary of our choir. Members of the Pink Singers have come from all kinds of different places across the world and across the UK. The idea was to take our choir’s message, music and vision of an LGBTQ+ community back to the hometown of one of our members. We would connect with local LGBTQ+ choirs, foster solidarity and reach communities and audiences that we wouldn’t otherwise encounter. So over the last year, I’ve been working with Darren, another scouse Pink Singer, hatching plans to visit Liverpool.
After months of planning with two local LGBTQ+ choirs, the Liverpool Rainbow Chorus and the Proud Marys in Chester, and Liverpool Pride, our weekend in Liverpool began on a Friday evening where we brought the three choirs together to get to know each other and rehearse ahead of our performances on Saturday. As we welcomed and introduced members of the choirs, and finally met our fellow organisers from the other choirs in person after months of planning as a team spread across three cities, Darren and I couldn’t quite believe we had really made all of this happen. But it was when we began singing together that the magic really started. I don’t think there’s anything more uplifting and bonding than singing together in harmony, knowing we all have this experience in common – and by the end of the evening we had made new friends. The atmosphere was amazing, and it sounded great.
On Saturday we had the honour of kicking off Liverpool’s Pride March together on the steps of the iconic St George’s Hall. This year Liverpool was also hosting Kyiv Pride, a poignant reminder of how we must not take for granted the safety and security that allows us to celebrate and protest together as a community, and sending a message of solidarity across borders. It was an emotional moment being joined by our friends from the other two choirs in our Pink Singers’ rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone to send off a record-breaking colourful crowd of 20,000 people on Liverpool’s Pride march.
The energy was high as we sang and danced our way along the parade through Liverpool’s city centre and down to the waterfront. In the afternoon, we had our second performance, in the beautiful venue of the Museum of Liverpool, where we shared some of our Pink Singers favourite songs, cheered and danced along to brilliant performances from our friends in the Liverpool Rainbow Chorus and the Proud Marys, and sang together as a joint choir. Having my family and friends in the audience made this a particularly special moment for me, and it was while singing Chosen Family that I reflected on how grateful and proud I felt to have this opportunity to bring together so many of the people I love in one of my favourite places and share this music.
The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying all that Liverpool has to offer and soaking up the party atmosphere of Pride. I loved making these memories with my fellow Pinkies and enjoying my home city together. This hometown visit was a wonderful experience to bring the music of the Pink Singers to a new audience, come together with two fantastic LGBTQ+ choirs and spread our message and positive vision of a joyful LGBTQ+ community connecting through music. A powerful reminder that You’ll Never Walk Alone.
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.