On 7 June 2018 the Pink Singers attended their 35th Pride in London parade. This year the theme of pride was #PrideMatters. Pride in London is always a very special event for the Pink Singers and matters a great deal as it’s what brought our choir together all those years ago.
This year like any other we walked the streets of our fabulous city, holding hands, with our heads held high and singing our favourite songs for the people of London. We were joined by Pinkies old and new, friends and partners and even some of the Pinkie babies in their best rainbow outfits.
To celebrate Pride season Heathrow Airport invited us to sing to travellers as they arrive back in the city. It was the first time the choir had performed in an airport. Simon tells the story…
It was up, up and away for the Pink Singers as we participated in our first “Pride Events at Heathrow” on Sunday the first of July 2018. Around forty Pink Singers fastened their safety belts and boarded the Heathrow Express early that morning to take part in the event. After a quick briefing from the ground crew, our first set took off in Terminal Five at 11.45am.
We had a great response from the surprised passengers in arrivals who found themselves serenaded with songs from our summer concert including This Is Me, Waiting for a Star to Fall, Rainy Days and Mondays, Freedom 90, Set Fire to the Rain, and Proud Mary. It was cabin doors to manual as we flew over to Terminal Four and delighted the unsuspecting arrivals there too. After that we returned our musical director to upright, folded our piano keyboard away and disembarked in an orderly fashion!
On 27 June 2018 the Science Museum, in collaboration with Pride in London, opened it’s doors for an evening of LGBTQ+-inspired Lates. This colourful evening featured live performance, talks, music, activities and even a silent disco. The Pink Singers followed on from queer cabaret act Rhys’s Pieces and performed a short set of songs from the June concert to an audience which filled the exhibition room.
Gay Star News said ‘Europe’s longest-running LGBTI choir Pink Singers stole the show on the ground floor with their repertoire of anthems, including What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes’. We had a fantastic time and hope to be back next year!
The 14th Various Voices was held in Munich and 92 choirs took part, from 23 countries. For the “pinkies” it was a chance to renew old friendships and make new ones, and for some it was their first chance to experience the wider LGBT choral world. As the oldest LGBT choir in Europe, the Pinkies’ performances are always well attended and receive a great reception. However, it does mean we put a certain amount of pressure on ourselves to give an outstanding performance for everyone!
Our repertoire in Munich gave us the opportunity to perform songs from a diverse range of musical styles, from the wondrous “Oh Radiant Dawn” for which we received many, many compliments, to Old Pinkie Favourites “Set Fire to the Rain” and “Proud Mary” with full choreography. For me one of the highlights was to see 3 members of the choir perform solos at their first Various Voices.
It was also exciting to see the range of performances from other choirs: from the sheer polish of the established American choirs, to the enthusiasm and joy of the choirs who were attending the festival for the first time. I can only imagine how the choir members from Ukraine, Poland & Turkey felt being part of such an inspiring and emotional 4 days.
Prior to joining the Pink Singers in September 2012, I had always wondered “Why join an LGBT choir?”. Having attended the last two Various Voices, I see that although the countries we live in may all be at different stages in terms of equality and justice for LGBT+ people, we are all travelling on the same journey. The one thing we all know is that singing as part of a group is something very special, and being supportive of other choirs in whatever way we can is a privilege.