By Special Arrangement

In January 2016, we released an album of tailor-made arrangements and raised money for Diversity Role Models and The Albert Kennedy Trust. The Pink Singers’ fourth album, By Special Arrangement, showcases the performing and arranging talent that the choir has developed over its 33-year history.

Track list

  1. Mr Blue Sky
  2. I, Choir
  3. Earth, Wind & Choir
  4. Masculine Women, Feminine Men
  5. Make You Feel My Love
  6. Relax
  7. Smells Like Teen Spirit
  8. Running Up That Hill
  9. Video Killed The Radio Star
  10. Chandelier
  11. This Woman’s Work
  12. All By Myself
  13. Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
  14. I Wanna Dance With Somebody
  15. Set Fire to the Rain
  16. Both Sides Now
  17. A Million Voices

We’re thrilled to have been able to make this album a reality, through the help of those who supported our Crowdfunding campaign in December 2015, which supported Diversity Role Models and The Albert Kennedy Trust. Both charities do tremendous work helping young LGBT people in need.

£14 


Arrangers & composers
Chris Chambers, Richard Thomas, Andy Mitchinson, Michael Derrick, Naomi Berwin, Murray Hipkin, Simon Pearson

Artistic team
David Baxter, Artistic Director
Murray Hipkin, Musical Director
John Flinders, Accompanist
Damien Kennedy, Assistant Producer

Strings
Gavin Davies, Violin
Gavin Rhind, Violin
Graeme McKean, Viola
David Robinson, ‘Cello

Production team
Chris Kalcov, Recording, Mixing & Mastering Engineer
Jessica Camilleri, Assistant Engineer
Jeremy Donovan & Simon Pearson, Project leads

Huge thanks to our crowdfunding supporters, listed below!

Mark Winter, Johnathon Finlay, Ian Stephenson, Guy Keith-Miller, Jay Hirst, Paul Lenz, Colinne, Ivan Benjamin Roets, Helen Drew, Jeremy Donovan, Simon Pearson, Louisa Quinn, Oskar Marchock, Michelle , Gareth Williams , Gill, Nicola Swann, Tanya Wright, Ellie, Gary Davidson-Guild, Ian, Jana & Benjy xx, Sam Mason, Sally-Anne Smith, Caroline Allan, Martin Brophy MBE, Kate, Adrian Ryder, Angie Gayle, Jackie, Ragnar Veigar Guðmundsson, David, Emma Donovan, Cass, Frances Bowen, Claire Lawton , Carolynn BigMomma Briggs, Jessica, Naomi Berwin, Ruth T, Hazel Viveash, Julie Ann Pope, Michael Mann, Ian Faulkner, Jim & Carole Oliver, Zoe Johannes, Barry Dowling, cat tucker, IaconCity, Philip Welch, Zoe B, Alexander Clifton-Melhuish, Mina Candy, Timur Charles, Paul Rumbelow, Amy Wilman, Rachel D, Milton Jolin, Alex Rainford, Sonia Rumbelow, Bruce Chambers, Caroline Miller, Marcus Gomez, Mary Dunn, Rachel Sparks, Camilla.i, manarh, Eddie O’Sullivan, Linda Harley Gillespie, Peter Masters, Tracey Button, Oliver Gilbody, Georges & Charlotte, Simon, Ellie, Sigurlaug B. Arngrímsdóttir, Alwyn Tan, Claire-Lou Sankey, Susan Rudy, Ricky and Liz, Dave Cooper, Kate Sandars, Stephen and Julie Drew, Kelly Taylor, PennyFaith, Michael Mckenna, Adrian Scottow, Mark Donovan, Esther MacInnes, Matt Overall, Hilary Perchard, nicky, Jenny Cousins, Susannah Colgate, Yasi Mak, Rafa Vigata Solano, Tom D, Michael Dann, H. Swift, Simon Harrison, Philip Engleheart, Charly Milton, Karin Read & Lucy Barker, Paul Truesdale, Ali Doyle, David Baxter, Penny Langridge, Joshua Whelan, Iain Reeves , Chris, Jess Talmage, Pouneh Mortazavi, Chris Chambers, Liang Wee, Ben Park, Charlie Gadeken, Eric brown, Emelda Nicholroy, Julie and Jed Whelan, Tex G. Beck, Bill Majrowski, Simon Wilkinson, Roger & Kathy  Wilman, Louise Thomas, Richard Greer, Mike Baxter, Rosie, Tim and Tony, The Stefan Magdalinski and Kay Chung Fundation, Jerome De Henau, Hsien Chew, Rod Thomas, Murray Hipkin, MCJ,  Paul A Young, Kirsten Pulley, John Flinders, Robin Summerhill, Sue K, Graham & Anne Pearson, Stormy Bubbles, Lynne Michelle Nicholls, Jan Pimblett, Philip Rescorla, Cass

Timeline datestamp: 04 January 2016

Hand in Hand Hits Brighton

Ben P

The Pink Singers went to Brighton to join 17 other LGBT choirs from all over the UK and Ireland at the second bi-annual choir festival, Hand in Hand. Bass Ben give us the low down…

The Pink Singers hosted the first festival back in 2013 at the Troxy, London and we’d been looking forward to the next one for months, so I was really excited to be escaping from work early on Friday afternoon to head down to the coast for a great weekend of singing with friends old and new.

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Hand in Hand is like a bubble of workshops, concerts and socialising. There’s lots of singing and not a lot of sleep. Our Friday evening started at the Old Ship on the seafront where we met some of our fellow choirs, nearly all of whom we’ve performed with in the past. In the 9 years I’ve spent in the choir I’ve been privileged to meet some amazing people all over the country and it’s always brilliant to see familiar faces coming together.

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Bright and early on the Saturday morning we were off to Brighton Dome to register. A few hours later and after a couple of workshops (“Asian Jazz Improvisation”, anyone!?) it was time for the first of the main concerts which was preceded by the first ever Brian Kennedy Long Service Awards. As one of the two original founders of the Pink Singers, Brian did a huge amount of work for the gay community in London and created a place for people to come together and sing. Incredibly, his legacy lives on today in the Pink Singers that I am proud to be a part of and I’m incredibly grateful to him and Mark Bunyan for deciding to get a group of singers in a room and start note bashing. During the awards it was brilliant to see so many singers who have sung in their own choirs for ten and twenty years. I look forward to my bronze medal at the next Hand in Hand!

Hand in Hand June 2015

We were delighted to open the evening concert to a packed house full of friends, family, and participating choirs. I was really proud to sing two of my husband’s arrangements –’Smells like teen spirit’ and ‘Relax’. Our songs were incredibly well received and hearing the applause from an audience who really know what it’s like to be part of a choir and singing with your friends on stage was a brilliant moment, even for a cynic like me.

Hand in Hand June 2015

Our performance was over in just a few minutes and we were able to watch all of the other fabulous performances from the likes of our hosts Rainbow Chorus and Brighton GMC, Diversity, Sing out Bristol and the Deep C Divas. Whilst all the performances were brilliant, two really struck a chord for me: LGMC’s performance of ‘Through the Barricades’ accompanied by a video of the difficulties many thousands of LGBT people continue to face around the world was a stark reminder of how lucky we were to be sat in a concert hall packed full of people who have the liberty and freedom to be honest with the world about who they are, largely without any difficulty. In addition, formed as part of the campaign for a yes vote  at the Irish same-sex marriage referendum, Tá for Grá gave an equally moving (if a bit more lighthearted!) performance of ‘Sew on a sequin’ reminded us to be fabulous, even when the going is tough.

Hand in Hand June 2015

I left Brighton on Sunday knackered, hungover, sounding a little hoarse and ready for an early night. More than anything else, I left feeling happy and lucky to be part of such an amazing group of people. The next Hand in Hand takes place in Manchester but isn’t for two whole years! It seems like an eternity to wait, but we’re already looking forward to it.

The Pink Singers started the Hand in Hand series in 2013.

Timeline datestamp: 11 June 2015

New Single for World AIDS Day

Pop artist Bright Light Bright Light records a charity single with the Pink Singers and it is released in November for World Aids Day.

Since 1983, we Pink Singers have been entertaining and educating through music, from backing Bronski Beat on “The Age of Consent” to performing at No. 10 Downing Street to celebrate equal marriage, as well as the Stonewall Equality Show in 1995 at the Royal Albert Hall.

As the UK’s longest-serving LGBT choir, many of our members have been directly affected by HIV/AIDS, so when pop sensation Bright Light Bright Light suggested that we release a charity single together for World AIDS Day we jumped at the chance.

You can listen to a taster on the SoundCloud stream below, and whilst the single is released on November 24th you can pre-order now so please do.  At least 20p from each download will go to the Elton John AIDS foundation. Have a listen and let us know what you think in the comments.

Simon and Hsien have written a bit about how the collaboration came about…

Rod Thomas in Avalon Cafe, Glastonbury 2007 (Pic: Simon P)
Rod Thomas in Avalon Cafe, Glastonbury 2007 . (Pic: Simon P)

Simon: I think the first time I saw Bright Light Bright Light live was at Glastonbury festival back in 2007 (then performing as Rod Thomas). I’ve been a big fan since, following his work, seeing his performances in London and following his recent move to New York from afar.

One night at a rehearsal of one of our spin off groups Barberfellas, I played one of his songs to Hsien, who then got in touch to suggest we might work together…

Hsien: I’ve been following Bright Light Bright Light for a while now because I love his brand of electronic music. It always occurred to me that combining his considerable vocal talents with those of the Pink Singers would be a collaboration made in heaven, so you can imagine my excitement when Rod said ‘yes’ to the suggestion. I was even more thrilled when he made an offer to record a charity single together for World AIDS Day to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Performing at the London Lighthouse in 1989
Performing at the London Lighthouse in 1989

Through singing with the Pink Singers I am well aware how devastating a diagnosis HIV/AIDS can be. In the late 80s the choir was based at the London Lighthouse, a hospice for those with AIDS, and has many stories of friends who were lost there. Even now we have members living with HIV who continue to feel stigmatized outside the choir, so it was a natural fit for us to perform on this single.

Rehearsal day!
Rehearsal day!

Simon: putting the track together was easy – I rustled up some simple vocal arrangements together really quickly, we secured some space at a local school, and about 25 of us from the choir came together to record the choral parts. It was great fun, and we all left with the anthem firmly lodged in our brains…

Hsien: hearing our voice parts being laid down one late summer Saturday afternoon was incredible, and listening to them get expertly mixed into the final track you now hear was truly eye-opening. ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’ has a great upbeat sound, but at the same time there lurks a melancholy tinge; it is that fusion of celebration and regret which makes it so irresistible.”

It is has been a privilege collaborating with a talented singer-songwriter like Rod, and a pleasure hearing the final work come together so brilliantly. We hope that ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’ will raise much needed funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and help support their frontline programmes of work helping those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Timeline datestamp: 24 November 2014

Downing Street

2013 was a big year for the Pink Singers and a very special one at that. It was a year of celebration, both for the choir and also the country. Our landmark 30th year saw our 2nd CD Recording as well as our ‘Singing the Changes’ Exhibition. But we had a very special invitation: to sing at No. 10 Downing Street to celebrate the legalisation of Gay Marriage in the UK.

I remember the day we received an email saying that we had been asked to sing at No.10 but at quite short notice (if I recall it was within a matter of days). We managed to form a small group of us quickly and I was lucky enough to be part of the experience, as my Manager at work allowed me to take an extended lunch break to go and sing at quite a momentous occasion.

We all convened on a hot Summer’s day in July 2013 outside the main gates of Downing Street and excitedly gathered outside the main door. I had imagined a Martine McCutcheon-like person to greet us at the door (just like Love Actually) but obviously it was a little more formal than that!

We were given a rehearsal space in one of the Prime Minister’s rooms they used for dining and John, our accompanist, led a warm up for us. Everyone was so spirited and raring to go. We made our way downstairs into the gardens of No.10 and had the opportunity to network with some of the guests who had been part of local society and were LGBT figures and role models, including Clare Balding!

We sang a 20 minute set that consisted of some of our Summer Repertoire including L-O-V-E and Seasons of Love from our previous Winter Season. It was perfectly apt for the occasion and David Cameron even took the time to introduce himself and thank us for our contribution. What stuck in my mind that day is that it wasn’t about what the current government had managed to do, as Cameron specifically thanked Tony Blair and Labour for ‘starting the process’ of allowing Gay Marriage to be legal.

The afternoon finished with celebrations amongst the guests with some Pimms and Lemonade and general high spirits all round. That day I had never been prouder to be a Pinkie and it’s something I’ll never forget. Once again, the Pink Singers made important history and reinforced how important it is to have such communities like ours in this current time.

David
Tenor

Timeline datestamp: 24 July 2013

Hand in Hand 2013

‘Hand in Hand’ festival takes place at The Troxy, Limehouse. Representatives from 21 choirs from around the UK and Ireland took part, with 12 performing in the evening concert. 

Back in July we invited LGBT choirs from around the nation to help us celebrate our thirtieth anniversary with a festival of song, Hand in Hand. We came together at the Troxy in East London for a day of vocal workshops and a spectacular evening concert.

The Pink Singers’ set included the premiere of The Great Choir of London: a pair of pieces written for us by Richard Thomas of Jerry Springer The Opera fame. We’ve made a small film documentary about this memorable day as a thank you to all who made it so special.

You can read more about from Lucy in their blog post.

Timeline datestamp: 14 July 2013