Back to the Empire!

Philip R
Philip R (OBE)

We’re thrilled to be heading over to Dublin next weekend for Various Voices 2014, a fantastic festival bringing together LGBT choirs from across Europe and beyond. We’ll be sharing our experiences as we go, too.
Having just celebrated our thirtieth anniversary last year, we couldn’t help but feel nostalgic. We’re returning to the Hackney Empire on Saturday 19th July to celebrate the best of British performers and composers – and it will be 25 years since we hosted there the 5th European Lesbian and Gay Festival of Song, now known as Various Voices.
Fourteen LGBT choirs came to London for four nights from 11 – 14 May 1989 to support the British gay movement in its fight against Section 28, a law which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality (just like Russia in 2014). As the law was championed by the Thatcher Government we called the Festival Singing The Blues Away.
The event was jointly organised by the Pink Singers and the Pre-Madonnas, a feminist choir so called because “we were famous before SHE was and we like to have our own way”! We received no government or local authority support but were sponsored by MPs Chris Smith and Linda Bellos along with Sir Michael Tippett, Sir Ian McKellen, and Miriam Margolyes.
Around 500 singers came to Hackney from Sweden, France, Holland and Germany. The local Wimpy staff wondered why so many people kept singing in the restaurant and asking for “weggie-burgers”.
We finished each evening with all the choirs singing Dame Vera Lynn’s famous song “We’ll Meet Again”. And we have! The Various Voices Festival returned to London at the South Bank Centre in 2009 and will be in Dublin from 13-16 June with 80 choirs from around the world. We can’t wait!

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

Hand in Hand: guest choirs uniting to perform en masse!

Jerome, UK Concerts Director
Jerome, UK Concerts Director

This Saturday, when you come along to Hand in Hand – our 30th anniversary festival, you won’t just be watching us Pinkies! We’ll be joined by a whole host of other LGBT choirs from around the country. Not got your ticket yet? Buy yours now!
Joining us to sing along as part of the massed choir in Saturday’s evening concert, we welcome London Alternative Choir; Southampton Gay Men’s Chorus; Rainbow Voices, Birmingham; Liverpool LGBT Singers; Northern Proud Voices, Newcastle, and Many Voices, London!

London Alternative Choir

London Alternative Choir is a choir composed of capable amateur singers, created with the aim to entertain, meet like-minded people, and raise the visibility of people and collectives with alternative lifestyles. Continue reading “Hand in Hand: guest choirs uniting to perform en masse!”

Hand in Hand guest choir spotlight: Diversity

Michelle, New Members and Social Secretary
Michelle, New Members and Social Secretary

This Saturday, when you come along to Hand in Hand – our 30th anniversary festival, you won’t just be watching us Pinkies! We’ll be joined by a whole host of other LGBT choirs from around the country. Buy your ticket now!
Another local choir joining us on Saturday is the fabulous Diversity!

All about Diversity

Diversity is London’s LGBT community chamber choir. The choir was formed in 1992 with the aim to sing classical music, along with the best choral music from a diverse mix of other genres.

Diversity, London
Diversity, London

They have developed and grown over the years from a small group of friends to being 50-strong with recent performances at venues such as the Southbank Centre and St Martin-in-the-Fields. Beyond their concerts, they are also actively engaged, along with London’s other LGBT singing groups, in a wide variety of community festivals, events and projects. Continue reading “Hand in Hand guest choir spotlight: Diversity”

Hand in Hand guest choir spotlight: London Gay Men’s Chorus

Simon, Multimedia Director
Simon, Multimedia Director

On Saturday 13th July, when you come along to Hand in Hand – our 30th anniversary festival, you won’t just be watching us Pinkies! We’ll be joined by a whole host of other LGBT choirs from around the country. Not got your ticket yet? Buy yours now!
Continuing our tour of guest choirs, we’re privileged to be joined by Europe’s largest gay choir, the handsome LGMC!

All about London Gay Men’s Chorus

The London Gay Men’s Chorus is Europe’s largest gay men’s choir. Our mission is to entertain, educate and inspire through song – performing to the highest standard and challenging preconceptions of gay men.

London Gay Men's Chorus
London Gay Men’s Chorus

In 1991, nine friends came together to sing a few Christmas carols at Angel Underground Station hoping to raise a few pounds for the Terrance Higgins Trust. London was in the midst of the AIDS crisis and the men, who belonged to a social group called London Friend sang together to find a place of support, of friendship and of brotherhood. Little did they know what they had kickstarted. Continue reading “Hand in Hand guest choir spotlight: London Gay Men’s Chorus”