As we enter the last week of LGBT History Month, we’re revisiting one of the themes of an event which we took part in at the start of February called Queer Question Time. The panel discussed being gay in professional sports, the need for more sportspeople to come out publicly, and how important this is in demonstrating to the wider society that the LGBT community is not made up exclusively of “white able-bodied TV chat show presenters”.
Indeed, our community is all about diversity, as is our choir, and we’re not just about singing Glee versions of Madonna classics (as much as we love to!) Here we perform Eric Whitacre’s modern choral work With A Lily In Your Hand, set to words from a poem by Federico García Lorca.
The Pink Singers are proud to take part in LGBT History Month. On 1 February, we sang at Southwark Council’s London Bridge headquarters for the launch event of the council’s 2011 LGBT History Month programme — Queer Question Time chaired by BBC Dragon’s Den presenter Evan Davis.
Answering questions were Matthew Parris, broadcaster and Times columnist and former Tory MP; Sue Sanders, co-chair of Schools Out; John Amaechi, psychologist, New York Times best-selling author and former NBA basketball player; Angela Eagle, Labour MP.
It was with a mixture of trepidation and excitement that I, as a recent Newbie, approached my first ‘community’ gig at Finsbury Library, Islington.
I had experienced the occasion of the winter concert at the Royal Academy of Music and the sense of fun that The Southbank Centre brought. For me, this was a different kettle of fish altogether – the thought of a more intimate gig, in a more informal setting sent the fear of god through me for some reason – not least because our audience consisted of, mainly other gay people.
A swift glass of wine and a nibble, pre-gig, took the edge off for both performers and audience and we were thankfully received with open arms!
Philip R, warmed the audience up in his inimitable style with his cheeky quips and the first plink of the piano and the drop of our heads in the introduction to Goldfinger provoked roars of laughter which was initially a little worrying but this soon turned to reassurance that we were being received in the manner intended – tongue in cheek and fun!
Ply the audiences with alcohol every time I say! Bond went down a storm with cheers and whooping from the audience. Could it get any better? Apparently so as we had people singing along and even a couple dancing in the aisles to the Motown medley!
A great sense of warmth and pride overcame me as we took our final bow and the crowd cried ‘More’. We left the stage on a definite high and mingled with the audience over further drinks and snacks. In true Pinkies style, some continued riding the wave by taking a trip to Islington gay bar ‘The Green’ post-performance. It was another success and we may, I hear, be invited back, which is great news.
13 Pinkies – including newbies like myself – turned out for a ‘command performance’ at Islington Town Hall’s opening event for LGBT History Month, 1 Feb 2008.
It was a great privilege to ‘play Islington’ as the borough has always been at the centre of London’s LGBT history – from the first gay rights demonstration by Stonewall and the first ‘out’ Mayor (Robert Crossman) to groundbreaking community organisations like the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and London Friend. Islington also boasts the largest number of same sex cohabiting couples in London. Ahhhh!
After a careful warm-up with our maestro Michael – we entered the rather grand, oak-panelled and red-carpeted venue to the rousing applause of some 60 plus assembled guests.
A hush descended as Michael struck up the opening chords of Come What May on the electric keyboard. The well-polished harmonies really kicked in at the end of the song and we were rewarded with tumultuous applause from an enthusiastic crowd – including Out Lesbian Deputy Council Leader, Lucy Watt. An impassioned rendition of “Hymne a l’Amour” followed, with the choir coping admirably with some tongue-twisting French lyrics.
Then is was ‘Heads down on four!’ for the Abba Medley – accompanied by the paired pelvic thrusting provided by Susan and Mark. The song was a suitably camp finish to a memorable evening. Thanks must go to Michael for accompanying us so beautifully, Phillip for his amusing announcements and Lynne for organising the booking and the last rehearsal for this season.
On the evening of the 12th of February 2007, the small group was priveleged to perform at the launch of Out In Time , a gay and lesbian history of the East End, at the Docklands Musuem in Canary Wharf.
The place itself was a converted warehouse with lofty ceilings, so there was some concern about how the acoustics would work, especially since the audience seemed to be doing the networking thing. There was some initial anxiety too about getting us all there in time, but the last few of our group showed up in the nick of time and we trooped on stage.
After a brief introduction, the dozen or so of us launched into our usual mix of jazz and pop numbers. We opened with Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy which is always a winner, and performed a version of Ain’t Misbehavin’ which those of us there will remember for a long time. Then there was the crowd-pleasing Madness medley. Many people stopped to sing along which is always a confidence boost! We performed a half hour set to appreciative applause.
After that there was time to have a glass of wine and wander around the exhibition. The East End certainly is rich in gay cultural history, and we were pleased to be a part of this celebration of London’s gay roots. Mark chastely Hollywood-kissed me, which was one the the highlights of the evening!