35 years of perspective

Gareth leading the Pinkies London Pride march

Our new Events Manager, Gareth, reflects that our core purpose has never changed, even though the times have been a-changing.


Having a birthday always brings a few things into perspective, so when the Pink Singers turned 35 (and I reached 36) this year it encouraged me to learn a bit more about where the choir has come from, where we are now and what the future holds.

A quick rummage on the website brought me face-to-face with the immeasurably profound online archive Singing the Changes, compiled to celebrate the Pinkies’ last big milestone of 30 years. Taking time to read through this lovingly curated potted queer history set against my own milestones was a really moving experience and I thoroughly recommend you head over and learn, or remind yourself, of the tenacity displayed by groups like the Pink Singers to make it through a far bleaker situation for the LGBT+ community than that we currently face. Joining a group with such a history can be an intimidating thought, but there are countless inspirational testimonies from past and present members as well as plenty of footage underlining the primary purpose of the choir: spreading joy through song.

Pink Singers perform the Winter 2018 concert “A Night At The Movies: The Sequel” at Cadogan Hall, London, 20th January 2018

Moving on to the present and my first year with the Pinkies, I find that primary aim still very much in place. Joining the choir for my first performance at the Cadogan Hall, I was struck by how much joy this odd-ball bunch of 90 people from across the gender spectrum is capable of exuding in each and every number from .Nuxx’s Born Slippy to Irene Cara’s Flashdance and even Fauré’s sumptuous In paradisum. The reactions I’ve had from friends, family and loyal Pinkie fans, showed me that, even after thirty years of singing in choirs, there’s still a huge amount for me to learn about putting on a good show.

Warming up for our recent Mixtape Concert – June 2018

From a celebration of the best of cinematic music to our own 35th celebratory mixtape, my time with the Pinkies keeps throwing out glorious moments and learning challenges The choreography to Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer and the scrunching harmonies of Chris Chambers’ beautiful arrangement of Boy Meets Girl’s Waiting for a Star to Fall are amongst these, not to mention the difficulties of being heard above the rumble of the Central Line.

The Pinkies say “Love” at eBay’s Pride Party

The season ends with a whole host of exciting small gigs icing our birthday cake as pride fever sweeps the nation. From moving performances at the Science Museum’s Sexuality Lates and eBay’s Pride Party, to a welcome home that passengers at Heathrow Airport will never forget and wonderfully colourful days singing and marching at Pride London and UK Pride on the Isle of Wight; we’ve been dosed up on rainbows, unicorns and glitter for the next few months at least.

And so to the future; what do the next 35 years hold? My crystal ball has been a bit off of late, but I can definitely tell you to save the date for our first December concert in a decade! On Saturday, 15th December we take to the stage of the Cadogan Hall for a host of seasonal specialities and festive favourites as the Pinkies perform some of the classiest and campest Christmas number ones and songs from the most iconic Christmas movies (and yes, that might include Die Hard) as well as a few more traditional winter favourites.

December 15th – Save The Date!

We’re looking forward to seeing you there in the hope that your days will be ‘merry and bright’ as we once again ‘make the Yuletide gay’.

Heathrow Airport

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!

Timeline datestamp: 01 July 2018

Science Museum – Sexuality Lates

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!

Timeline datestamp: 27 June  2018

IDAHOT 2017

This IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) day, 17 May, the Pink Singers performed at a private event, to celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ+ staff at the offices of one our long-standing sponsors, EY. It was a wonderful evening, with song and art and a sense of not just acceptance, but welcome, and we were lucky to be a part of it. Alto Zoe shares her thoughts on the day.

Just exactly how lucky we are has been brought home to me and other members of our choir – and the wider LGBTQ+ community – in recent months. The UK in general, and London in particular, is a broadly decent place to be queer or gender non-conforming. Not that that means it doesn’t have its problems – Northern Ireland is still dragging its feet on marriage equality, and violence against members of our community still happens. But we have legal protections and rights, hard won by activists and campaigners over the years, and whatever someone’s private opinion of us might be, they don’t get to use that as a reason to discriminate against us any more, at least not legally speaking.

Contrast that with the situation in Poland – where a concert we’d been invited to take part in was cancelled as none of the venues wanted to be associated with ‘gays’; or the USA, with the interestingly paranoid ‘bathroom bills’ and threats to roll back LGBTQ+ protections; the horrific situation in Chechnya, which seems to keep getting worse, with world governments seemingly reluctant to get involved beyond disapproving frowns – would there be that same reluctance if the target were another minority group, based on skin colour or religion, I wonder?

It’s easy, sometimes, to forget how far we’ve come, especially when you know that despite progress, there are still battles to be fought. So last night, singing with my Pinkie family, surrounded by out and proud guests, with London glittering behind us, I counted my blessings – and readied myself to keep shouting for those who don’t get to enjoy that same sense of welcome.

Timeline datestamp: 17 May 2017

Popping my pinkie cherry for the very best of causes…

Abi Kay Fresh-faced Pinkie Abigail gives us the low down on what the Pinkies have been up to this week!
Learnt the words? Check.
Know the choreo? Check.
Dressed in black? Check.
All warmed up? La-la-la check!
I was ready to get up and give it my all.
A few days ago, on Tuesday 17 May, a group of about 25 Pink Singers came together on the ninth floor of EY’s riverside building, and, against a stunning backdrop of the Thames, performed a set drawn from our summer concert’s all-glitz, all-glamour repertoire.
This wasn’t just any old corporate performance, though. We were there as guests of Unity, EY’s LGBT network, to help them celebrate IDAHOBIT – International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
1You may have heard it called IDAHO, IDAHOT or IDAHOBIT, but whichever acronym you use, 17 May is a powerful day which highlights the discrimination and violence which LGBTQ people face across the world and calls upon those with the ability to lead and make change to step up to the task. It was quite something, then, to stand as part of a group of 25 out-and-proud people and make our voices heard.
It was a very special evening for me on a personal level too, though. I joined the Pink Singers as a Soprano in February, not having sung properly in about six years, and it was my first performance with the choir!
May 2016I certainly didn’t imagine, two years ago at my first ever Pride, shortly after coming out to family and friends, that the choir I watched perform on the main stage would one day take me under their supportive wings. I remember turning to my best friend and saying, ‘you know, maybe I could do that.’ Well, now I’ve popped my Pinkie cherry – and I even got the choreography right…
This is just the beginning for me, and for us. Now I know I can perform while being upstaged by the Tower of London, I can’t wait to see what we can pull off for One Night Only on Saturday 4 June!