Pink Paradiso appearance

pink_paradisoThe Pink Paradiso
We appeared as part of this 'Cabaret' style evening. We sang Somewhere and Let the River Run on our own followed by us backing their singer on When a Child is Born. As the finale of the show, we let loose with the entire cast in a large-scale White Christmas.

The show actually ran for several nights, but we only performed on the two nights where food was not being served - the 12th and 17th - as they obviously needed to give us their full attention and not be distracted by the turkey.

Our concert on the theme of "Freedom"

This year we continued our longstanding tradition of marking World AIDS Day in Brighton and Hove and the theme of the evening was "Freedom" and included songs and music from around the globe based on this theme. As it was the last full (and packed!) concert of our 10th Anniversary Year we were also very pleased to welcome the The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Carol Theobald who lit the first candle of our commemorative vigil.
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We had 'two' special guests; our friends
The City of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus (counting them as one!) who performed their 'AIDS Trilogy', taking us musically through the stages of the development of AIDS in the gay community so far .
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We were also pleased to have the inspirational Thandi Haruperi, who came to talk to us about her personal experience of
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being a black woman with HIV, giving us a broader perspective than we are used to.

We were delighted that Marco Nardi offered Sign Language Interpretation for the first time at one of our concerts and as I'm sure everyone would agree, he not only provided an obvious benefit for non-hearing members of our audience, but provided every one of us with a new and enjoyable angle on the performances.


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The candlelit vigil, led by Madame Mayor, gave the opportunity for everyone to contribute to the evening in their own personal way.

We had some beautiful duets, solos, the women's section and two full choirs and after such enthusiastic performances it was an honour to receive a standing ovation from the audience. We gave an encore of 'Change In My Life' which had the audience joining in too! A great end to the evening.

Change in my life

The proceeds from this concert will be going to the
International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

Click
here to see the programme.

Hazel O'Connor at Dingwalls, Camden Lock, London

Well here we were appearing at the final gig of Hazel's tour:

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and we left North Hove on a wet Sunday morning and it felt like we were on tour, in our own hired coach to London ...
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We arrived at Dingwalls in Camden to find ourselves surrounded by
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trendy looking shops (seemed a bit like the 60s for those that can (Just) remember them) with plenty of food in small stalls surround the lock - supplied in one case by 'Falafal Queen'. Say no more.

The format of the evening followed that of our
previous performance with her but with a slight change of lineup in that this time we were with Hazel, Cormac and Fionán (acoustic guitar and flute) and we were in North London.

We came on first preceded by a fine introductory speech from Peter (Hazel's promoter) and were met by a surprisingly enthusiastic crowd, considering that we were "playing away from home". Our set was:

Change In My Life
Nobody Knows
I Wish I Knew How It Feels to be Free
Somewhere
Homophobia
Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves

Sadly, not all of the "30 strong" Rainbow Chorus could fit on the stage as it was rather small so what you see here is those of us that made it on, including some for whom it was their first live performance with the choir ...
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There was then a short interval, followed by Hazel's set where she sang a goodly number of her songs from over the years, accompanied brilliantly by Cormac and Fionán.


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Then it was our turn back on stage, powering into 'Blackman' as the first song which went down very well so we just got stuck in, performing Driftwood, Strong D-Days and Eighth Day. Hazel then did an audience participation number with the audience so we sort of led them in a chorus which had everyone joining in and then we were done...

Except that we then returned for chorus assistance with Hazel of 'Beyond the breaking glass' and then we all closed the show with Hazel's biggest hit - Will You?
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Well, it was all really great- the audience had a whale of a time, it was a real pleasure to work with Hazel again who is wonderfully inclusive and made it feel like the stage was for all of us, not just 'Hazel and guests'. Cormac was a treat on the Irish harp too and it was great to meet with Fionán for the first time who lent a new dimension to the sound, especially the lovely flute solo on Hazel's solo version of Will You?


Thanks to Wayne for the photographs (which came out a little odd which we reckon is connected with the LED lighting as we've never seen such strange effects for any pictures we've had before).

Will we all perform together again? Well, you never know ...

A Concert for Pride week - Songs from West Side Story and more

In 2007 the theme of Pride was 'Musicals' - so our performance during Pride week as part of our our ongoing 10th Anniversary celebrations was a mixture of songs including a set of favourites from the fabulous "West Side Story"!

Here's the
programme for the evening.

This was a milestone concert for us in that it was the first full-length concert we've given on our own where we ditched our music folders - and what a difference! Not only was the visual presentation of our performance enormously improved but it was reflected in the musical quality too with comments from the audience like "so together", "professional", "when you stop you really stop" and so on. It prompted similar comments from many of us in the choir too and I think it's safe to say that it was probably one of the most musically and personally satisfying and enjoyable concerts we've given.

In the first half we were dressed in our new Rainbow Chorus tops (only seen before on the
Paris catwalk!)

First half WSS
After that there was a short interval and then we came back with a vengeance for part 2 - Songs from West Side Story.
Open WSS
We began spread out, relaxed and chatting around the stage, gradually coming together whilst singing the opening number - Tonight.



There was a narrative beautifully read by Simon, Michael and Edana which gave the context for each song.
Narrative

The up tempo songs such as Something's Coming, America and Cool gave us a chance to join in the action with moving and shimmying and clicking of fingers and the response from the audience showed how much they liked it.

America
We dressed in a way that's not been seen at any of our previous concerts and it went down a storm so check out the fab costumes worn by the women (strangely none of the men put on a frock ...) straight from the streets of the Upper West Side in the 50s


The audience loved it, we loved it, Glen and Adam played brilliantly, the staff at the Sallis Benney were great, Jess the front of house manager and especially the sound and light man Graham and Tim the technician. Having such helpful people around really made a difference.
The End
Withdrawal is now setting in ...

You can see some more pictures on our
Photo Gallery.

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Free Vocal workshop

Continuing our tradition for LGBT singers to meet and make music together in a supportive and friendly environment we offered a free Pre-Pride vocal workshop in Brighton with an opportunity to sing with us at our Pride concert.

It was led by Guillermo Rosenthuler, a fantastic motivational singer and coach and I think it's fairly safe to say that everyone who attended got a lot out of it. Guillermo tooks us through Argentinian and African songs, a particular type of French spiritual singing with Italian words and even a medieval English song celebrating drink. All in all, fairly international I think! It was lovely to see some new faces (and one familiar one) in our guests and hope that they will continue and join the choir, but even if they don't I'm sure they will have had a lovely day ... and even sun and good weather at lunchtime. And thanks very much to Sé who offered us lovely hospitality at his home.

Reduced 2007 Pride Logo

Paris Pride


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On the 28th of June most of the choir arrived via Eurostar in Paris as guests of
Podium and after a brief wander around Montmartre we went to rehearse with them in preparation for Sunday. They were very welcoming, kindly supplied us with food & drink and we ended the evening with a wonderful and moving singalong around the piano.

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Their accompanist Antoine knew all of the accompaniment for such diverse songs as Hey Jude, While My Guitar Gentle Weeps, Supertramp's Downstream(!), The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay and so on. Antoine's a star. We then wandered back to our accommodation so generously provided in the homes of our hosts - they are all so lovely. Aaahhhhhhh.

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Next day we did our own thing but several of us met for lunch and then that evening went to enjoy "
La Nuit d'Equivox" (this link may not be permanent but they're on our links page too) - well, I just cried tears of happiness watching them. They were a sort of theatrical choir and sang around the theme of night and dressed appropriately as burglars, temptresses, sheep, vampires and more. Utterly inspired!
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Saturday was Pride and we were on the first float with
Podium and each choir took it in turn to do a little singing/lip-synching to our various pre-recorded hits along the parade which began at Montparnasse and wound it way to Place de la Bastille.
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The weather was fine, the crowds were out in force, the speeches were spoken and we had a wonderful time, though some of the songs did tire just a tad after the 10th time ... The evening involved dinner in the Marais with friends from the other choirs, a fabulous South American cocktail bar for some of us and a late bed. Zzzzz ...

So, to Sunday. A picnic in Le Jardin de Luxembourg followed by the concert.
Melo'men were first on, then us and then Podium. The songs we sang were Let the River Run, Steal Away, My Funny Valentine, Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, Will You?, In This Heart, Some where and Tonight. We also performed Will I Lose My Dignity (from Rent) with the other two choirs.

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At the end we all came together to close with Comme d'habitude (My Way) which a friend of mine now living in Paris said "gave me goosebumps".
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We had an large and appreciative audience who enjoyed this free open-air concert whilst sitting under the lovely trees around the bandstand.
Then most of us walked briskly to catch the Vedettes du Pont Neuf
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for a little Seine sightseeing, again kindly organised by Podium. Sunday evening was our last time with our hosts, so a lovely dinner again (Parisien Pizza I think) and then off to do our own thing on our final night.

For those that had stayed the whole time, this was a last chance for a little browsing, wandering, gift purchases and perhaps a little more food and then finally off to Gare du Nord to catch the Eurostar home. It was a fantastic weekend for all of us which we will all remember for years to come. We hope to return the favour next year, so point your RSS feed
here to make sure that you won't miss it and have a browse through some more photos here.

Au revoir pour maintenant.

The Kemptown Carnival

We were invited to appear on stage in Fish Square! at this regular and popular local event on Saturday the 16th of June. We had a vocal warm-up around the corner and the woman looking after the road barrier seemed to enjoy our rough version of 'Fever'!

We were on stage at 12:15 which was 15 minutes earlier than planned but that's how they ran it, so I hope none of you missed us if you turned up at the scheduled time... It was a bit strange singing within something like a burger van and the acoustics could have been better, but hey, it was fun as you can see from the photos - there's a few more on the gallery page. We didn't capture in a photo the moment where one of the sound men 'crept' off the stage and caught a mic cable and brought it crashing to the stage and then half dragged it off during our last song! As true professionals (ahem) we carried on, unruffled.

The song list was:

Let the river run
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps
Steal away
Will you?
In this heart
Tonight

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On stage

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Lorna, Becca and Edana (Ewan and Craig behind)


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Matt, our MD, giving the punters a sly (and strangely fetching) glance


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Sé, Stephen, Rob, Simon (in hiding) and Michael in full flight

This Way for the Gas, Ladies & Gentleman - Brighton Fringe Festival

We were invited again to perform the piece in which we took part for Holocaust Memorial Day earlier this year - see item in January 2007 on this page. The difference is that this time we performed in the UdderBELLY tent (I kid you not) and we performed for 5 nights which was a first for the choir.

There were lots of interesting battles with the sound and lighting. On Friday the video projection was disrupted by a message proclaiming that "Your anti-virus subscription has expired" - still, the show must go on... Then, on the final Sunday performance there was the exciting addition of an evening of torrential rain resulting in water running off one of the main stage lights onto the back of the drummer during the performance!

Brighton IDAHO

Rainbow Chorus was again invited to perform at this year's commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia event in Brighton, after appearing at the inaugural Brighton day in 2006.

The event, intended to celebrate human rights and to draw attention to those countries still persecuting gay people with punishment or execution took place
near the Volks Electric Railway Station. There was a sky candle release, speeches by Dr Desmond Turner MP, Caroline Lucas MEP, Nigel Tart from NUT LGBT wing and Jeff Grift from the Public and Civil Service Union LGBT wing and of course, us!

From the original press release:

The Brighton gay community is drawing attention to the victims of international homophobia with a seafront event. The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is held every year on 17th May to commemorate the day in 1990 that homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organisation's list of mental illnesses. 

IDAHO is now marked internationally as a celebration of the human rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people throughout the world, and to draw attention to the 77 countries that still punish gay people with imprisonment or execution. IDAHO will be 3 years old in 2007, and the British gay community is planning several events to mark the day across the country. 

Brighton & Hove Council have voted to officially recognise IDAHO and will be flying the rainbow flag from the Town Hall. 


The event will include a performance by the Rainbow Chorus choir, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, a minute's 'noise' in partnership with the Public and Commercial Services Union to remember the international victims of homophobic violence, a speech by local MP Dr Desmond Turner, and the release of 77 visually stunning sky lanterns to represent the 77 countries that still persecute gay people with imprisonment and execution. 

Sky lanterns or "Khoom Fay" have been used in Thailand for hundreds of years where they are believed to convey wishes to heaven. 

Nick Antjoule of IDAHOBIT says: "Hatred and intolerance towards people of different sexual orientations, gender identities or race is an issue for our whole community. Only by challenging it at work, in schools, in the street and overseas will we overcome it. I hope this event will lead to greater international cooperation and sharing of the expertise we have built up in Brighton." 

Cliff James of Brighton IDAHOBIT says: "Every single person has an inalienable human right to their own sexuality, whether gay, straight or bisexual. But we are living in a world where men and women are still abused, imprisoned or killed by state agents because they happen to be gay. 

"IDAHO is a celebration of a person's right to love and be loved by who they choose. It's an opportunity to turn a spotlight on those who persecute others because of their sexuality. There is a war of ideas going on right now between those who believe in love and tolerance, and those who believe in hatred and prejudice. 

"IDAHO is a chance for all of us, whatever our sexuality, to declare which side we are on. Simply by coming to the IDAHO event on Brighton seafront on May 17th, people can make a declaration in defence of tolerance."

There were some impassioned speeches and the lantern lighting was lovely, being blessed as we were by the first warm and clear day in weeks. There are some photographs on our Gallery page .

Liz and Dee's civil partnership

BLAGSS Winter Pride 10-pin Challenge

The crack Rainbow Chorus team headed down to the Brighton Marina Bowlplex to to battle it out for the winning title.


Rob 'The Nazz' Collins, Stephen '26 Years since I last bowled' Watson, Liam 'Thunderball' O'Shea and Michael '3 Strikes' Gough poised for the challenge
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Here you can see Michael's impressively high individual score
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The whole event was a lot of fun with all 26 lanes taken up with all sorts of local LGBT groups. The scores are averaged over the number of team members so that having 9 members in the team doesn't give you an unfair advantage. We did very well in the first of the two games, but whether we were a little blasé or a little the worse for alcohol on the 2nd we didn't quite keep up our original momentum - having said that, Michael, as you can see below, managed a stunning 3 consecutive strikes (all the skittles down with one ball) and was obviously 'robbed' of some super special prize.

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Ultimately, we didn't win, but if the BLAGSS 10-pin Bowling team hadn't done so well (as you would expect!) we would have been 3rd which isn't 'arf bad eh?

A performance at the Komedia in Brighton for Holocaust Memorial Day

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Performed by The Life & Death Orchestra, Brighton Youth Orchestra and the Rainbow Chorus, this people’s opera commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day 2007 with a powerful narrative and music based on the words of poets, writers and artists such as Tadeusz Borowski, Arnold Daghani and Micheline Maurel.

The musical performance was preceded by a moving, and at times harrowing, talk given by Stefan Reszcynski, a survivor of three concentration camps.

It's important to remember that this is not just about something that ended in 1945, it's about the abuses of human rights which still continue around the world today.

An article from our local paper, The Argus, is
here.

Some useful links related to this topic:

The Holocaust Timeline
BBC articles
Images of the Holocaust (some of this is not easy viewing)
Wikipedia
Homosexual men and women under the Nazis