A few of our stars visit The Planets

On Sunday 26th June, hot on the heels of the choir’s Saturday recording session, Jane, Gill and Jane whizzed up to London to sing with the London Gay Symphony Orchestra. The sell out concert at St John’s in Waterloo concluded with a wonderful rendition of Gustav Holst’s ‘The Planets’ and as some may know, the very very end has a double chorus of eerie women’s voices off stage (in our case on and walking off). It was a great opportunity to network and to support another Gay musical organisation and we can highly recommend their concerts.

Performing at the Kemptown Carnival


On a very sunny 4th of June we performed two short sets at our (now) local carnival on a rather windy afternoon. The set was Siahamba, As Torrents in Summer, Homophobia and Singing for our Lives. The place was buzzing with loads of activity, crowds of people, stalls and all sorts. Great for the carnival, but a somewhat challenging environment for the number of us that were available that day and had to compete with a drumming band as well! Ah the joys of live performance - we did our best though, as always.

BLAGSS Winter Pride Bowling

From the BLAGSS Web site:

Annual 10-Pin Bowling Challenge - Results

The annual BLAGSS ten-pin bowling challenge took place on 1st March at the Bowlplex at Brighton Marina. Nearly 200 players in 25 teams competed against each other, including BLAGSS sports groups and a wide variety of other LGBT community groups (music, professional, students, etc.).

At the half-way point the Rainbow Chorus were showing a small lead over Kickass, followed closely by BLAGSS Ishigaki and Tennis. In Game 2 Kickass regained the lead whilst Switchboard and BLAGSS Golf surged up the field. The overall result put Kickass in top place with Rainbow Chorus marginally beating BLAGSS Ishigaki into second place. Fourth place was taken by BLAGSS Tennis. Final scores can be downloaded
here.


The whole evening, as always, was a lot of fun with the place packed with LGBT teams as far as you could see and a really great atmosphere. Here’s a little bit to the choir from Michael:

Just to let you know that our magnificent bowling team did the Choir proud by coming in at a scorching second place in the BLAGSS annual Bowling Challenge last evening, 1st March. To slightly paraphrase what Liam said, "I normally don't have a competitive bone in my body but when it come to the annual bowling challenge, I don't know what comes over me but I really want to win!"

Well, as you can see below we slipped from our brilliant start but remain the highest placed non-sports team taking part since our first outing way back in 2005. As they say, it’s all about the taking part (well, someone said it was about the winning!) and here’s the team that did it (sadly Gill had to go before the photo was taken):


Clockwise from the left:- Rob, Liam, Simonne, Michael, Adam and Stephen

Stephen staggered everyone, including himself, by scoring four strikes in the first session including three in a row! This was unheard of so let’s hope the same thing happens next year!


You can see the final results below. We will be back ...

Brighton's "No To Hate Crime" vigil


Last year more than 200 people joined together at the Old Steine, Brighton to express their concern and anger and to commemorate those who had been victims of Hate Crime. At the same time there were 10,000 people in Trafalgar Square and many other groups across the country (including several of us from the choir which you can read about on our history page) for the first International Day against Hate Crime. This time we attended the vigil at the Old Steine Fountain with a 2 minute silence at 8pm. The Candle-lit Vigil allowed us to stand shoulder to shoulder with other supporters to stop this happening again and shows our support to all victims of Hate Crime. Phelim from the basses spoke at the event on behalf of the LGBT Greens and Angela in the Tenors spoke about the importance of LGBT choirs for health, self-esteem and visibility amongst other things.

The theme for 2010 was ‘
Uniting communities against Hate Crime
Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard was founded in 1975 and has been providing services to LGBT communities in Sussex ever since. Originally operating as a helpline Switchboard has expanded over the years to include a face-to-face counselling service and to provide diversity, awareness and LGBT affirmative practice training to local organisations.

If you have been the victim of an LGBT hate crime our helpline can provide you with immediate support both emotionally and with the practicalities of dealing with what's happened to you. We can help you to decide whether and how to involve the police and can report the incident confidentially on your behalf - even if you wish to remain anonymous.

The London Vigil is being hosted by the 17-24-30 group.
www.17-24-30.org

Elizabeth Noble of LGBT Switchboard said
‘As an organisation, Switchboard supports LGBT people to overcome the violence and prejudice that we still experience in our streets, our schools, our workplaces and our homes. Hate, in all its forms, is a blight on our city and will only stop when people from across our LGBT communities and beyond stand together and say ‘No’ to those who try to scare, hurt and divide us. This vigil is a unique opportunity for everyone who loves Brighton & Hove to stand together against hate.’

Daniel Ibekwe of Brighton Racial Harassment Forum said
‘The damage done to victims cannot be satisfactorily explained by words, because it cannot be rivalled by any other damage done by any other crimes which humans are either used to or have experience of.

It is and should be a crime that cannot be tolerated or accepted by no person or human, for it is a crime which defiles, demeans and demotes every meaning and being of a human.

The greatest fallacy being that sometimes the motivations for such evil crimes is put down to ignorance and lack of awareness. Whereas this should not be permitted, especially where it is blatantly obvious that the perpetrations of such crimes do so with knowing, deliberate, conscious or orchestrated design and aim.’



Joanna Rowland-Stuart of LGBT disability campaigning charity, Regard Said

“Hate crime, because it grows from a hatred of difference, affects EVERYONE. We are all human beings, and we are all different. Those who seek to hurt your neighbour will just as easily turn on you. Don’t turn your back. It might be yours next.”

A Brighton guest appearance in September!



We were very pleased to have been invited to perform after the Transforming LGBT Lives Conference here in Brighton on September the 15th at the Jurys Inn Hotel.

We performed at a social after the conference itself. The audience after an entire day of talks, discussion and plenary meetings was probably glad to just sit and relax though many had long journeys home and had to leave so the audience was certainly not all of the delegate but with a few whoops, whistles and general appreciation it seemed as though we went down well.

Not only did we perform at the conference, but we had other representation too. Jane Wrin had an excellent
photographic exhibition showing all day in the main plenary room. Finola Brophy was to have delivered a talk on older lesbians but sadly came down with a nasty bug and was not able to deliver the talk nor sing with us which was a real disappointment. Angela Goodall and Stephen Watson delivered a presentation entitled “Why it’s good to sing in an LGBT choir”.

'A Gay Outing' at Charleston

From the web site of Charleston Farmhouse:

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Gay Liberation Foundation. Relish the queer heritage of Charleston with an open house and cocktails on the lawn. A talk with original GLF members, chaired by Simon Watney, the panel includes, gay historian Jeffrey Weeks, lesbian-feminist writer Elizabeth Wilson, critic and transsexual activist Roz Kaveney.


So, as at our last performance the previous year, we performed one half in the beautiful garden and the second in the spacious barn. We reprised a number of songs from our successful Fringe Concert ‘Pop Goes the Rainbow’ and added two brand new songs and a sang a couple of others from our older repertoire.


We were blessed with a gorgeous evening and despite the lack of cup cakes or reliable stage lighting during “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” we gave a performance which we enjoyed and seemed to go down well with the audience who then had a fascinating discussion directly after we left the stage which a number of us stayed to hear.

More photos in the
gallery.

Rainbow Chorus members at the RAH. Again.

We performed the beautiful Fauré’s Requiem for our own World AIDS Day concert in Brighton in 2006 (see separate entry), but when an offer arose to sing it again as well as the new Carl Jenkins Gloria ...


Above you can see some of the 2550 choristers who attended the RAH to sing Faure's Requiem and to perform the World Premier of Karl Jenkins' Gloria and somewhere in there are 5 Rainbow Chorus members! The photo captures some of the scale of this amazing event.

Bowling with BLAGSS

From the BLAGSS Web site:

On Tuesday 9th March BLAGSS hosted the 2010 Ten-Pin Bowling Extravaganza. 180 players took part in 25 teams representing the LGTB community across Brighton.

This year’s winners were Brighton Bandits and the runners-up were BLAGSS Tennis closely followed by Rainbow Chorus.

Well, sad to say we lost our winner’s title from last year but we remain the highest placed non-sports team taking part since our first outing way back in 2005. As they say, it’s all about the taking part and we all had a great time as you can see below:

The Rainbow Chorus team
Clockwise from the front:- Stephen, Kezia, Michael, Liam, Rob, Adam, Tanya and Gill

Gill gave us some star playing as ever with some great strikes (all 10 skittles felled with one ball). Again. Michael also did us proud too as you can see in this blurry photo (sorry, no flash!)
Michael's 3 strikes
This was taken during the first set of 10 games and during our 2nd set we definitely upped our game but not enough to win. So, who knows - we may slip in some extra practice to keep our collective hand in until next year. Win or not, it’s a load of fun and thanks as ever to BLAGSS for organising the whole thing.

Grant Award from the BBC!

We received the great news in December 2010 that we had been awarded grant funding for the choir by the BBC Choral Ambition as part of their Performing Arts Fund! We decided against using it all to pay for a splash out meal and Champagne for the whole choir and instead will be using it to provide musical training instead.

See us
here.

The BBC Performing Arts Fund is a charity that was set up within the BBC in 2003 to help everyone achieve their musical ambitions, from choirs, hip hop artists and musical theatre performers to folk musicians. Since its inception the fund has awarded over £3m to aspiring musicians, performers and groups across a range of genres through funding instruments, training and development. To learn more about what the fund does and how you can apply please visit the website
www.bbc.co.uk/performingartsfund

Hallelujah! It's Christmas

Having already performed at the AIDS memorial 3 Choirs Concert and been invited as guests to a WAD concert we felt that putting on a Christmas concert made more sense so indeed on the 18th of December, 7:30pm we performed at the beautiful, snow and ice bound Saint Nicholas Parish Church in Dyke Road Brighton - a new venue for the choir. Although the snow throughought Brighton (and the South East and Europe!) provided the perfect concert backdrop it meant that Caroline, David, Jen and Sharon were very sadly unable to perform and also people who had intended to come could not attend either. Despite this we felt we gave a very creditable performance of some festive favourites and a rousing rendition of excerpts from Handel’s marvellous Messiah. There was also audience participation in the first half which we know many enjoyed.

Half time was well supplied with mulled wine and mince pies which went down a treat. You can download the programme
here and see some photos here.



London and Brighton Hate Crime vigils



Here is some of the text from the press release for this event:

"This event has been prompted by the homophobic attack on Ian Baynham which led to his death and is to remember all the victims of hate crime and to show the world that this criminal behaviour has to stop.


The event will commence with music and song, letters of support from The Prime Minister and the Mayor of London along with attendance and support from a host of concerned people including, Sandi Toksvig, Stephen Fry, Richard Barnes ( Deputy Mayor) and hundreds of others from the UK and around the world. The centre of the event will be the laying of 15,000 candles in the square and a 2-minute silence. It is already capturing media attention and prompted the opening feature on the One Show last Friday and was reported in the National Press including the Daily Mail.



We are sending a request for this message to be carried around the world and for others to participate by lighting a candle and remembering. To show defiance against Hate Crime. To testify to what they have done, lighting candles and showing solidarity by posting messages and pictures on to the Facebook page. All singers are invited to join together our voices including the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the Pink Singers and Diversity Choir along with members of the Brighton Choirs, Rainbow Chorus, Brighton and Hove Actually and the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus and any other singers who want to join us."



Unfortunately, it was not easy for many of our choir members to get there in time for the rehearsals due to work commitments but a few of us did make it and were rewarded with an inspiring, moving and very worthwhile evening. Here are some thoughts from those of us who made it to Trafalgar Square:

"So even after getting home at 00.30, and being up at 6.30 this morning to do a 5hr flu clinic, I'm still incredibly glad I went. I'd really love to think that this vigil helps to change attitudes and more importantly behaviour, for the better."



"This was a powerful and special event in a profound way that many such events try to be but often don't manage. I felt that the 2 minute silence where everyone held their candles aloft was a genuinely poignant moment. The carpet of our candles left at the foot of Nelson's Column and the candles spelling out "NO TO HATE" made a beautiful and powerful sight."


"The speeches from the friends of Ian and the one read out on behalf of Jenny, Ian's sister were wonderful, emotional and empowering. The tenor was so loving and appreciative of Ian's life that it put his killers into the periphery where they belong. His life was celebrated, his diversity was heralded and I can tell you that standing among several thousand men and women with one thought was at once comforting and shocking. Shocking that we would have to gather together like that to say something so obvious after so many years of fighting for it."



"It was obviously a very sad occasion on one level, however the atmosphere was good and … The event itself was very well run, some good speakers and Sandig Toksvig was a class compere. The testimony of the pastor from St Martin's in the Field (an out lesbian priest), was truely horrific - the 10th anniversary of the Admiral Duncal nail bombing attack."



"It was certainly one of the most moving things I've been to recently and felt very fitting. The rector of St Martin in the Fields which was flying a rainbow flag, made reference to the neo-nazi bombs 10 years ago in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho. I recall when those bombs were set off we went to Old Compton Street to pay our respects and although the vigil on Friday evening sadly reminded me that we still have a lot of work to do it felt very cathartic: in rising up to face our adversaries, this time we will stand taller and command equality and respect..."


You can watch a tribute video
here.

The BBC covered the event
here as did the Londonist. A vigil was also held in Brighton but was announced almost at the 11th hour so unfortunately most of our members knew nothing of it.

The Three Choirs Concert

A unique event took place in Brighton on Friday the 9th of October: all three of Brighton's gay choirs (us, BH(A)GMC and BGMC) performed together for the very first time to raise money towards the Brighton AIDS Memorial. The poster below said it all really.



The church was packed to capacity and the smell of mulled wine was a constant, if distracting, presence for the entire evening! You can see general photos taken by the REAL Brighton photographers here and of us specifically begin here.

Each choir had a 20 minute slot (well, that was the plan!) and in ours we sang the following numbers:

March of the Women
Solidarity Song
As Torrents in Summer
Say a little Prayer for you
Sure on this shining night
Advance Democracy


After we had finished and as we we the last to sing, we were
joined on stage by the other two choirs for a rousing performance of You'll Never Walk Alone, conducted by James Ledward. After that, it was our chance to take some mulled wine out to the reading of the names in front of the AIDS memorial which had been unveiled by David Furnish earlier that day.

Yey - Awards for All Grant!

The Rainbow Chorus is planning for an exciting year following receipt of a grant from Awards for All, the Lottery grants scheme aimed at local communities. The grant of nearly £10,000 will support the choir in developing our repertoire and creativity as we commission new works and involve professionals in our vocal and musical preparation.

We have already begun this work. Choral Propaganda , which we performed at the Royal Festival Hall and then in the Brighton Fringe Festival (details and photos of both coming to the web site soon!), was our first repertoire where we were able to hire a stage manager to help us interpret our songs visually. Our members had a great time learning the choreography and the results were received enthusiastically by our audiences.

The grant will also help us increase our profile in the LGBT community through its funding of open access events and workshops. While we always want more people to hear us sing, we also want more people to get involved in singing with us. Look out for our events, come along and be part of our celebration of gay culture in Brighton and Hove.

Awards for All logo

Various Voices on the South Bank

Various Voices was an extraordinary LGBT music festival on the South Bank in May 2009 and most of us were able to be signed up to attend from the 1st to the 4th of May. Various Voices had three main aims:

  • To celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) identity through song and to showcase on an international stage to the achievements and diversity of LGBT choirs of Europe and around the world at every level.
  • To foster interaction between choirs and singers, both in singing activities and socially; and to develop new interaction between delegate singers and ensembles in London. Interaction can be between LGBT choirs and also with choirs of all kinds and at all levels. We also want to foster interaction with audiences around London, to signal our visibility loud and proud, across the city.
  • To facilitate growth of all those ensembles and individual singers involved, through motivating their leaders, inspiring singers and through the development of new skills and ideas.

I think it's safe to say that the choir felt it achieved all of those, and provided a huge amount of pleasure and fun.

There are some great photos taken by the organisers which you can (probably) have a look at
here and you can see photos we took on our Look & Listen pages. Members of the choir took part in vocal workshops, the Big Gay Sing (a sort of live Karaoke!) - where Sharon G. from the Sopranos managed to win a well deserved prize, Sing for the Cure, Carmina Burana in the Royal Festival Hall and of course our performance of 'Choral propaganda' on the final day. We were third on stage in our section, directly after our friends from the Vancouver Mens Chorus. At the event there were dozens of choirs from around the world (including our French friends Podium)! Some of the composers whose works we sang were Eisler, Britten, Chumbawamba, and Spoliansky.

In our time, we have performed music encompassing many genres and eras, from popular to classical and from the 17th century to the present day. Our identity as a gay and lesbian community choir informs much of our programming, and in this concert we decided to present protest music, mostly from the 20s and 30s but with a small nod to later years. The songs we sang were:

March of the Women
Solidarity Song
Coal for Mike
The Lavender Song
Advance Democracy
Homophobia

The struggle for gay rights is part of a wider struggle for human rights and in this programme we will be looking to a wider musical landscape than last year’s
Fringe performance. The show had some staging, like West Side Story! but with more movement and 'layout' which is best appreciated in our photos. You can see the poster for this on our Brighton Fringe entry.

Not only was there music to perform, but beautiful choirs to listen to, Scottish Country Dancing with the Gay Gordons, Ballroom Dancing, free performances from soloists and participating choirs, dancing one evening, the delicious
Slow Food Market and even Lesley Garrett opening the event. All in one amazing weekend. This is the kind of event that isn't at the forefront of our minds when we joined the choir but just goes to show where it can all lead!

Vancouver Men's Chorus and Us

As we were to be following the Vancouver Men’s Chorus onto the stage at the Royal Festival Hall on the 4th of May, we felt it would be nice to share a more intimate stage with them and give them a good time in Brighton too. Consequently we organised a closed, but free, concert in the Unitarian Church in New Road. Our audience was the other two gay choirs of Brighton and Hove, namely the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus and the Brighton & Hove (Actually) Gay Men’s Chorus, which meant that due to the small size of the venue that we couldn’t invite family, friends or partners.

It was the first time that we’d met the VMC and what a lovely lot they were, and very smart in their tuxedos! Their MD, Willi, said, as he looked around the heavily decorated room, that “I haven’t seen this much Canadiana back home!” (There was much more than is visible here ...)


The VMC performed some, but not all, of the songs they were to sing at the Royal Festival Hall which included songs commissioned by them, beautiful ballads from home grown Canadian songwriters and one which went down with a big smile called “Canadian Man” which as you can see below had some choreography.


In keeping with the “Entente Cordiale” spirit, we presented them with a giant “Thank You” card in the form of a Union Jack on which the choir members had written messages and they loved it. Bless ‘em.

The respective MDs, Matt and Willi Zwozdesky, got to have a hug at the end as well. Aaahh.


We performed some old favourites and then mixed it up with the first outings for some songs from Choral Propaganda. The whole evening went down really well, everyone had a great time and it was a real pleasure meeting the ‘Canadian Men’. After the concert, we led our new found friends a short way through the narrow streets of the North Laine to the Brighton Tavern where they had laid on a lovely buffet for us - and there were a lot of us crowded in there, so many in fact that we mostly ended up in the street. It was a wonderful way to lead into what was to be an inspiring weekend at the Southbank in London.

Carols

The carol singing contingent was out on the streets of Brighton, after singing upstairs at Pokeno Pies having been previously fortified with some warming mulled wine kindly supplied by Keith of Pokeno Pies. We stayed in Gardner Street, trying to hide under the large canopy to keep the ‘seasonal’ rain off our woolly hats. One of the most popular songs with passer-bys seemed to be Gaudete (made famous by Steeleye Span in the 70s) but we performed many other well-loved carols too.

After two separate performances outside we decided to call it an afternoon and retreated for pies and mash and more seasonal generosity from Keith.

We don’t have any photographs of us, so here’s something you certainly would not have seen that afternoon!

Film Night Social

The choir, and friends, had its first ‘Film Night’ round at the home of two members of the choir on Saturday evening. We showed two ‘appropriate’ films, namely “Breakfast on Pluto” and “But I’m a cheerleader”. The films were both very funny in places, but the first of the two had some very dark moments.

Film Nigh group

There were fairy lights (of course) plenty of wine, crisps, homemade soup, chocolate, pizza and enough popcorn to supply a small cinema and plenty of chat! Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I’m sure there will be repeat in the near future.

Both films are available to hire from
Brighton & Hove libraries.

A performance for the NUT

We were invited to perform at Brighton’s lovely Old Ship Hotel for the LGBT teachers at the National Union of Teachers conference on Saturday the 18th of October. We did not advertise it on the ‘Latest News’ page beforehand as you could only come if you were at the conference and then you would have known about it anyway!

It was a small set in the lovely and rather intimate Regency Suite which felt a little like being inside a giant piece of Wedgewood crockery! Our audience started off quite small in numbers but by the end of our programme slot it had filled considerably and Homophobia and the close of the concert, received an enthusiastic and sustained applause.


It was great to be asked to perform at this conference and again underlines how we manage to reach out to the less conventional places in which an LGBT choir can perform.

Here is what we sang:

Cantilena
Simple gifts
The Rainbow
Sure on this shining night
Nobody knows
Go down, Moses
Homophobia

Photographs kindly provided by Nigel Tart

A big thanks to Tony

The photographs you can see in the item about our Sunday Jubilee Library performance were taken by Tony Bowall ARPS of Hove - Photography. He very generously gave up his Sunday morning lay-in to take photographs of our performance and we're very pleased with them and I'm sure you can see why. He will no doubt be exhibiting at The Happy House (with Helene and not forgetting Sam the dog!) each weekend of next year’s Fringe.

Sunday at the Brighton Jubilee Library

At an early hour, for a Sunday, we made our way to Brighton Jubilee Library to sing at the launch of its new Sunday opening.

We performed whilst the invited guests were having their breakfast


- mostly out of our line of sight as we were on the mezzanine and they were below us tucking into croissants and coffee.



We packed in quite a few songs, fairly gentle so as not to disturb the digestion, whilst 'up in the air' which was quite novel having a space only a few feet wide to fit the choir and Matt our musical director who luckily did not disappear backward over the railings!



After that we went outside where the early bird readers were queuing to be first in under the new Sunday opening hours. There was a lovely moment when two small girls came up to Glen, our accompanist, after the second song they each gave him 50p for the performance. Bless them! Glen said that he should have brought his hat ...


We sang some more up-tempo numbers outside until Councillor David Smith, Chairman of the Culture, Recreation and Tourism committee came to cut the blue ribbon to officially mark the beginning of Sunday opening at 11am. People then walked in between the blue balloons, some remaining outside to hear a few more songs from us (the sensible ones of course as they could then still go in and get their books afterwards!).

We then got to have a refreshment break ourselves with croissants, coffee and juice and a little bit of chat. Then it was back out the the mezzanine for our final selection for the general enjoyment of the people in the library. We all enjoyed it and it seemed that those in the library did too. So, another few firsts for the choir: first that early in the day, first in Brighton library and first performing 20 feet off the ground!

Cheque handover to local charities

We interrupted our regular Monday night rehearsal to hand over cheques from the proceeds of recent concerts to representatives of local charities , contributing a total of £1,300 to ‘The International HIV/AIDS Alliance’, ‘Open Door’ & ‘Terrence Higgins Trust’.

This special event took place after the choir’s rehearsals and turned into a lovely social evening which was attended by special guests Rachel Berry (
Open Door), Simon Moore (International HIV/AIDS Alliance) and Sue Peters (Terrence Higgins Trust).

Chair Simon Hicks was pleased to hand over cheques for £650 to International HIV/AIDS Alliance, £325 to Open Door and £325 to Terrence Higgins Trust. We're now looking forward to raise more money at our next concert on 3 May in St Georges Church, Kemptown (See elsewhere on this page for details)

Pink Paradiso appearance

The 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.

Hazel O'Connor at Dingwalls, Camden Lock, London

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



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 ...


We arrived at Dingwalls in Camden to find ourselves surrounded by
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 ...


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.



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?


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 ...

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


On stage


Lorna, Becca and Edana (Ewan and Craig behind)



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



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

Liz and Dee's civil partnership

A performance at the Komedia in Brighton for Holocaust Memorial Day



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

Guests of the City of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus

We sang as guests of the City of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus - some photos can be found here.

International Day Against Homophobia

We performed in Batholomews Square, outside Brighton Town Hall, for the International Day Against Homophobia. There were also speeches from city councillors.

"When You Tell Me That You Love Me" - a memorial tribute to Phil Starr

Phil Starr, one of Brighton's most loved Drag Queens died on October the 18th 2005 and a concert was planned as a tribute at the Brighton Dome. We performed at the sold-out performance where we sang Phil's favourite song, When You Tell Me That You Love Me, as the finale jointly with the City of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus. A standing ovation greeted us at the end, though I suspect all the other prior acts may have had something to do with that as well...


Tribute to Phil Starr


Gscene magazine said: "Finally, the crowd was brought to its feet by the City of Brighton Gay Men's Chorus and the Rainbow Chorus, who delivered a magnificent finale to the show with their rendition of the show's title song When You Tell Me That You Love Me."

Pictures of the finale can be found on the REALBrighton web site here.

Craig and Craig's Civil Partnership

On the first day that this was possible Nationwide and the first ever to take place in Worthing, Craig from the choir and his partner Craig had their civil partnership. They'd invited the choir to sing and of course we happily obliged. There was also a lot of tea and cakes during the reception at The Grand, Brighton in the afternoon.

Here's a few choir members before the ceremony



And here's Craig (ours on the left!) and Craig emerging after the ceremony

"Confessions from a Dance Floor" 'launch party'

We were asked if we'd like to sing a couple of Madonna songs to enhance the party atmosphere of an evening to enjoy Madonna's latest album release at The Bank by Seven Dials in Brighton. Ever up to the challenge, those of us who could make it turned up for a chance to camp it up just a little and it was quite a good bit of fun.

Watch out Madonna!



"Intermission"



"Oh no!"

Singing at the Royal Albert Hall!

We performed Carmina Burana for our World AIDS Day concert in Brighton in December 2004, but we had an offer to sing it again with around 1000 other singers at the Royal Albert Hall in London. We hesitated for about 3 microseconds then said yes! So here we are in July the following year.



Well, here we were at the Albert Monument, those of us lucky enough to be singing Carmina Burana (again!) at the Royal Albert Hall.




Yep, that's us!


As part of the Really Big Chorus along with 1,000 of our closest friends ...

Purcell and Handel at the Royal Academy

We were invited to perform as guests of the Pink Singers. We'd just like to say it's a lovely venue with great acoustics. Thank you.

10th birthday party of the Sussex Beacon AIDS Hospice

We were invited to perform in the garden of the Sussex Beacon hospice as part of their 10th birthday party.

Performance at a handfasting

Two members of the choir, Kim and Tanya, were being Handfasted and asked if the choir would perform on their special day, which of course we did. We performed 'Something inside so strong' which they specifically requested, 'Hand in hand' and others. Even their dogs wore flower garlands. Aaahhhh.

This was to be the first of many commitment ceremonies at which we have been asked to sing.

Re-opening of Hove Library

The council invited us to sing as one of a number of activities celebrating the re-opening of Hove Library. It was a novelty to sing with us all standing on the staircase whilst people wandered around below, setting off the security alarms when they forgot to have their book checked-out!

Sea Sound Sing

We performed in a mass sing in Pavilion Buildings, but we had to compete with the roaring North Street traffic.

Queen's Golden Jubilee

2002 was the year of The Queen's Golden Jubilee. There were BBC organised "Music Live" events up and down the country and they invited us to perform in Eastbourne for BBC TV and radio. We gave a short performance for the BBC Southern Counties Radio which was broadcast live on the day. We also performed a number of our own songs on stage. The BBC also had individuals and groups up and down the country singing The Beatles' "All You Need is Love" with the idea that a number of these performances would be spliced together live on TV from all around the country - we were one of those potential performances. However, despite having TV cameras two inches from our faces and rendering our take on "All You Need is Love" into the microphones on quite a windy day, we didn't make it onto the telly. Maybe next time ...


Live on the radio




Braving the wind!



Getting ready for more

GLAM Arts Festival Concert with the Pink Singers

The Gay and Lesbian Arts and Media Festival was a registered charity whose objects were to advance the education of the LGBT communities in the arts, particularly through education, training, exhibition, production and performance.



As our contribution to this, we invited the Pink Singers down from London to perform with us the Pavilion Theatre, New Road, Brighton - the programme was as follows:

Rainbow Chorus
Our Time
Don't Fence Me In
I Feel Pretty
Imbube
On Children
Bulgarian Carol
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Pink Singers
Uptown Girl
My Sweet Little Darling
The Silver Swan
Will Ye Go, Lassie Go
That's What Friends Are For
Anvil Chorus
Prince Igor
Every Time We Say Goodbye

We joined forces to close the show with There's No Business Like Show Business and Happy Together.

Elvis Presley Band at the Brighton Centre

This was a performance with the Elvis Presley's original backing band and singers ("The Sweet Temptations"). We performed two numbers "Bridge over troubled water" and "American Trilogy". It is remembered as something very special.

The picture here shows the choir at the left of the stage and a virtual Elvis towering over all!

The Sanctuary

This apparently was a bit of a squeeze onto a tiny stage - we were trying to link colours with the music. It was an idea that didn't last long...

Rainbow Voices in Birmingham

A return visit to a church in Edgebaston as we recall; a solo set, a joint song or two and apparently a party so good that Tanya can remember precious little about it!

Happy Together with Rainbow Voices


Programme cover



Programme inside

A Celebration of Remembrance

Apologies for the sideways programme but it's too wide to fit and make it still readable otherwise.


Programmer cover



Programme inside

Hand in Hand

This took place in St. Philip's Church in New Church Road, Hove and was an event celebrating our spirituality and sexuality in song with special guest the Reverend Stephen Terry who was the Rector of the Aldrington Team Ministry and also a member of the Sussex Musicians


Programme inside


For this concert, the members of the choir were listed as:
Andreas Hirche, Andrew Lacey, Anya Dathan, Basil Richmond, Carl Boardman, Clarissa Bergonzi, Colin Burns, Emma Riley, Gill Stephenson, Iain Fleming, Ian Waters, Liz Terry, Lynne Bailey, Marc Warner, Martin Ellis, Michael Gough, Paul Smethurst, Peter Gordon, Phillip Worrall, Rachel Gould, Stef Lakelin, Steph Whyld, Tanya Izzard, Tom Jordaan, Trudy Ward, Vincent Aymerich, Helen Arnold-Jenkins

Cabaret with The Accidental Theatre Company

This took place in the upstairs theatre at the Marlborough Pub in Brighton.

'Blue Skies' with the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir


This was our first collaborative concert as guests of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir who were on their European Tour that year.






Christmas 'busking'

This was a few carols whilst busking around a selection of gay pubs.

First rehearsal

Carl Boardman (Musical Director) trained at Dartington College of Arts along with 8 fledgling members started the choir at the Lesbian & Gay Centre, Queens Road, Brighton.