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Virtual Festival 2020

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Hand in Hand Virtual Festival 2020 banner

Watch the entire festival, bar the workshops, here!

We were very excited to present the Hand in Hand Virtual Festival 2020: the first of its kind for Proud Voices UK & Ireland!

With Hand in Hand Newcastle postponed to 2022, and in the face of restrictions on rehearsing and performing as choirs due to the COVID pandemic, there has never been a greater need for all our choirs to pull together and celebrate all we have achieved, and all that we have to look forward to when we eventually meet face-to-face again.

Since the end of July 2020 Proud Voices has been running the #ChoirsVsCOVID series of roundtables. Hand in Hand is the culmination of this two-month series of events through which our choirs have shared their experiences of lockdown and their strategies for survival and growth. Now it's time to celebrate!

With 30 choirs from across the UK & Ireland participating and an opening celebration, choir performances, 4 workshops focused on anti-racism, trans inclusion, choreography and vocal improvisation, a closing ceremony and festival chorus, it was a packed weekend of participation for many of our members.

We look forward to when we can meet again, and to Hand in Hand Newcastle 2022, but in the mean time we'll be standing hand in hand!

Our (first) virtual festival

Hand in Hand festival logo

The Hand in Hand Virtual Festival 2020 opened at 7PM Saturday 19 and closed at 6PM Sunday 20 September 2020. It took some of its cues from its in-person counterpart: with an opening and closing ceremony, a series of concerts, workshops and even a joint song. It was an opportunity for all our choirs to get together for a fun weekend of activities and entertainment. The virtual format also allowed choirs which have never taken part in one of the previous Hand in Hand festivals to join us for the first time, and to experience the excitement of sharing their music-making with hundreds of like-minded people.

Opening Ceremony and Choir Concerts

Hand in Hand hosts Jonathan and Lorraine

Our opening celebration was hosted by comedian Jonathan Mayor, with special guest Lorraine Bowen (Brighton's Got Talent's Crumble Lady) and a few special surprises. This then segued into our virtual choir performances from groups across the UK and Ireland.

Many thanks to all these choirs for participating! Watch the entire festival, bar the workshops, here!

  • Actually Gay Men's Chorus
  • Barberfellas
  • Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
  • Choral Con Fusion
  • Deep C Divas
  • Diversity Choir
  • Edinburgh Gay Men's Chorus
  • European Queer Choir
  • The Fourth Choir
  • Gay Abandon
  • Gin & Harmonics
  • Gloria
  • The Homonics
  • Liverpool Rainbow Chorus
  • London Gay Men's Chorus
  • The Lovenotes
  • Northern Proud Voices
  • The Pink Singers
  • Proud Marys
  • Rainbow Chorus
  • Rainbow Singers Across Borders
  • Sacred Wing
  • Sing Out Bristol
  • Solent Gay Men's Chorus
  • Songbirds
  • South Wales Gay Men's Chorus
  • Surrey Rainbow Choir
  • Sweet Chilli Singers
  • The Sunday Boys
  • The Syncing Violets


On Sunday 20 September, the Hand in Hand Virtual Festival 2020 had four fabulous workshops.

What is White Privilege and why are our choirs so white?Jodie Williams
with activist and facilitator Jodie Williams

A workshop on race and race equality, enabling people to develop their understanding of white privilege and how this impacts our everyday lives. This session aimed to give people a better understanding of how to be a better ally and how to actively be anti-racist, with the aim of creating a more inclusive environment for everyone.

Trans* inclusionStephen Davidson
a lunchtime chat hosted by Stephen Davidson, conductor of London Trans* choir

We joined Stephen for a short and cheerful chat about ways you can make your choir more inclusive of trans and non-binary singers. We covered pronouns, different voice types and what to call them, physiological aspects of changing voices, and a little bit of vocabulary. There was an anonymous Q and A at the end, to help demystify the T bit of LGBT.

Shake Your Groove ThingLuke Abnett
with choreographer Luke Abnett

A choreography workshop like no other: on zoom! We learned a routine and performed it, all in the space of 90 minutes. We've got it so we shook it! We wore something colourful and beauty is where we found it, so we vogued like there was no tomorrow.

Open Your Mouth and SingHeather Urquhart & Joe Samuel
with muscial improv comedy gurus Joe Samuel and Heather Urquhart

Open Your Mouth and Sing was a supportive, joyous and safe environment for any age or ability to explore the world of improvising with music. We covered a range of music styles, games and song structures. It was really useful for those who wanted to give it a go but need a safe environment to let their musical hair down. it was a fun refresh and introduction to some new exercises.

Closing Ceremony and Festival Virtual Choir

Hand in Hand 2020 Virtual Choir 2020

We rounded off the weekend with a special closing celebration which included the grand unveiling of the song "Hand in Hand" performed by a special virtual choir made up of singers from many of our choirs.

With muany thanks to everyone who supported this event

Thank you for your contributions to making this festival possible. If you would like to support the work of Proud Voices, and in particular support our next festival, it woul dbe much appreciated if you would consider donating. Your contributions will help make the next Hand In Hand a festival to remember!

See you at the next Hand in Hand Virtual Festival!

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