The Hand in Hand festivals are a chance for the UK & Ireland LGBT choirs to get together every two years. The inaugural Hand in Hand UK & Ireland LGBT choir festival was put together by the Pink Singers in London in 2013. The second Hand in Hand festival took place in Brighton in 2015 and was organized by the Brighton Gay Men's Chorus and Rainbow Chorus. The next Hand in Hand festival will be hosted by Manchester Lesbian Á Gay Chorus in 2017.
During the daytime the delegates participated in vocal workshops led by choral experts including Jamie Burton, Chris Rowbury, Louise Shephard and Loré Lixenberg which provided an opportunity to learn new singing styles and brush up on technique. We even managed a bit of choreography!
This was followed in the evening by the spectacular 'Hand in Hand' concert which involved over 460 performers and the world première of the Pink Singers' new commission from composer Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer the Opera, Kombat Opera).
There were energetic performances from members of our Proud Voices family. For some it was the first time they performed in public, or outside of our home towns, and was an unparalleled opportunity for all of us to meet, learn, sing and socialize.
Participating choirs: the Pink Singers, Brighton Gay Men's Chorus, A Choir of Equality, Deep C Divas, Diversity Choir, the Fourth Choir, Gloria DLGC, Leicestershire Rainbow Voices, Liverpool LGBT Singers, London Alternative Choir, London Gay Men's Chorus, Loud & Proud, Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus, Many Voices, the 9 Bob Notes, Northern Proud Voices, Quire, Rainbow Chorus, Rainbow Voices, Resound Male Voices, Sing With Pride, Southampton Gay Men's Chorus, Thames Valley Gay Chorus.
Stay tuned for more information.
Various Voices Dublin 2014 was an opportunity for Proud Voices to bring together members of six choirs from the UK - Leicestershire Rainbow Voices, the Pink Singers, Positive Voices, Rainbow Voices Choir, Sing With Pride, Southampton Gay Men's Chorus - together with two choirs from Proud Voices Asia to create a special choir which performed on stage on Monday 16 June 2014 at 12 noon in Mahony Hall.
Here's a quick video of how the ties between choirs was formed:
And here is what some of the participants had to say about the event:
Southampton Gay Men's Chorus
Just watched our performance again and the memories came flooding back.
Firstly, it was a a real privilege to be able to take part in the festival. Coming from a new small choir in Southampton with only a few members present in Dublin, it was a thrill to take to the main stage of Mahony Hall as part of the choir and be welcomed into the heart of the festival - there was a lot of love in that room! The Various Voices community is a wonderfully affirming bunch of people from across the globe that I now feel connected to!
Secondly, the impact of meeting the folks from Beijing and Taiwan has left me humbled and so very grateful for the freedom we experience in the west. It was delightful to see our visitors from the East having such a positive time, and I hope our small venture somehow provides some hope, strength and encouragement for a better future for us all. Thanks to all involved - it's been a treasured highlight of my year. Cheers!
I had an amazing time at Various Voices Dublin. I went there as part of Rainbow Voices Birmingham and when I joined them last year I had no idea where the adventure would take me. To find myself as part of an International Festival with over two thousand singers from all over the world was surreal. To be part of Proud Voices was a great honour and the sense of pride and elation that I felt as we performed together was fantastic.
I really loved the fact that our choir represented east meeting west and showed that music can transcend barriers of language and distance. Meeting other choirs from around the world was so inspiring and honestly the four days were just not long enough. Well done Gloria and the Irish team for organising such an incredible welcoming and professional event. It made me very proud to be Irish.