Last Saturday 30th June, I concluded a hectic week of fabulous events (see here, here and here) by performing two shows with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir. Lady Sings it Better were invited to perform as guests by conductor, Sarah Penicka-Smith, at their first concert of pop music in some years. I was also given the honour of MCing the gig…a choice Sarah might have regretted when I ran off the stage holding her microphone. Oops!
As a child of same-sex parents, I grew up watching the Gay & Lesbian Choir, performing at Mardi Gras, Fair Day, concerts, rallies and candlelight vigils in the early nineties for victims of AIDS. This 21 yr old stalwart of our community was part of my musical and GLBTQI education; an unauditioned choir existing to celebrate community and bring people together who love music.
In 2006, in the midst of some of the life changes that can face a woman approaching 60 (kids grown up, divorce, retirement), one of my mothers joined the Choir and I started going to their concerts again. The choir offered Louise a new community and friendships not tied to her role as ‘partner’ or ‘mother’ or ‘pharmacist’. I quickly began to appreciate how much happier this group of people made her, how welcomed and supported she was. At the first concert I went to – SGLC performing with Jimmy Sommerville at the State Theatre – I cried with pride to see a woman who’d sung me to sleep for so many years joyfully performing on the stage.
A couple of years later, I started Lady Sings it Better, and soon we both had Thursday night rehearsals we could chat about on the phone the next day.
Working with Sarah and the choir for SGLC Pops Out was a joy. Run by committee, SGLC is a well-oiled machine. They communicated clearly with us, organised the event well, treated us with respect and were wonderfully warm and friendly. And on the day we had an absolute blast.
The choir have such a warm energy when all together. They are a mixed bunch of men and women of different ages who all seem really supportive of each other. It’s great to see a queer group brought together not for booze and dancing, nor for charity or people ‘in need’, but rather for celebration of music. It was great being backstage with so many happy people, warming up, teasing each other about choreography, joking, laughing and generally doing half the mad stuff we do backstage at our gigs!
Singing our version of You Shook Me All Night Long, backed by a giant queer choir, will go down as one of my favourite Lady moments so far. It was like getting hit in the back by a wall of sound and it was fabulous!
If you like a sing and have Thursday nights free, I highly recommend signing up!