Welcome to the 2018-2019 Choir Season!

Hello, friends. Did you know that Out in Harmony starts up again soon?  Rehearsals resume on Tuesday September 4, which is not that far away!  I hope you can all join us, including those of you we haven’t seen for a while.
New folks are welcome at any time, but it’s nice to get right in on the beginning of the new music, so this is a particularly great time for you and your friends to come out and try singing with us.

Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings, from 7:30-9:30 (with a short break for snacks and socializing in the middle).  We meet at St. Margaret’s Cedar Cottage Anglican Church, located at 1530 E. 22nd Ave, Vancouver.  It is at the corner of Dumfries Street, near the intersection of Knight and Kingsway, and easily accessible by the 19, 22, and 25 buses.

Please be aware that rehearsals are held in a scent-free environment, with no hemp, hazelnuts, guava or menthol allowed.  We like for everyone to be able to breathe!  We are also wheelchair accessible.

For those who were around last season (or want to learn some music really quickly!) we’ll be brushing up some of the last season’s music to perform at the AIDS Walk to Thrive on Sunday, September 23.  Mark your calendars now!  (We’ll be reviewing this music the last thing in the evening, during the first couple of rehearsals.)

Our next concert will be on January 26, and it will feature music written by those who tend to be outside of the spotlight: LGBT folks, people of colour, and women.  You can start thinking in advance about possible solo and small group ideas.  And for those who like to keep track of such things, the September job rotation is: Altos on set-up, Tenors on snacks, Basses on clean-up, and Sopranos taking a break.
(Though of course you all can feel free to bring snacks to the first rehearsal, as we’ll have a longer break in which to greet each other.  Please remember to list the ingredients on any snack you bring, and be sure that your snack does NOT include any hemp, menthol, guava, or hazelnuts).

This is going to be a great season, and we look forward to seeing you all!

Member profile: Meet Lauryn!

Lauryn began singing like an angel when she was just a toddler. Growing up on the East Coast, where music was an important part of daily life, she was frequently in demand with requests to do renditions of “The Bluenose Sails Once Again.” Later, she joined choirs in school and church, and carried over her love of singing to her migration to Toronto, where she was a member of Singing Out! and a women’s choir.

Upon moving to the West Coast, Lauryn promptly joined the VLGC, now Out in Harmony, and sings her heart out at practices and concerts. Lauryn works in communications and fundraising and has brought soome of those skills to her position as a new OIH Board member.

Section leaders in place for sopranos, altos, basses

Each year, the choir looks for one person from each section to organize the occasional rehearsal and generally track of things within their section. As volunteer tasks go, it’s comparatively low-key, and as an added bonus it’s a good way to get to know the people you’re singing most closely with!

In our 2010 season Swati and Laura will be continuing as soprano and alto section leaders, and Bob will be taking over the basses. Now all we need is somebody willing to wrangle those tenors…

In other news, pictures from our appearance at the Walk for Life are on their way. Did you sing? How did it go? This is often a new choir member’s first ever concert, and we’d love to hear your stories, whether they are from this year or a past season!!

Out in Harmony sings for fun, not fame!

by Lisa P, soprano, member since 2008

No, really! We really do sing for the fun of it!  And I’m saying that as someone who wasn’t so sure about that before I joined.

Before moving to Vancouver, I’d wistfully longed to gather up enough nerve to inquire about singing in my local GLBT community choir. But, I had no singing experience, no idea how to read music (except what I might remember from my high school band days), and no idea how I would sound or if I could do that thing that choirs do – harmonize.  Sure, the local choir’s website said that musical ability and experience were irrelevant, but did they really mean it? Really? Because they sure sounded like they all had musical ability at their concerts!

Moving to Vancouver, I had two things on my side. First, I had the opportunity to chat a bit with the Out in Harmony director in a casual and friendly sort of way and had discovered that when they said non-auditioned choir that welcomes everyone regardless of musical ability, they actually meant it.  Second, I was moving to a whole new city (and country) and if I didn’t put myself ‘out there’ to meet new people, I’d never make any friends!

So, I made a pact with myself to give it a shot as soon as I moved here. I kept that promise to myself and attended my first rehearsal the first week I arrived in Vancouver. And, guess what? There really WAS no audition! I just jumped into a section I felt comfortable in and started singing.

What I quickly discovered is so amazing about a “non-auditioned choir who welcomes everyone regardless of musical ability” is that we actually are motivated by the joy of singing together.  What this does for the energy of the choir at every rehearsal and at every concert is something that is difficult to describe, but easy to fall in love with.  It means that in spite of our diverse backgrounds as individual members, we all have at least one thing in common with one another: we like to sing.  And that commonality is what makes this choir a fun place to be.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we learn quite a bit while we’re having fun. Our director makes sure of that! Musically, the choir grows and learns each week. Part of what rehearsing is all about is improving our musical ability as a group and because we come from a variety of backgrounds and musical experience, each improvement makes us all so darn proud.  There is just nothing that beats the feeling of accomplishment we gain from working with a piece of music from those first stumbling notes when we try to just learn the first page or so, to performing it at a concert when it’s polished up and sounds great.

Personally, I’ve found that when you remove the element of pressure to perform at a certain level and instill a sense of
fun and joy in what you’re doing – the “ability” part evolves naturally over time.  That is the magic in being a part of a group of people that makes music for fun, not fame!

This is Out In Harmony’s secret to success and happiness. Tell everyone.

New Name unveiled at “What’s In a Name” Concert

In 2010 the choir changed its name to Out in Harmony from Vancouver Lesbian & Gay Choir. This is the “unveiling” announcement made by choir member Denise Garzon at our June concert, “What’s in a Name?”

In the fall of 1990 when this choir was founded, the choir’s vision and purpose was clear – to give gay people a place to be themselves, to sing together in a mixed-gender choir, and to do so while being highly visible.  The name Vancouver Lesbian & Gay Choir was chosen specifically because it made it blatantly obvious at a glance that this was a group of women and men, who primarily identified as lesbian or gay, who sang together, -publically and proudly.

Much of that is still true today.

  • We are a mixed group of people who love to come together, blending our voices in song.
  • We are people who know that everyone is different, everyone is unique, and everyone needs a place to belong where they can feel safe and free to be themselves.
  • We are people who feel that it is very important to have a choir where everyone is welcome regardless of gender identity; of sexual, romantic or affective orientation; of musical ability or background; of physical ability, or of economic status.
  • We are people who know that being Out is an ongoing process, and that there is still a need for a choir that stands up proudly saying ‘This is who we are.  We are proud of who we are, & we are part of this community’.

What we are NOT, is that we are NOT only limited to Lesbians and Gay men, and THAT was the impetus for the name change.  We don’t want anyone to look at our name and think, “oh, that choir is only for lesbians and gays, & I wouldn’t be welcome there.”  We truly strive to be a community choir, welcoming and encouraging everyone who understands the importance of, and wanting to be part of, a supportive and public singing group that actively identifies as ‘Non-Straight-&-Narrow’.

[The main problem we ran into when coming up with a name was how to express all that in one catchy phrase that would both include everyone we currently have singing with us, everyone we hope will join us, and all those who we would be sure to accidentally leave out if we were to actually write down a list.  Because really, calling ourselves “The  Vancouver Lesbian, Gay, Sexual, Bisexual, Pansexual, Omnisexual, Queer, Questioning, Curious, Asexual, Heterosexual, Gender-Queer, Gender-Variant, Gender-Fluid, Trans, Transgender, Transsexual, Bi-Gendered, Pan-Gendered, He-She, FtM, MtF, Two-Spirited, Intersex, Cis-Gendered, Monster, Butch, Femme,  Polysexual, Monosexual, Other, …and Friends Choir” - that’s just going a bit too far, don’t you think?]

Therefore, after a year-long process of brainstorming and then winnowing down zillions of ideas and possibilities, we are proud to present to you

The choir formerly known as the Vancouver Lesbian & Gay Choir,

Out in Harmony! Vancouver’s Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Lesbian & Friends Choir