REVIEW: Rainbow Chorus: Songs Without Borders

Besi Besemar July 4, 2016

An evening out with the Rainbow Chorus is more than just going to a concert, it’s an expression of belonging, solidarity and inclusion that defines the very notion of community that many aspire to when they come to live in Brighton and Hove.

Photo: Nick Ford Photography

When people ask me where is the gay community in Brighton and Hove, I tell them “go to a Rainbow Chorus concert then come back and talk.”

Songs Without Borders, gives Brighton’s only LGBT choir the opportunity to show the improvement they have made in the last year….and they certainly have made major improvements in all areas of performance and production.

The sound they produce has come on leaps and bounds and while they are still short on numbers in the bass section the choral sound they make when they open up is glorious.

As a singing unit they have gained so much confidence in the last two years, performing with a new-found assurance and attack. Musical director Aneesa Chaudhry ably assisted by accompanist Mojca Monte have created a well-drilled unit and this is especially noticeable in the improvement of the confident sound made by the tenor section where the mixture of male and female voices helps create the Rainbow sound.

While some of the items on the programme were old favourites I had heard before, they sounded fresh and current, especially the uplifting rendition of Cold Play’s Viva La Vida, my personal highlight of the evening. Carly Simon’s Let The River Run was sung with conviction and sent shivers up this old mans spine.

Tom Springfield’s The Olive Tree which opened the second half of the concert, was pure and simple in delivery while the performance of Time To Say Goodbye perfectly captured the spirit of the second half of the concert which was to remember Labour politician Jo Cox.

The secret of good program planning is making sure there is something for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. Performed against the backdrop of the Orlando massacres, the murder of Jo Cox MP and the growing plight of refugees and asylum seekers, Songs Without Borders ticked all the boxes and set the tone of the evening to perfection.

Rainbow Chorus chose to raise money for the Brighton based charity Brighton Voices in Exile with a raffle and bucket collection. The charity reaches out to those seeking asylum, refugees and those with no recourse to public funds within Sussex.

Your next opportunity to hear the Rainbow Chorus in concert will be at their Winter Warmer Show on Saturday, December 10.

Finola Brophy
Finola Brophy

Finola Brophy, Chair of the Rainbow Chorus introduced the evening saying: We’re living in strange and disturbing times with change, uncertainty and fear dominating, not just in the UK but worldwide too. It’s never felt a more important time to send a message of solidarity, inclusiveness and hope from the Rainbow Chorus to the rest of the world.

The LGBT choral movement is worldwide and we have no borders. We will challenge discrimination, intolerance, racism and all hate crimes that LGBT, Muslims and many others face. We are lucky to have a voice in the UK and we want to raise it loud and clear in solidarity with our LGBT and Latin American brothers and sisters brutally murdered and injured in Orlando, for Jo Cox stabbed and gunned down in her beloved Yorkshire while campaigning for an inclusive Britain. We must raise our voices for all the refugees and asylum seekers forced to leave their own homes and countries – we welcome you here. And we will remember Jo Cox’s words “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”.

Next week our music team- Aneesa and Monti- will lead the European Queer Choir in Denver, USA – including a couple of our own Rainbow Chorus members. They will be performing at the largest LGBT choral festival ever to over 7,000 singers and they will be taking our messages of strength and unity with them.

In August the Rainbow Chorus will be in Amsterdam singing with other European choirs and performing during the EuroPride celebrations. Thanks to generous sponsors and fundraising every Chorus member can come regardless of income or ability.

We want to continue developing the Rainbow Chorus, grow RC+ and other initiatives and to support and empower our communities. We need your help to do so. If you can sponsor an individual member or contribute to our ongoing work please get in touch with me.

All proceeds from our raffle and bucket collection this evening will go directly to Brighton Voices In Exile – a local charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers. And we’re delighted to welcome some of them here this evening. Please give generously and check your raffle tickets on your way out later.

A huge thanks to everyone who has made this evening possible – our committee, tech teams, music team, members, our wonderful 5th section of volunteers and all of you for coming.

In the first half of the concert we are wearing rainbow ribbons to honour the Orlando victims.

In the second half we will wear the white rose of Yorkshire for Jo Cox and for peace.

Please welcome our wonderful Sign Language Interpreter Marco Nardi, Our talented accompanist Mojca Monte and last but not least our inspirational Music Director Aneesa Chaudhry.”