We are turning 18 and Coming of Age!
Glória, Dublin’s Lesbian and Gay Choir, was founded in October 1995. An ad placed in Gay Community News invited singers interested in forming a choir. About 25 people came along on that first night – some who still sing with the choir – and today we have a singing membership of around 65, plus about 10 non-singing members.
The choir’s repertoire is wide ranging; from musicals to madrigals and from classical to camp. The songs are chosen sometimes to surprise, sometimes to challenge, but always to entertain!
Glória was established to provide a safe and comfortable space for gays and lesbians to meet and sing together, and to promote a positive image of gay and lesbian life in Ireland. Just as our repertoire is varied so is our membership, with singers from all walks of life and with a wide age-range among our members. And for some it has been the place where they met their partner in love.
At the drop of a hat or the opening of an envelope
Glória has performed extensively throughout Ireland in Dublin, Belfast, Carlingford, Castlebar, Cork, Drogheda, Dun Laoghaire, Galway, Limerick, New Ross, Sligo, Waterford and Westport. We are looking forward to adding to this list in the future. Do get in touch if you think you might be able to host a concert or if you would like to invite us to sing at some event or other.
Internationally the choir has travelled to perform in London on a couple of occasions, and in connection with the GALA Choruses Festivals we have been to Montréal in Canada and twice to the US; to Boston, Miami and San José.
In Dublin we have performed in the National Concert Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and The Point, (now the O2 Arena). We have performed in the Waterfront in Belfast and in the Royal Festival Hall in London. We have entertained in pubs, churches, community centres and schools. We have performed at discos, at railway stations and shopping centres, in parks and on the street.
More than once we have been able to sing in wonderful venues such as Dublin City Hall and the National Gallery. We have sung at OutWest’s weekends – and then danced the night away! – at the Pride in the Park Parties in Dublin, making a lot of noise in the parade beforehand. Glória has taken part in the Waterford Pride programme and in local arts festivals from Sligo to Rathmines. Our repertoire lends itself to celebrations such as birthdays and civil partnerships, as well as to more solemn occasions like the AIDS memorials we have participated in.
Always on a high note
Throughout our 18-year history the highlights, and the firsts, have been many. These are just a sprinkling of all the fabulous opportunities we have been given:
- The first, slightly nervous performance in Mother Redcap’s.
- Being invited to give a concert and sing at a service of the Church of Ireland for the first time in 2000.
- Singing with the Garda Male Voice Choir and the Garda Band in the NCH in 2002, as one of the first LGBT choirs ever to sing with their national police force.
- Our first invitation to sing at a Roman Catholic event in 2002.
- Being background singers at the Alternative Miss Ireland in 2006.
- Taking part in the Holocaust Memorial in Dublin’s Mansion House in 2007, singing a piece composed by our Musical Director Michael Finlay.
- Performing at the Nokia Fashion Awards in 2007, (some of us finding the blue glitter from our striking make-up for days afterwards in the most peculiar places!).
- Singing at the Bingham Cup in the Helix in 2008.
- Giving a concert during the Dundalk Outcomer’s Christmas Market in 2010, an event we received a GALAS nomination for.
- Ending 2010 on an amazing high with our Christmas concert in a packed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The winner takes it all!
Now and again Glória participates in choral competitions. As early as 2000 we won first prize at the Navan Choral Festival – prize; a jar of honey each – and we repeated this feat in 2002.
We won again at the Cork International Choral Festival and at the New Ross AIMS Choral Festival in 2004. This led us to being invited back to both festivals in 2005 to give special performances. In Cork we gave our own concert, and in New Ross we world premiered a new Irish piece.
In 2005 Glória won the Gerry Ryan “Find José a Choir” competition. A fantastic response by national text vote led to us being selected from over 30 choirs throughout the country to sing with José Carreras at the Point Theatre. The reaction was very positive:
“their youthful, well disciplined sound proved ideal for their unaccompanied encore She Moved Through the Fair. Under their own director Liz Powell, they turned this to a moment of chilly poignancy whose contrast with Carreras’s outpourings couldn’t have been starker.” Irish Times, 2 May 2005.
The Friday before that concert we performed on the Late Late Show. We have been seen on TV and heard on radio on many other occasions too, including as part of the Lyric FM Choirs for Christmas competition, which we haven’t won, not yet anyway!
What we have won, however, is the 2011 GALAS Irish Artists/Entertainers of the Year. The overwhelming support from our friends, families and fabulous fans thrilled and astounded us.
Raising our voices for a good cause
Glória is a charity, but we also sing and raise money for other charities. These have included BeLonG To, GCN Forever, Marriage Equality, One in Four, and Temple Street Hospital, among many. Click here to see a list of the charities and initiatives we have supported over the years!
In 2009 we took part in the 24-hour long carol-athon “Sing for Simon” in Grafton Street, (where we were quite fortunate, getting a mid-afternoon slot). In 2010 we were invited by Gay Bray to hold a concert in Dun Laoghaire where the proceeds went towards the restoration and renovation of the Oscar Wilde panel at the DART station, and at the very end of that year we carolled for commuters in Heuston Station on behalf of St. Patrick’s Hospital Foundation. More recently we gave a concert for the volunteers at Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross, and sang at a World AIDS Day Christmas Concert in Christchurch Cathedral for the Bone Marrow for Leukemia Trust and The GUIDE Clinic. We were also delighted to have been invited by Pobal to sing at an OECD conference in Dublin Castle. We sang Christmas carols in aid of St Patrick’s Hospital Foundation and the Peter McVerry Trust. We finished off 2011 in style with a government minister no less in attendance at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
And the show goes on
At the moment we are looking forward to promoting our new summer season, undertaking an ambitious outreach programme and putting on the biggest and gayest of summer concerts in the NCH in June 2013!
Looking further into the future we are very excited about Dublin being the chosen city to host the European LGBT choral festival “Various Voices” in 2014, bringing thousands of singers together to what promises to be a fantastic event.
In between there will be many other performances and projects to look forward to. We hope you will enjoy them as much as we intend to do!