Hello to all my faithful readers and hopefully some new ones. This week I thought I wouldn't write about LGCSF but about Legato European Association of LGBTQ+ Choirs and the Various Voices Festival. Legato and Various Voices are similar to GALA Choruses and their Festivals. The first VV Festival was in 1985 in Cologne, Germany with 4 choirs from 4 countries. I first became aware of VV in 2008 during GALA Festival in Miami. Martin Brophy, a man who we had met previously on vacation in London, was there to promote VV in London 2009 with 59 choirs with 1,800 singers from 14 countries. Since then this was on our bucket list of things we wanted to do. I have included nine photos, a poster of Various Voices, the Festival Guide, a photo of the opening concert, then the Homonics, the Deep C Divas, BarberFellas, the Pride flag over Odeonsplatz, rehearsal and performance of "Carmina Burana."
So we were off to Munich in May, 2018 with a friend from here. We knew we would be seeing Martin again as he sings with the London Gay Men's Chorus and the European Queer Choir. Another person we were hoping to see was Simon Pearson who sings with the Pink Singers and the BarberFellas. We also would be seeing Homonics, three lads from Dublin who also sing with Gloria, the Dublin LGBTQ Choir. We were also looking forward to seeing as many choruses as we could and to meet and mingle with these singers. This VV was the fourteenth Festival for Legato and there were 93 choirs with 2,700 singers from 19 countries represented. This was held in the Gasteig Cultural Center with four performance venues hosting chorus performances in each over the five days of VV.
There was an Opening Concert which featured the parade of choirs with a representative of each with a sign with the name of the choir. Also there was the official welcome from the Mayor of Munich, music by the Festival Orchestra, which was put together for VV 2018 only, the Groove Sistaz a 17 piece female big band who brought the house down. Also the four host choruses of Munich joined to sing their welcome.
On Friday, May 11, was the big blockbuster concert - "Munchen in Space - an InterGALActic Concert Night" with Conchita Wurst (check her out on Youtube Eurovision 2014 winning performance of "Rise Like a Phoenix"), Andreas Scholl and ten choirs with their intergalactic songs. This was quite an event and you can see this on Youtube, just type the title of the concert above and be aware that it actually begins 30 minutes in.
Besides singing in the Gasteig, choruses were also performing outside in two of the main squares of Munich, the Odeonsplatz and Max-Joseph-Platz. One of the reasons I wanted to be here was that the "Carmina Burana" would be performed outside in Odeonsplatz with all the singers of VV, an orchestra and three professional singers singing the solos, a children's chorus and the citizens of Munich. We had two days of rehearsals in the main concert hall and outside on Saturday, May 12 with the performance that evening. This was thrilling for me to be surrounded by all the wonderful singers as we were accompanied by the orchestra under the evening sky of Munich. There was a big party afterward in the lobbies of the Gasteig with dancing, cocktails and food and this was a time to spend with new found friends.
There were singers from the US representing GALA Choruses, the Rock Creek Singers and Potomac Fever, two small groups from Washington DC GMC, Oursong Atlanta, and Menalive from Orange County, and a North American GALA Festival Chorus. I highly recommend attending a future Various Voices Festival so put this on your bucket list if and when we can go to Europe again. The next one is scheduled for May (I think) of 2023 in Bologna, Italy. I will let you know more as Legato updates their website for this wonderful Festival.
You can see more videos from Various Voices on Youtube, just type in various voices festival 2018 in the search bar so please let me know what you watched. I am not sure what I will write about next time but I am still going through the archives so stay tuned. Sending you all my love and stay focused on something positive for you to get you through these times. Sharing these memories with you is one of these for me.
In harmony and love, Michael Lucero