Songbirds Choir sang in our first public concert since the pandemic, as guests of the South Wales Gay Mens Chorus, on Saturday 2 April 2022 at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It was exciting, nerve-wracking and moving, all at once, and it’s made us look forward even more to our 10th Anniversary Concert later in June. Diolch o galon to Lizzie, our Musical Director, for all her hard work throughout the pandemic to get us back onto an actual stage again. And also to SWGMC for having us!
Although Songbirds has taken part in L Fest (a UK Lesbian Music, Art and Comedy Festival) several times in previous years, this year was the first time for me. In a car full of Songbirds and camping gear, we set off across Wales, for a proper “road trip” just like “To Wong Fu Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar” (in spirit, if not glamour).
Camping with the choir was such good, wholesome fun. It is rare that we all get to just chat and enjoy each other’s company. Even when we have time to go to the pub (which is rare), everyone has only a short while to finish a drink and have a chin wag before rushing home to rest up for a busy tomorrow. Once we’d all pitched up, we had hours just to sit and natter, take part in L Fest events, or (my favourite) go for a swim at Llandudno’s famous beach (we found the water to be less cold, but more jellyfishy than we anticipated).
L Fest itself was cracking. It was very much an “L with the T Fest”, with an atmosphere welcoming not just Lesbians, but also Trans women trans men, nonbinary and bisexual peeps, families, and, most importantly, a lot of very cute dogs. There were lots of fun and varied things to do like a Drag King show, morning yoga, musical performances, and a dog show (did I mention there were a lot of cute dogs?).
Practicing in the open air in our little camp circle had such a spontaneous, informal feeling, and it was just lovely to hear the hush from neighbouring campsites as people wandered over or stopped their chatting to listen. I particularly enjoyed cramming all the second sopranos into a Volkswagon in order to practice together as a section; very cozy. And our performance itself was exhilarating; we’ve had enthusiastic audiences before, but there, as we sang “Calon Lan”, someone stood and waved the Rainbow Welsh flag. We might have been 150 miles from Cardiff, but we were very much at home at L Fest.
As we crawled our way up the motorway through the classic Friday afternoon duet of traffic and roadworks, stuffing our faces with alternate handfuls of chipsticks, mint imperials and grapes (quite possibly the trifecta of car snacks), I felt the tell-tale bubbling of nervous excitement. We were headed north towards the bright lights of Manchester to join hundreds of other LGBT choristers at the Hand in Hand Festival 2017, and I wasn’t sure what to expect… Continue reading Side by Side, Hand in Hand, we all sing together→
I have a privileged job in that it takes me all over the world. I have visited places and experienced things I never would have otherwise. I’ve worked in places such as Nigeria where I was advised to wear a fake wedding ring (when I wasn’t married) to prevent me from being hassled and asked why I wasn’t married; and Mexico where I left my (genuine) wedding ring at home to ensure I wasn’t mugged for it. My job is to help students from other countries come and study at Cardiff University, and as such I have travelled to many countries for over 10 years now. It’s a job I enjoy and believe in, even though it means I often miss one of my main passions – singing in Songbirds choir, Wales’ only LBT choir. We sing an eclectic mix of music, reflecting our equally eclectic members and we’ve performed at weddings, charity gigs, on stage at Pride, auditioned (and been shortlisted) for Gareth Malone, been featured on Made In Cardiff TV, and of course hold our own concerts a couple of times a year. Continue reading Some thoughts from across the pond→
Happy New Year! Lots going on in the nest at the moment. We have our AGM coming up, birdie bonding weekend at Holt Farm and 5th Birthday Celebration extraveganza (keep your eyes peeled for more details). Continue reading Join the flock!→
Waiting to go on at Chapter on Friday night gave me time for thoughts like, ‘I’ve forgotten all the songs!’ and ‘What if I blast out a high note all on my own in the wrong place?!’. It was reassuring standing between my first Soprano compatriots. Starting with You’ve Got Time was so cool: Clap Clap, Stamp! – like saying, ‘Shut up and listen everyone, the Songbirds are here!’ After that our voices rang out and if I hadn’t been so busy concentrating on Rosie’s conducting (and great facial expressions!) I reckon I’d have shed a tear for the beauty and strength of the sound we made together. Continue reading Feeling proud (with a small sprinkling of panic) at Pride→
Last Monday, several hundred people – the BBC estimated 350 – gathered in front of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to hold a vigil for the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting. Sparked by the dreadful news that hit our televisions, newspapers and web pages on Sunday morning, the vigil was organised in a matter of hours and was one of many held across the world. Continue reading Cardiff for Orlando→