Last week (June 15th) I sat on the front row for a very different sort of performance by Tone Cluster, Ottawa's "choir for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and their allies," as it says on their website. They are also known as Quite A Queer Choir. Our friend Gianluca is its VP and Concert Co-ordinator. This concert was dedicated to the victims at the gay nightclub in Orlando where three days previously a man had gone berserk and killed 49 people, injuring 53 others. In any case the audience knew that this was to be a concert with a message, entitled Issues of Note. Every item was performed with a particular social issue in mind and every item was sung with passion, our grief at the recent news giving the concert an extra dimension.
Even before the choir started singing they were interesting to look at, dressed in black with bright red accents, scarlet shirts or neck wear, scarlet hair decorations, or, in the case of one of the baritones, with a pony tail, short skirt, high heels and a scarlet cummerbund.
about a shooting by a schoolgirl, and the catchy I Dreamed of Rain which I have heard them sing before.
... I dreamed of freedom and the moon rose,
And peace spread over the land ...
|Tone Cluster performing 'Hernando's Hideaway'|
They are a versatile choir indeed. The last two items were Eric Idle's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (famously sung in Monty Python's Life of Brian) –– they had fun with that one –– and Gently Walk On The Earth, composed for Tone Cluster and premièred at MosaiK.
I came away very affected by this experience; it took the whole of my bike ride back to Sandy Hill (where I bought a coffee) to calm down.