Brisbane Pride Choir (BPC), a recent recipient of Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Community Giving Fund, celebrates two things: the joy of singing and the diverse LGBTQIA+ community in Brisbane.
The BPC was formed in 1998 simply as a welcoming space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer-friendly people.
It quickly lit a fire with those members and soon the choir began performing at events across Australia including Sydney Mardi Gras, The Ekka and Out and Loud Festival in Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart and Auckland.
Kelly Houston, the Committee President, explains why the BPC is so much more than a singing group and the important work they do for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Having a pride choir is a great opportunity for visibility. It gives other members of the community the opportunity to see people from our diverse rainbow community coming together, doing what they love, being who they are and enjoying life.
“We’re here to sing, we’re here to entertain, but we’re also here to be an amazing voice of our community and sing those anthems that are so important to the people around us,” said Kelly.
The choir has over 70 members who benefit from the supportive nature of the group and chance for self-expression.
As the group continues to grow and perform at more events, they are continually reminded of the important role they play in providing a voice for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Having a pride choir is important because of the different members of our community that we represent. We celebrate all walks of life across our rainbow community, so having a choir that’s community facing gives us the opportunity to share our voices and share our stories with members of the public who may not have seen that representation before,” said Kelly.
In her five years in a leadership role at BPC, Kelly has witnessed the personal transformation of many of its members firsthand.
“I’ve seen people grow and flourish and become who they truly want to be. The recognition of those people being their true authentic selves has been the most beautiful thing that I could ever see,” said Kelly.
In 2023, the choir celebrated a significant milestone, its 25th anniversary, with a Silver Jubilee concert. Kelly says that it’s thanks to the BAC Community Giving Fund that they were able to come together and produce such a special event for their members, friends, families, allies and community to enjoy.
“Without that grant we wouldn’t have been able to go ahead with the celebrations that took place that night,” said Kelly.
Along with their weekly rehearsals and practising their acapella skills, the group are broadening their horizons even further for the year ahead.
“For 2024 and beyond, we are looking at how we can better engage, respond to and connect with our broader community across the rainbow space, across the choir space and just in general around our community in Brisbane,” said Kelly.
Travellers passing through Brisbane Airport were recently treated to a live performance by the choir.
The environment was a fun new challenge for the choir, and they were thrilled to bring a smile to the faces of passersby with renditions of It’s Raining Men by Geri Halliwell, Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush and classic Christmas carols.
“Singing in an airport is a bit different to what we’re used to doing. There is a lot more flow through traffic. But the beauty of it is there are a lot of people from diverse backgrounds, and that’s what we love, we love to connect with the diversity of our local community.
“We’ve got a couple of members who travel internationally quite regularly, and they said it’s amazing to get off a plane and have a choir singing at them. So it’s wonderful to engage at a level that we normally wouldn’t do,” said Kelly.
How can you help?
There are many ways to assist Brisbane Pride Choir:
- Make a donation to assist with pianist and venue fees or to sponsor a member
- Head along to watch one of their upcoming events
- Join the choir as a new member