We hope you’ve been having an enjoyable summer. Here is an update on our most recent activities and a preview of the season to come!
What an exceptional time we had in Halifax previewing our nautically themed spring program at Open Harbour – Unison 2023, which brought together over 600 delegates from 22 choirs from across the country.
Long-time member Claude Dufresne, who has sung with the choir since its start, received a plaque for his long-term commitment to the 2SLGBTQIA+ choral movement. Guy Delorme, our steadfast President, received a Unison Legacy award on behalf of the choir for its role in hosting the Unison Festival in Ottawa in 2014.
Claude Dufresne and member Kyle Fraser participated in the Festival Choruses, performing in the TTBB chorus. The Festival Choruses portion of the conference program challenges singers’ abilities as they come together, to rehearse in person for the first time, as the conference begins, then perform for an audience as the weekend closes. Kyle also sings with Tone Cluster – Quite a Queer Choir, and performed a solo during their set. Fantastic work Claude and Kyle!
The conference program kept Choir members busy with a full schedule of music workshops and rehearsals as well as full afternoons of concerts from participating choirs from across the country. It is truly a moving experience to witness so much joy and resilience and community spirit, all contained in one space.
There were also opportunities to see old friends and make new ones while taking part in the many social activities organised as part of the conference– from squeezing in some time exploring the city whether on a guided tour of historic Halifax or belting out the latest pop hits at karaoke in one of its many pubs.
We are looking forward to attending Unison 2026 to be hosted in Vancouver!
Catch a Wave
We came back from Unison in Halifax invigorated and brought that excitement back to Ottawa with us for our spring concert Catch a Wave, performing to a full house at the Gladstone Theatre. We were overjoyed to bring to you a diverse program of rollicking sea shanties, songs of maritime love and loss that pull at the heartstrings and lullabies to lull you away on an endless horizon.
Our concert was dedicated to the memory of Dennis Stimson, a long-time supporter of the choir and a strong believer in the importance of community.
Though we don’t meet up for regular rehearsals during the summer, the OGMC continues to stay in vocal shape singing at various community functions.
In June, we had a second opportunity to sing a short program to accompany the Emmanuel United Church Pride service for Pride month. We were also honoured to be part of the opening ceremonies of the International Association of Gay Square Dance Clubs’ 40th International Gay Square Dance Convention which drew participants from across Canada and from around the world.
Thank you Ottawa Date Squares and Emmanuel United for the invitation!
The OGMC performs at the 40th International Gay Square Dance Convention
On Saturday, August 19th at Lansdowne TD Place, we sang O Canada, for the Ottawa Redblacks “All In” game with the Montréal Alouettes to celebrate pride and inclusion across the community!
The following day, on Sunday, August 20th, we sang at the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa as part of their 5th Annual Pride Service.
In a time of rising anti-2SLGBTQIA+ hate, as queer people see our humanity, dignity and rights targeted to a degree not seen since the early 2000s, we must remember queer joy and our legacy of queer resistance. Join special guest Fae Johnstone, who will explore all that queer people have to offer the world, and how we can come together, as a community alongside our allies, to meet this moment.
Look for us in the Capital Pride parade and come by and say hello at our Street Festival booth on Sunday, August 27, 2023! Volunteers will be on hand from noon to 4 pm to inform people about the choir, our upcoming shows and to recruit new members for our upcoming semester.
A New Committee
A new communications committee has been meeting this summer to bring about this newsletter and a soon-to-come website redesign. New member Jesse Pyne has stepped up in a big way to give our social media a splashy new look, with his design company Purpose Fuel sponsoring a new website for the chorus. He and past-President and occasional webmister, François Bélanger have been busy re-crafting old and new content to showcase the chorus throughout the years and today, and to reach new and broader audiences with a refreshed online presence. Stay tuned for the launch this month!
Sing with Us
The Ottawa Gay Men’s Chorus is excited to kick off its 2023 – 2024 season with open rehearsals on Wednesdays, September 6th, 13th and 20th from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm! For those who would like to sing with us for the first time and those chorus alumni who would like to rejoin us, we meet at St. John the Evangelist Church, 275 Elgin Street. Our rehearsal space is newly wheelchair accessible and all are welcome!
We will introduce and practice two or three new songs for our upcoming holiday concert: Nut Cracker. It may not feel like it yet, but the days will soon be getting shorter and colder … what better way to throw off the winter blues than with a song and a hearty chuckle. Our show Nut Cracker aims to celebrate humour and the downright silly this holiday season. The elves are up to their shenanigans again!
Annual General Meeting
Our annual general meeting will take place on Thursday, September 28 at 7pm at St. John the Evangelist Church, 275 Elgin Street. All are welcome!
We will be taking this opportunity to elect a new member to the Board of Directors. Marcel Milot has been graciously filling in on an acting basis. Merci Marcel!
We encourage those who take an interest in the long-term well-being of the chorus to sign up as an Associate Member. Associate Memberships are for non-singing members who wish to assist in the stewardship of the organization and help it continue to thrive and fulfil its mandate. Non-singing Associate members are able to vote at the AGM and also run for a position on the Board of Directors.
We are always on the lookout for members who possess skills such as accounting, fundraising, graphic design and writing/translation or whichever talent you may bring. See you at the AGM or send an email to email@example.com for more info about volunteer opportunities.
We are ever grateful to all those who have helped raise the funds that allow the chorus to continue to fulfil its important mission of contributing to the social and artistic welfare of Ottawa’s LGBTQ2S+ community and giving a public face, and sound, to Ottawa’s queer community.
We’ll be hosting our annual garage sale this fall. If you have any items you’d like to donate, please be sure to put them aside and we’ll come by to take them off your hands! More details about our garage sale to come soon!
You can also help us directly by making a donation to the choir. You will receive a charitable receipt for your donation as well as a listing as Gaywill Ambassor on our website and in the program for our upcoming concert: Nut Cracker.
Thank you again for your support!