The history of Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus dates back to 2000 when a small number of singers came together and met at St Peter's House at the University of Manchester. By the following year, the choir had decided on its name and officially formed as an organisation, and was now rehearsing regularly in Manchester's Gay Village.
This is the timeline of our events and achievements:
2000 - World AIDS Day vigil in Sackville Gardens
2001 - First LGBT+ choir festival attended by MLGC “Sing Out Norwich”
2002 - MLGC continues to grow and develop
2003 – A big opportunity to be invited to perform with The London Gay Men's Chorus at HOME in the Library Theatre in Manchester (now the new HOME complex in Tony Wilson Place) following which in
2004 - Membership reaches 65 singers! Perform for first time on the main stage at the first Manchester Pride. Jeff Borradaile is appointed our Musical Director
2005 - First concerts staged in Manchester entitled "We Sing". Apply (and are accepted) to compete as a choir at the World OutGames in Montréal, Canada
2006 - Sing at Europride in London’s Trafalgar Square. Over 50 members compete at World OutGames in Montréal, winning the bronze medal, and sing in a mass choir to a crowd of over 60,000 people for the opening ceremony
2007 - Stage sold-out concert, this time at the Royal Northern College of Music, entitled "Seasons of Love"
2008 – Many members travelled to Berlin for a joint concert with Canta:re choir. Recorded our first CD "Beautiful Rain" and also staged a concert of the same name. Made our West End stage debut at Trafalgar Studios as part of the Eloquent Protest project for Remembrance Sunday.
2009 – A contingent of members travelled to be part of the Various Voices choir festival, held in The Southbank Centre, London - an LGBT+ choirs' festival that draws participants from all over Europe. Then a party of 37 plus a number of supporters travelled to Denmark to compete at World Outgames in Copenhagen, winning the silver medal in the choral competition
2010 - Sang with Podium, a Parisian gay men’s choir at Paris Pride in June. In November we rocked The Dancehouse theatre in Manchester with a sold-out joint concert ‘We Go Together’ with our friends, Gay Abandon from Leeds and the Pink Singers from London
2011 - A return visit to London in January as part of the Pink Singers concert at the Cadogan Hall. The MLGC becomes a founding member of the Proud Voices network that supports all LGBT+ choirs in the UK and Ireland. Performed at Manchester Pride, with a following annual tradition of either walking or having a float in the Pride Procession. Then in September our biggest concert to date, entitled “Beyond the Rainbow’ in the RNCM’s large concert theatre. Later in the year we performed as part of the Royal Exchange Theatre’s production of “Beautiful Thing” by Jonathan Harvey
2012 – Jeff Borradaile, our MD since 2004 moves to pastures new
2013 - Loz Kaye is appointed our new Musical Director. Many travel to London’s East End to take part in the first Hand in Hand Festival, a new UK based LGBTQI+ choir festival to be held bi-annually
2014 - Major concert at The Lowry entitled "Spring into Harmony". Performed as part of "The Events", a week-long series of performances to mark the introduction to the city of the new HOME complex. Staged a highly-successful musical protest event "Safe to Sing" in response to a homophobic attack on youths on a Manchester tram, also performing at a BBC Radio Festival. Then over 40 members travelled to Dublin to take part in the Various Voices choir festival
2015 - Performed at first National LGBT+ History Festival in Manchester in front of Stuart Milk (nephew of Harvey) and Mike Jackson and Cath Booth from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM). "Safe to Sing" featured in the People's History Museum musical protest event "Play Your Part". Performed as part of "Big Girl's Blouse" theatre production documenting the life and times of trans performer (and patron) Kate O'Donnell. Performed on opening night of Manchester International Festival 2015, in Festival Square as part of "We Only Happen At Night" queer club event. In October Kate O'Donnell hosted our show "An Evening With MLGC" at the RNCM, where we welcomed as guests the Brighton Gay Men's Chorus
2016 – We performed at the Central Library in April as well as numerous Pride festivals including Manchester of course as well as a Pride concert in Chester in September, took part in the Transgender Day of Remembrance and sang at a wedding in Clitheroe in December
2017 – Singing at the launch of the People’s History Museum in Manchester in March; then Bury Pride in April. The Chorus hosted the Hand in Hand Festival from 18-20 August, bringing together 30 LGBT+ choirs from across the UK. This was the first time the festival was hosted in the North of England, and tied in with the exhibition Never Going Underground at the People's History Museum
2018 – 24 members travelled to Munich in Germany to take part in the Various Voices Festival in May following which we sang at “Manchester Together With One Voice” and said goodbye to Loz Kaye, our MD for 5 years. Undertook at Tim Arnold recording at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and appointed Dan McDwyer as our new MD in July. Sang at a number of Prides as well as the Festival of Manchester in Platts Fields, culminating in an LGBT+ concert in Leeds in October. Then “Moodswings” in November followed by a weekend away for members in an Anglesey hostel, and then a performance in Manchester Piccadilly railway station in December
2019 – Took part in the Manchester Amateur Choral Competition at the RNCM in March, then numerous Prides, then 35 members plus some supporters travelled to Cardiff for the Hand in Hand Festival in August. Manchester Pride meant we sang with Lulu, then further Prides culminating in a concert at Manchester College in October. Some members performed at the MediaCity studios in a Jane McDonald production to be shown on TV at Christmas and finally we sang some festive music at the Great Northern just before we broke up for Christmas
2020 – As with many choirs we were forced to cease our normal weekly rehearsals early in March due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions, but soon set up Zoom rehearsals for the rest of the year and into 2021. During this time a number of video productions have been enjoyed with the results found on the YouTube channel
Since the early years, the Chorus has grown from strength to strength and we now have around 70 members, ranging from people in their early 20s to early 80s