Loud & Proud
- Allan Radcliffe
- 24 November 2009
Loud & Proud, Scotland’s LGBT choir, has come a long way in a short space of time. The a capella group, which performs its annual festive concert at the George Square Theatre this fortnight, started life as a ten-week singing course at the LGBT Centre for Health & Wellbeing in January 2005, with only eight dedicated members. After taking to the stage at Sala on Broughton Street for Pride Scotia, however, the performers decided to keep the music going.
‘Just on the strength of performing in Sala our membership doubled,’ says Karen Dietz, Loud & Proud’s artistic director, originally from Massachusetts. ‘Our expansion has always been by way of word of mouth. We’ve done very little in the way of advertising or touting for business.’
Until Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus formed last year Loud & Proud were the only LGBT choir in Scotland. However, as Dietz points out, the choir’s demographic is of secondary importance to the music and sense of community.
‘There’s very little in the way of a gimmick about us. Some of our members happen to be gay, some are transgender and some are straight. It’s not about promoting gayness as such; it’s about community. It just so happens that we identify as an LGBT choir.’
Now a regular presence on Edinburgh’s music scene, members of the choir regularly perform at special occasions, weddings and civil partnerships as well as taking full programmes to the Fringe and other festivals.
As well as the expected carols such as ‘Silent Night’ and fun Christmas songs, the choir’s festive concert will also feature some early American ‘shape-note’ music, a type of singing used in various sacred music traditions that has been practised particularly in the southern states of the USA. ‘Every programme we do is diverse and varied,’ says Dietz. ‘That’s partly due to my own experience and background, and also the varied tastes of our members.’
George Square Theatre, Edinburgh, Sat 12 Dec