Perth Pride Choir formed in 1993 and has been singing loudly and proudly ever since. Originally called Perth Rainbow Chorus, and subsequently the Gay and Lesbian Singers of Western Australia, The Choir adopted its current name in 2021.
The Choir first performed in concert in Perth Town Hall in October 1994. In 1996 we travelled to Sydney for Mardi Gras, taking part in the Parade. In 1997 the Choir won the open choir section of the Kalamunda Eisteddfod.
In 2001, eleven members travelled to Sydney to join the first Australasian Gay Choral gathering “Camp Music” organised by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir. This culminated in a massed choral piece performed at the Sydney Town Hall under Richard Gill where Heartland by Australian composer Mathew Hindson, was premiered.
In 2002, the Choir again travelled to Sydney and participated in the International Gay Games and Cultural Festival. The highlight was the performance at the Sydney Opera House and singing back-up harmony for kd Lang!
In February 2007 we attended the OutnLoud Festival in Melbourne where we performed at Melbourne Town Hall. We were honoured to receive a standing ovation for our performance of Bohemian Rhapsody – what a buzz! The next Festival was hosted by Gay & Lesbian Singers Auckland in April 2010, which 13 members travelled to. 2013 saw the Choir return to the Festival of Voices in Tasmania, followed by OutnLoud Festivals in Auckland (2016) and Canberra (2019) when we had 32 members attend. In 2023 our biggest contingent yet headed to Sydney for Out Loud and Proud, part of World Pride. We performed in pop ups and in the gala combined concert in the Sydney Town Hall. We are proud to say that we have attended every OutnLoud Festival even though we have often had the furthest to travel!
Our annual concerts provide the focus for rehearsals through the year and have had different themes. This has included Greaseball (2003), Queerstock (2005), A Pinker Shade of Blues (2006), Divas and Dykons (2007), GALS on Broadway (2008), Magical Mystery Tour (2009), Big Love (2010), A Date with GALS (2011), and A Change of Key and Summer Party in 2012. In 2013 we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a concert from our back catalogue and in 2014 the theme was Broadway. 2015 saw our first FringeWorld performance: Broadway’s Best Bits. Swing Out Loud (2016) was a fabulous celebration of jazz. Let’s Go To The Movies (2017) was a lot of fun. In 2018 we celebrated our 25th anniversary with 25 years – Not Just a Phase when we shared not just our music but our personal stories. 2019 our end of year concert Pretty Witty and Gay - songs from our heroes featured hits of LGBTIQ+ icons including Barbra Streisand, Freddie Mercury, Adele, Madonna, ABBA, Prince, Elton John and others. In 2020 Wonderful World - Songs about a wonderful world in the Dolphin Theatre was our end of year concert. The theme for the end of year concert in 2021 was Rise Up dealing with recovery after COVID and our new name. We also farewelled Claire Williamson who for 13 years had been Perth Pride Choir’s musical director. In 2022 the end of year concert at the Dolphin was titled This is Me. Declaring boldly who we were through songs. 2023 our end of year concert, performed three times, was titled We are Family: Thirty Years Strong celebrating our thirty year history.
The choir heads out of the city for an intense and fun weekend every couple of years to work on repertoire and to get to know each other better. These have in recent years been at Nanga Bush Camp, Dwellingup. In 2018 GALSWA won the inaugural Pride WA Proud Award for Outstanding Community Organisation recognising how, for 25 years, the Choir has been building community and supporting our members.
In 2019 we were involved in an exciting project with Know Your Nation which lead to the documenting of the stories of 16 past and present Choir members and a 10-minute short film Singing For Our True Hearts. This was funded by grants from the ANZ bank and the City of Vincent.
The Choir has a strong tradition of performing at many LGBTQIA+ community events, such as Fair Day and Pride Parade, and community rallies. We have also been involved with many community events such as Perth Festival, Denmark Festival of Voice, Dunsborough Songfest, Sunset at Subi, Voice Moves and TEDxPerth. We have also sung at a few weddings in our time!
In 2023 the Choir celebrated turning 30. It started with a bang with forty two members travelling to a very international and rainbow laden Out Loud and Proud, in Sydney part of World Pride in February. Towards the end of the year several events were held to celebrate the Choir’s thirtieth birthday including a party event held at The Court Hotel and a history exhibition at the City of Vincent Library. The end of year concert titled We are Family: Thirty Years Strong also marked the occasion. It was an especially busy year of performing at many community events.
Over more than 30 years the Choir has grown from strength to strength in numbers, professionalism and skill and we have an open door to anyone who wishes to join, whether they are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or an ally, a musician or a novice. We love our singing but we are far more than just a choir, we have created a special and supportive family. We look forward to the next thirty years.