History of the Chorus
How it all began
One voice begins it all
Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus (MGLC), the first gay and lesbian choral organisation in the Southern Hemisphere, was founded in Australia in 1990 by gay performer and activist, Lawrence McGuire (1966 – ). The chorus was first named ALSOUNDS, due in part to its affiliation with the ALSO Foundation. In April 1994, the name was changed to Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus, reflecting the chorus’s organisational independence and a desire to further challenge stereotypes.
McGuire learned for the first time of the existence of gay choruses while listening to an LP record, The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Tours America 1981, at a party. Inspired by the discovery, McGuire, along with his roommates (including his sister, Kathleen, and gay friend Tuck Wah Leong), discussed the notion of forming a gay and lesbian choir in Melbourne. McGuire wanted to form a choir specifically with gay men and women in an effort to unify these sometimes divergent groups. AIDS had already caused much devastation in the gay community, and he believed that a choir would help to lift spirits and be a positive expression against homophobia. With a small group of men and women, both gay and straight, the first rehearsal was held on 28 April 1990.
MGLC’s first Music Director was Trevor Dunn. Dunn, who was a music teacher at Kilbreda College – a Catholic girls’ high school in Mentone, directed the group for a number of years before succumbing to AIDS.
Following a series of short-term conductors, Tuck Wah Leong took the helm as Music Director c. 1994 and directed the MGLC’s first, award-winning CD and its first international tour.
In 2001, MGLC appointed conductor Adrian Kirk, under whose direction the chorus developed a more sophisticated, classical sound.
Jonathon Welch – of the renowned operatic trio: Tenor Australis, and former conductor of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir – served as MGLC’s Music Director from 2005 to 2007.
In August 2005, MGLC founded the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Youth Chorus, the first chorus of its kind in Australasia. They have performed separately and with the main chorus at numerous events, and are putting together their first CD separate from the main choir.
Darren Wicks was Musical Director for 2008.
In 2009, Adrian Schultz, the director of the Youth Chorus, was appointed Musical Director. Ben L was subsequently appointed Musical Director of the Youth Chorus.
Since its inception, the MGLC has provided support and outreach to the GLBTI community. Examples of regular community appearances include: annual Stonewall commemorative service for the Metropolitan Community Church; World AIDS Day ceremonies and services for the People Living With AIDS; Australia Day Picnic for GLBTI radio station, JOY Melbourne 94.9 FM.
Edited text from wikipedia article.