This choir for low voiced LGBTQ+ people has been keeping the community in Manchester connected over the last 5 years but more importantly, it offered a lifeline to many in the community- who have been at higher risk of social isolation and poor mental health- during the pandemic.
The choir has been keeping the community connected and making unique new music during the pandemic.
The Sunday Boys was formed five years ago by Manchester-based composer and conductor Michael Betteridge, who wanted to create an inclusive LGBTQ+ choir for low voiced singers in the city to enjoy music, perform and make friends.
When the pandemic halted rehearsals last year, The Sunday Boys were determined to keep singing. This sense of community and support through music was important because LGBTQ+ people have been at higher risk of social isolation and poor mental health, along with restricted access to specialist health provision. Greater Manchester also faced many more periods of lockdown than other parts of the UK. Tenor Joseph Owen says: “Having the choir as a queer space with other people who have shared interests has made me feel less alone.”
Members have come together every week since March 2020, either online or socially distanced in an overground car park when restrictions allowed. They have taken part in music skills building sessions, creating virtual choir videos and even created an Arts Council England-funded choral piece called Distant Dream with queer Scottish singer-songwriter Finn Anderson, The Lowry musician in residence for 2020.
Finn and Michael collaborated with the choir through online and outdoor workshops in March and April 2021 to create and rehearse the work, which explores sentiments around the past selves of members - a topic particularly pertinent for LGBTQ+ people. The project engaged all members as well as encouraging another ten people to join.
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