Universal Records today announced that they have signed a 30 strong Gay Men’s Chorus to join the label that is home to U2, Grace Jones, PJ Harvey and Paul Weller. The first ever major record deal for a gay men’s chorus, an alternative choir, The Brighton & Hove Gay Men’s Chorus will release their debut album of alternative music in October.
The Brighton & Hove Gay Men’s Chorus will release their eponymous debut album on 3 October 2011. In a move to dispel the clichés surrounding what one would expect to hear from a gay men’s chorus, the album will feature a variety of unique interpretations and alternative arrangements of alternative / rock singles and B-sides, by artists such as Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen), Radiohead, Neil Young, The Enemy, David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails. The album will also feature one original song.
This announcement coincides with one of the biggest dates in the UKgay calendar – Pride Brighton & Hove – which hosts its annual Parade and Park Event on Saturday 13 August. The Brighton & Hove Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing on the Live Stage on the Saturday.
From barman to baker, teacher to travel agent, The Brighton & Hove Gay Men’s Chorus have come a long way since forming six years ago by John Hamilton and Jason Pimblett. The overall aim of the Chorus was to provide a community for gay men to share experiences, have fun but most importantly develop and learn vocal abilities and embrace new styles of music not often associated with the gay community.
“Rather than being a gay chorus, we’re a chorus of men that happen to be gay”, explains B&H GMC Chairman John Hamilton. “When we started the chorus, part of what we wanted to do was to help to break down some barriers and misconceptions of what gay people are”
“We wanted to concentrate more on the music”, adds Musical Director Jason Pimblett, “and not necessarily be pigeonholed into ‘oh you can do that but you can’t do that’.”
“There was room in Brighton for an organisation of gay men who wanted to sing but didn’t necessarily want to do the repertoire which you would normally associate with a gay men’s chorus.”
The Brighton & Hove Gay Men’s Chorus’ gigs to date include a World War II show attended by Dame Vera Lynn (singing ‘We’ll Meet Again’), Italian operas, Garden Parties for local Brighton dignitaries and council members, a gig at the Foreign Office, local charity events and even getting the chance to sing ‘Angels’ with Guy Chambers at the aannual dinner of the Society of Distinguished Song Writers!
With sights set firmly beyond the seafront of Brighton & Hove, this group of ordinary gay men from the South of England are reaching for the stars, with the hope of setting a brand new standard for the gay community, united in their love of singing.