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Locals basses sing in We Belong

Two Erskineville residents will perform in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir’s exciting new concert, We Belong, on Saturday 5 August at NIDA’s Parade Theatre in Kensington.

Marco Ho and Chris Masson, both bass singers, are looking forward to contributing to the one-night-only spectacular, bringing to life 20 of the most beloved stage and film musicals.

Audiences can look forward to discovering fresh and unique arrangements that shed new light on the iconic songs they know and love, from legendary composers such as Cole Porter (Anything Goes), Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story), Jule Styne (Bells Are Ringing), and Ricard Rodger (The Sound of Music) to stage hits like Six and Mean Girls.

Mr Masson joined the choir in 2017. He had been in the choir at school and found the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir a safe way to get back into singing because it was “inclusive and welcoming and there was not too much pressure”.

The choir is a non-auditioned choir that welcomes members regardless of their sexual identity or musical experience. It is open to all, “united by a love of singing together and striving for performance excellence”.

Mr Ho moved down from Brisbane in 2019 and found the choir was a great way to meet people and join the community.

A good thing about the choir, they said, was the wide variety in its repertoire.

Their previous concert was a commissioned piece inspired by choir members’ stories.

They had performed few musicals and most of the songs in We Belong were new to the choir. It would be the first time performing them for some choristers, they said.

Mr Ho and Mr Masson said they had been told the audience could see the joy and enthusiasm in the singers’ faces. From their perspective, it was always great to see the faces of former choir members in the audience.

The choir began rehearsing We Belong in March, after joining with Sydney WorldPride to present Out & Loud & Proud, a major international LGBTIQA+ choral festival.

They practise as a choir every Thursday and also on Sunday for their own parts.

Music Director Adam Majsay said he’d long been a music theatre fan, so to combine his love of the beauty of choral singing with the excitement of Broadway was a great joy.

“The rich harmonies, epic storytelling and bold textures of the songs in We Belong have been equal parts challenging and fulfilling as the choir and I have rehearsed this concert program,” he said.

“Each song brings a new world to life. We’re thrilled to have our audience join us as we explore those musical worlds.”

Mr Ho and Mr Masson said they had a soft spot for “For Good” from Wicked, which had an a cappella arrangement where the basses had the tune.

The choir is unusual in having such a high proportion of bass singers – 15 to 20 in a choir that can number as many as 80.

They also noted the final song from Matilda, the raucous “Revolting Children”, which they described as a fast-paced tongue twister.

With such good songs and arrangements, there should be something for everyone to enjoy, they said. And who didn’t like show tunes?

They hoped people would come along and perhaps even join up.

There is a range of ability in the choir. Some members don’t read music and have to learn by ear. A lot of teaching and coaching goes on.

But, in the end, from not knowing a note, to the terror as the performance gets closer, somehow it all comes together.

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We Belong: Parade Theatre, 215 Anzac Parade, Kensington, Saturday 5 August, 7pm. Tickets on Tiketek or through the NIDA Box Office.

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