Save the date for the Rainbow Chorus Winter Concert on Saturday 9th December 2023.
Prepare yourselves for a blizzard of classics and festive treats with a light dusting of ABBA.
Tickets available at BrownPaperTickets.com: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/6151675
The Rainbow Chorus is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion and for a considerable time we have been aware that one of the most marginalised groups in the LGBTQ+ community, indeed in the whole wider community, has been those who are Sign Language Users including those who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families and friends.
For a number of years the Rainbow Chorus has been reaching out to this community, talking with our deaf friends and colleagues working in the deaf community, working with British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, ensuring we have BSL interpreters at our main concerts and where possible at other events, publicising our concerts through deaf networks, ensuring there were interpreters when organising Hand In Hand (UK and Eire LGBT choral festival) and learning some of our main repertoire in Sign Supported English (SSE).
We provide BSL Interpreters at our 2 main concerts and we would like to develop more partnerships with other community organisations to spread the practice of using BSL interpreters at other LGBTQ+ events in the City. We have encouraged and supported the use of BSL interpreting at the jointly organised World Aids Day concert.
The Rainbow Chorus has worked with a number of BSL interpreters and sign language users who have advised us on the development of our Signed Supported English (SSE) programme and given advice on other matters to raise Deaf Awareness in the LGBTQ+ and wider community.
We have a regular audience of Sign Language Users who are used to seeing our concerts interpreted and the feedback we get is that this is something they appreciate and want to continue to enjoy. We’ve had very positive responses from Sign Language Users to our SSE performances which have been seen as pro-actively reaching out to include them. We are also reaching out to a younger audience. One young deaf man explains the impact of this has made to him:
“It is unusual for me to be able to enjoy a concert from an LGBT choir as most do not have BSL interpreters. I was born profoundly deaf and am also a gay man. I really wanted to come along to a Rainbow Chorus concert when I heard they have a BSL interpreter. Many of my Deaf friends thought I was mad but this has allowed me to enjoy something my hearing LGBT friends enjoy and it makes me feel part of the LGBT community. I really love that the choir also use some basic SSE in one or two of their songs and I hope this will continue"
The need for outreach and development with the deaf/ Sign Language Using community has been confirmed in collaboration with the senior research fellow/convenor of deaf studies at the University of Sussex and our longstanding BSL interpreter, Marco Nardi, who is well known in the deaf community. A couple of our choir members are BSL interpreters, others have deaf friends and we have had very positive feedback from using BSL interpreters and SSE in the past from deaf members of our audiences as well as their families and friends.
We know we can do more! We will continue to provide a BSL interpreter at our 2 main concerts and continue to work with Sign Language Users, BSL interpreters and our Musical Director and to assist us in developing our repertoire of SSE music. We want to produce more BSL videos. We want to develop our outreach into the Sign Language using community and explore possible partnerships with other organisations. We want to provide a BSL interpreter for at least one community gig.
If you can help, have a partnership idea or want to leave comments on how we can improve our commitment to LGBTQ+/Queer Sign Language Users please get in touch!
Rainbow Chorus is a member of Legato, the umbrella organisation for lesbian and gay choirs in Europe.
Our principal office is: St George’s Church, St George’s Road Brighton BN2 1ED
Registered Charity No: 1161330