Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Queer choral societies bid to host the Canadian Choral Festival in 2014

Ottawa hopes to host the country's largest queer singing festival

Gianluca Ragazzini

At the end of the month queer choruses from around Canada will descend upon Winnipeg for the 4th Canadian Choral festival — Unison 2010. The festival is a weekend where queers singers and their allies come together to participate in concerts, attend workshops and network with each other.

The Canadian Choral festival started in Edmonton in1998 and is held every four years in major cities around Canada — Toronto in 2002, Vancouver in 2006 and this year in Winnipeg.

In 2014, Ottawa hopes to be the host city.

Gianluca Ragazzini, a member of Ottawa’s Gay Men’s Chorus and Tone Cluster, is coordinating the committee of choral enthusiasts who will present a bid proposal at the festival in Winnipeg to host Unison 2014.

Ragazzini feels the festival is a chance to showcase gay and lesbian choral culture in Canada and is important for the local community.

“It’s a high profile event for the choral community in general,” says Ragazzini. “It also showcases the different musical cultures from around the country in the capital.”

Members from the various choral societies in Ottawa, including Rob Bowman and Bob LeDrew from Tone Cluster, are working together on the bid proposal.

Bowman and LeDrew are responsible for putting on the highly successful Show Tunes Showdown held annually in Ottawa where various teams compete in a singing showdown.

The Ottawa proposal will highlight the Show Tunes Showdown as a major part of the festival.

“It will be basically a larger-scale Show Tune Showdown that will be for both the Ottawa audiences and for the Unison 2014 audience coming from all over Canada,” says Ragazzini.

Ragazzini is hopeful that Ottawa stands a good chance in winning the bid against Montréal and possibly Calgary — the two other cities competing against Ottawa for the 2014 bid.

Despite the competition, Ragazzini feels that Ottawa is ready to host the choral festival — the queer choral societies are willing to join forces and the city itself has the infrastructure to accommodate large crowds.

“In Ottawa we have the Blues festival — one of the largest festivals in North America and the Chamber music festival,” says Ragazzini. “Ottawa has a very strong volunteer base and structure that will help this kind of event.”

For Ragazzini the chance for Ottawa to host a choral festival is to expand the cultural capacity of the capital city.

 “We want it to be a significant cultural event in the city,” says Ragazzini.

The coordinating committee will present its bid to the selection committee at the Unison 2010 festival in Winnipeg on May 22.

The host city for the Unison 2014 will be announced at the end of May.