Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Tone Cluster’s queer Christmas

Quite a Queer Qhristmas brings together LGBT choirs

Tone Cluster will perform alongside the Ottawa Gay Men’s Chorus and In Harmony. Credit: Jay-Dee Purdie

Tone Cluster’s upcoming Christmas concert, Quite a Queer Qhristmas, promises to be the queerest concert of their 2014/2015 season.

Tone Cluster is a 30-voice auditioned choir for LGBT folk and their allies. This season’s subscription series includes three main concerts: the Christmas concert, Words.3 (focused on anti-bullying) and nonSense and inSensibility (which is just a lot of silliness). In April there will be Show Tune Showdown, an annual fundraising event where teams compete before celebrity guest judges.

Kurt Ala-Kantti, Tone Cluster’s music director, says the Christmas event is “probably our queerest concert — even queerer than the show-tunes one. If you saw the lyrics to some of the songs we’re doing, you’d agree.”

The concert includes performances by Ottawa’s two other LGBT choirs: the Ottawa Gay Men’s Chorus and In Harmony, a women’s chorus. It continues a partnership formed between the three choirs when they gave the opening concert at the Unison Festival, a quadrennial Canadian choral festival for queer choirs, which took place in Ottawa this past summer. “I want to keep that relationship going, so this is kind of our party and a way to continue the cooperation between all three LGBT choirs,” Ala-Kantti says.

The choirs will perform their own sets and then join together for a set. Tone Cluster’s contributions include such tongue-in-cheek selections as “Coming Out at Christmas” and “Christmas Brunch.” The latter “starts off with setting up a brunch, but all the friends are fit and vegan, and so it goes through the situation of having to accommodate people’s dietary restrictions,” Ala-Kantti says. “It’s definitely not a traditional Christmas concert.”