Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir Reception

(6.30pm, Wednesday 26 February 2014, Lord Mayor's Reception Room)

Thank you, Rod, and hello, everyone - welcome to Town Hall.

I thank the choir for singing our guests into the room - they're the reason we're all here this evening.

The choir was founded in 1991 and over the 20-plus years since, it's emerged as one of Sydney's outstanding cultural assets.

It has provided the sound-track for so many events, ranging from AIDS candle-light vigils to riotous Mardi Gras parties; it was an integral part of the memorable Gay Games opening ceremony, and it has represented Sydney's diversity and talent on concert stages around Australia and overseas.

With over 80 singers, the choir welcomes anyone to join them, regardless of their sexuality, gender identity or music experience.

Music, as we know, can be a powerful and enriching experience and community singing can be a wonderful bonding experience. The choir provides an outlet where people can freely express themselves through music.

At the same time, it helps break down barriers while providing joy and positive role models not only to choir members, but to the thousands of people who hear them sing each year.

Over the years, the City has supported the choir in a number of ways - whether through waiving the venue hire fee at Heffron Hall for their rehearsals or here at Town Hall for some of their fabulous concerts such as the 2011 20th Anniversary Concert and last year's Broadway Baby production with the Royal Australian Navy Band.

We've also engaged the choir to sing carols in the streets during our popular Christmas in the Villages program.

Now the choir has ambitious plans for the future and so we're here to help re-launch the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir Cultural Fund which will make those plans and dreams a reality and we will hear from Alex Greenwich and Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith, Music Director of the Choir.

But first, we should hear from the choir itself, so please give a warm welcome to the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir.