Blyth native Falconer to lead virtual holiday concert
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Singing OUT, Toronto’s LGBTQ community choir, is hosting a free virtual concert this Saturday night under the guidance of Blyth native Jackie Falconer, the choir’s assistant artistic director.
Falconer began working with the choir last year as its assistant artistic director. The choir is a non-auditioned, mixed-voice choir, which she says is a relative rarity in the LGBTQ community (pointing to gay men’s choirs or lesbian singing groups as more the norm in that community).
The show, which is titled Singing OUT @HomefortheHolidays, will serve as the choir’s first-ever virtual choir performance, paired with a look back at some of the choir’s best moments from past years and stories from some of the members. The performances have been edited together by Archipelago Productions, a professional production company.
The show will be online on Saturday, Dec. 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Free tickets can be booked online at singingout.com.
Before the pandemic, Falconer said in an interview with The Citizen, the choir consisted of over 120 singers meeting in a community centre ballroom on Toronto’s Church Street. However, COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the group’s spring concert and a trip to perform at a festival in Minnesota.
After meeting up several times virtually over the course of the summer, Falconer and several members of the choir wanted to sing together again. The group met on Zoom and sang and danced together, although singing alone in your apartment – while connected via Zoom to other members of the choir – wasn’t for everyone, so Falconer said the choir lost a few members during this time.
When Falconer first interviewed for the position of assistant artistic director with the choir, she said she felt it was a perfect fit for her right after the audition. She knew it went well, after she led the group in song for the audition, saying that if she wasn’t chosen for the job, it was because someone better came in and auditioned, because she had done as well as she could and immediately felt the chemistry.
It came at a time when her and her husband Ken’s son Miles was growing older and she had more time to dedicate to the music world again, of which she had been a big part before having their child.
Since beginning with Singing OUT, Falconer says it has been great to get to know the members of the choir and to be part of such an inclusive group.
The holiday show will include pre-recorded and edited performances of three new songs by the choir, as well as archival footage from some of the choir’s best performances from over the years. Falconer says it will have a very “Brady Bunch” feel with members of the choir appearing in individual boxes for the performance. It’s unorthodox, but she says she’s very impressed with the footage she’s seen, thinking it should be a great night of music for those who choose to tune in.
Falconer grew up in Blyth and went to F.E. Madill Secondary School. She would earned a Master’s Degree in choral conducting from York University.
She also serves now as the musical director for the Voices of Hope Choir, composed of people living with Parkinson’s Disease. That’s a very different, but similarly fulfilling position to hold, she said, because she sees people benefit from singing together both in terms of morale and medically (studies have shown, she said, that focused verbal activities like singing have aided those with Parkinson’s and strengthened their voices).
For more information or to book free tickets to Saturday’s performance, visit singingout.com.