Diversity in life & music

Tone Cluster hopes that it can get you to First United Church on time for its Nov 28 performance of songs of Love & Marriage.

The show is the first of Tone Cluster’s 11th season and is designed to celebrate “the fight for the right to get married and all the wonderful music that now we can share,” says Rob Bowman, president of the choir’s board. “Coincidentally, some of our members have gotten married over the summer, or within the last year, so it’s also special for them.”

“That’s true, I recently got married, on the 18th of September,” says Jane Perry, musical director for the group, adding, “We’re happy as clams.”

Perry hopes that the concert can serve as a starting point for discussions about marriage.

“The concert will be a concert including music, certainly, but also including various opinions of people in the choir about marriage, particularly in the gay community,” says Perry. “I will encourage various choir members to get up at the concert and voice their various opinions so that the people in the audience will have an idea of the kind of conversations that are going on in the gay community on this issue.”

As part of that discussion, the Campaign For Equal Families will make a brief presentation. Olé will appear as special guests.

“We have always prided ourselves on our diversity, diversity in life and in music,” says Liz Benjamin, one of Tone Cluster’s co-founders and an “enthusiastic alto.” “We like it that we sing jazz songs and we sing madrigals and we sing contemporary music and romantic music – all different kinds.”

Last year’s performances attracted new audiences and new members to Tone Cluster. The choir has more members than ever – about 30, compared to fewer than 20 in previous years – which will allow them to explore new musical elements and more complex arrangements.

The 2004-2005 season may also provide an opportunity for Tone Cluster to record its first CD.

“I think it’s probably going to be a one and a half year project and we’re very, very excited about it,” says Perry. “The board of the choir thought that this would be a good time to start laying down some tracks and record the good work that Tone Cluster is doing, so that our fans will have a little piece of us to take home.”

Tone Cluster’s season will also include participation in events marking World AIDS Day, to be held at Glebe St James United Church on Wed, Dec 1.

“It’ll be an evening of meditation, of personal stories,” says Perry.

For Benjamin, community events are as important to the choir as the music. She sees the group as an integral part of the community, in part because of its diversity.

“We continue to be really diverse. We include straight people, married people – I mean, heterosexual married people – as well as gay and lesbian people. I think this enriches us and everyone who is Tone Cluster feels strongly that we have a mission and that we all contribute to it together.”



7pm. Sun, Nov 28.

St. Giles Presbyterian Church

(Bank St and First Ave).


Wed, Dec 1. Time TBA.

Glebe St James United Church

(650 Lyon St South).


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