The Gay and Lesbian Singers of Western Australia (GALSWA) formed in 1993 and has been singing loudly and proudly ever since.
The Choir first performed in concert in Perth Town Hall in October 1994. In 1996 GALSWA travelled to Sydney for Mardi Gras, taking part in the Parade. In 1997 the Choir won the open choir section of the Kalamunda Eisteddfod.
In 2001, eleven members travelled to Sydney to join the first Australasian Gay Choral gathering “Camp Music” organised by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir. This culminated in a massed choral piece performed at the Sydney Town Hall under Richard Gill where Heartland by Australian composer Mathew Hindson, was premiered.
In 2002, the Choir again travelled to Sydney and participated in the International Gay Games and Cultural Festival. The highlight was the performance at the Sydney Opera House, and singing back-up harmony for kd Lang!
In February 2007 GALSWA attended the OutnLoud Festival in Melbourne where we performed at Melbourne Town Hall. GALSWA were honoured to receive a standing ovation for our performance of Bohemian Rhapsody – what a buzz! The next Festival was hosted by Gay & Lesbian Singers Auckland in April 2010, which 13 members travelled to. 2013 saw GALSWA return to the Festival of Voices in Tasmania, followed by OutnLoud Festivals in Auckland (2016) and Canberra (2019) when we had 32 members attend. We are proud to say that we have attended every OutnLoud Festival even though we have had the furthest to travel!
GALSWA annual concerts have had different themes, including Greaseball (2003), Queerstock (2005), A Pinker Shade of Blues (2006), Divas and Dykons (2007), GALS on Broadway (2008), Magical Mystery Tour (2009), Big Love (2010), A Date with GALS (2011), and A Change of Key and Summer Party in 2012. In 2013 we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a concert from the back catalogue and in 2014 the theme was Broadway. 2015 saw our first FringeWorld performance: Broadway’s Best Bits. Swing Out Loud (2016) was a fabulous celebration of jazz, and Let’s Go To The Movies (2018) was a lot of fun. In 2018 we celebrated our 25th anniversary with 25 years – Not Just a Phase when we shared not just our music but our personal stories.
In 2019 we were involved in an exciting project with Know Your Nation which lead to the documenting of the stories of 16 past and present Choir members and a 10-minute short film Singing For Our True Hearts. This was funded by grants from the ANZ bank and the City of Vincent.
The Choir has a strong tradition of performing at many LGBTIQ+ community events, such as Fair Day and Pride Parade, and community rallies. GALSWA has also been involved with many community events such as Perth Festival, Denmark Festival of Voice, Dunsborough Songfest, Sunset at Subi, Voice Moves and TEDxPerth. We have also sung at a few weddings in our time!
Over more than 25 years the Choir has grown from strength to strength in numbers, professionalism and skill and we have an open door to anyone who wishes to join, whether they are a member of the LGBTIQ+ community or an ally, a musician or a novice. We love our singing but we also have a lot of fun – we’re not just a choir, we’re a family.