Monday, November 30, 2020
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


Barbara Waldern (centre) and other members of the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir sing in Robson Square for International Women’s Day.

British Columbians sing in solidarity

Residents of Vancouver and Victoria are joining choirs to fight social and environmental injustice

By Serena Renner , in Culture Feature story , on April 2, 2020

Social-justice choirs are becoming a popular choice among British Columbians. Singers are rallying around lyrics and issues, including climate action, worker’s rights, LGBTQ-plus solidarity, and Indigenous sovereignty.

In the past few years, at least three socially conscious choirs have formed in the region. The Vancouver Climate Choir meets weekly to lift spirits and rehearse for climate-change demonstrations. The Resistance Rising Choir formed in 2018 on Lekwungen territory in Victoria. The group of about 20 singers brings polished harmonies to the front lines of social and environmental movements. And the Rainbow Choir, also in Victoria, is a self-described “queer glee club” that mixes Abba with gay-rights anthems.

British Columbia is also home to historic choirs that focus on social issues. Vancouver’s oldest labour choir, Solidarity Notes, sings at picket lines, protests, and community events around the city. The choir, which turns 20 this May, has seen growing interest lately. Several new members joined just last year.

Here’s the story of two local justice choirs.

 

 

Serena Renner started singing with Solidarity Notes a year ago. Listen closely and you might hear her alto harmony in the first song.