By Shelby Clark Petkus
LGBT concerts aren’t over for the season just yet! Sing Out Detroit, southeast Michigan’s LGBT and allied chorus, will perform their holiday show, “FA-LA-LA FROZEN,” in Royal Oak this weekend. The winter celebration has “a little something for every member of the family.” The Dec. 21 show will feature beautiful choral numbers, a medley of songs from the Disney film “Frozen” and holiday classics like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Sing Out Detroit is a mixed soprano, alto, tenor and bass (SATB) chorus for LGBT people and allies. Singers with varied musical skills are welcome. The group is also a member of the Gay And Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA), a national organization for LGBT and friends choruses. Established on the core values of creativity, diversity, excellence, camaraderie and significance (meaning “giving generously of our talents to make a positive difference” and “touching audiences with uplifting messages that have enduring impact”), the chorus serves as a diverse, inclusive music group that can provide a supportive environment for LGBT people and allies “to share the joy of musical performance, while creating harmony.”
With more than two decades of experience with LGBT choruses, Todd Ballou is the current Music Director for the chorus, and has been with the local group since 2011. The Ypsilanti resident, who lives on a farm with his partner, Dan, has an extensive resume of musical contributions. Previous to his work with Sing Out Detroit, Ballou represented Detroit at annual conferences and festivals for GALA and performed in the University of Michigan’s marching band as a tuba player, where he also marched in three Rose Bowl parades. He earned his Bachelor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Big Ten school. More recently, Ballou has participated in local theater, including a rendition of “Faustus,” where he selected and performed organ repertoire and sound accompaniment for the Loudermilk Productions play. When not working with Sing Out Detroit, Ballou plays organ and leads the choir of First Unitarian-Universalist Church of Detroit every Sunday morning.
Ballou and the group are as welcoming of their concertgoers as they are their members – all are welcome to attend and volunteer. “We always need help from non-singers,” the chorus’ website notes. There’s more than one way to show support for the chorus as well. Sing Out Detroit notes, “In addition to enjoying our concerts, there are many ways you can support Sing Out Detroit. Please consider becoming one of our sponsors or placing an ad for your business in our concert program. And of course, we’re always looking for volunteers to help out at our concerts – no singing is required!”
Those interested in singing for the chorus can contact Sing Out Detroit to schedule a meeting with Ballou, who will determine new members’ vocal ranges and ability to match a pitch. Membership is made up of all ability levels, and new members are welcomed in December and January for the upcoming winter/spring seasons. Rehearsals are from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday nights.
Sing Out Detroit’s “FA-LA-LA FROZEN” will begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21 in the Royal Oak High School auditorium. Royal Oak High School is located at 1500 Lexington Blvd. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 248-943-2411 or visit http://www.singoutdetroit.org.