Sing Out Detroit Celebrates 10 Years

Eve Kucharski
By | 2018-06-13T12:56:45+00:00 June 13th, 2018|Michigan, News|

For the past decade, musically-inclined LGBTQ and ally Detroiters have slowly been catching on to Sing Out Detroit, the city’s inclusionary group choir. In honor of the group’s growth and longevity, they will be hosting their “Encore!” performance on Saturday, June 16, at Ferndale High School.
“This is the largest our choir has been. We actually have 50 members on stage with us now, and we started with four people in their basement,” said board member Laura Varga. “We are super excited to get folks to come and celebrate with us at the 10 year anniversary at Ferndale High.”
The group performs a variety of styles like swing numbers, jazzy songs and more. Brian Burnett, another choir board member said one of the choir’s great strengths is that it doesn’t require highly experienced members to join, just people with a passion for music and the ability to hold a note.
“We do have a standard to match pitch — we have to protect the experience for everybody. No one would be happy if they just couldn’t do it, but also protecting the singer who can’t sing from being embarrassed,” Burnett said. “But the biggest thing is that you don’t have to be a proficient music reader to participate.”
And, Burnett added that the group allows for people to tailor their own experience, joining other groups within Sing Out Detroit.
“We do have small ensembles of the group of 50 people. Not everybody wants to do a swing choir style where they’re dancing around. So, we have a stand-and-sing choral group that does a little more proficient, more difficult music. Then we have another subdivision of the group — and people overlap,” Burnett said. “People can self-elect which groups they’d want to do. We don’t just stand and sing with folders and we have a bunch of different options for people to sing at depending on their interest level. We also wanted to make our shows entertaining, so we switch out the visuals.”
However, Burnett said his favorite part of being a choir member is that it has opened his mind to a variety of new perspectives.
“I’ve only been in the choir for four years and when I joined this choir I had a really different perspective on trans people. I didn’t know anybody trans and now I know three people,” Burnett said. “And so, even being a gay man, it has expanded my horizons into what’s in the real world. And, it helps people become comfortable in the world.”
Varga added that Sing Out Detroit’s inclusivity gives her hope.
“We are an LGBT and ally choir and we have a fair number of allies,” she said. “I think it really says something about the progress of our times.”
The event will be held at 7 p.m. Ferndale High School is located at 881 Pinecrest Dr., Ferndale. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. More information about the group can be found online at singoutdetroit.org.

About the Author:

Eve Kucharski
Writing became my life when I enrolled at Michigan State University's journalism program. While at MSU, I also discovered I had a passion for the spoken word, and I heavily involved myself in the world of radio. In May 2017, I earned my bachelor's degree in journalism with a concentration in electronic news media. Currently, I am thrilled to be working as an editorial assistant at Between The Lines, a weekly LGBTQ newspaper based in Livonia, Michigan.