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On the opening night of Club Carousel, Calgary’s first-ever gay dance club, the police arrived, and informed those present that if they were found gathering on the premises the next night, they would all be charged with “operating a cabaret without a license.” Despite the police warning, many brave members of the society showed up the next night anyway.
But so did the police, who arrested and charged the members as warned.
Renowned Calgary defence lawyer, Harvey Ghitter, offered his services to those charged, and according to the late Jack Loenen, an original member of the Scarth Street Society, by the time those charged went to trial, “the original police charge was thrown out of court as we were classified as a social club (open only to members and their guests) and not as a cabaret.”
Gradually, word spread about Club Carousel, and it became an inspirational model for the formation of other gay clubs in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. These clubs dramatically altered the gay social scene on the prairies and, for the first time, created safe social spaces for LGBTQ communities across the prairies.
So, in many ways, Calgary’s Club Carousel and its members became a bridge that enabled other members of the gay community to reach out to each other. It is that bridge, and the strong networks that it has enabled, that OVC will celebrate at its CLUB CAROUSEL concerts on Saturday, March 28.
The concert is just one day away. The evening show is already sold out and tickets to the afternoon show are selling fast - be sure to get yours soon!
Picture it: 1968. A small group of folks, members of Calgary’s underground gay community who call themselves the Scarth Street Society, are cleaning up an empty space downtown with the plan of opening the city’s first gay dance club.
According to the late Jack Loenen, an original member of the Scarth Street Society, “As we were working, we discovered an old can of Carousel brand paint, with a drawing of a carousel horse on the label. And that was it! The Club Carousel was born.”
Featuring Top 40 hits from the late 1960s and early 1970s, including favorites such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Joy to the World (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog)” and “Lean on Me”, OVC’s upcoming Club Carousel concert is a homage to Club Carousel and its pioneering founders.
Tickets are selling fast – be sure to get yours soon!
Club Carousel logo
One Voice Chorus performed to a sold-out house at our holiday concert this past December. Now we’re at it again, paying a well-deserved tribute to pioneering members of the Scarth Street Society. The Scarth Street Society founded Club Carousel, Calgary’s first-ever gay dance club, in the late 60s. That was back when being gay was still illegal in Canada—not really all that long ago.
“With this concert, we aim to celebrate these gay and lesbian heroes who were building safe space for the queer community,” says OVC’s Artistic Director, Jane Perry. “They paved the way for community organizations like One Voice Chorus and I feel we owe them a debt of thanks. The choristers and I look forward to telling their collective story in music and in narration.”
Despite the enthusiasm and commitment of Club Carousel’s founders, discretion was essential. And since the Club was located on First Street SW, historically known as Scarth Street, they chose “Scarth Street Society” as the name of their group. But the members clung to their vision of welcoming as many people as possible.
With that vision in mind, OVC’s Club Carousel concert will feature a rendition of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend ”. This song reminds us that, while things are better for Calgary’s queer community, our struggle for acceptance and basic human rights is not yet over.
So, invite a friend or two of your own and snag some tickets to OVC’s upcoming concert in celebration of Club Carousel!
Just can't get enough of OVC's wonderful stuff?
Join us this weekend at Alberta's Choralfest 2015! OVC will be performing two crowd-pleasing favourites at this adjudicated, non-competitive festival for choirs. Tickets to the event are free -- simply show up and have a great time!
One Voice Chorus takes the stage at 12 noon on Saturday, March 7, at Knox United Church(506- 4 Street SW, Calgary). Audiences are encouraged to enjoy all that Choralfest has to offer over the entire weekend of song!
For more details, go to Alberta Choral Federation's website.
One Voice Chorus is at it again, and this time we’re celebrating our city’s gay history with a spectacular homage to Calgary’s first gay dance club, Club Carousel!
Back when being gay was still illegal in Canada, Club Carousel emerged out of the efforts of an organization of gays and lesbians called the Scarth Street Society. The club served as a beacon to all members and all genders of Calgary’s underground gay community. It provided a place to, in the words of its own them song, “be happy and gay.”
Sung to the tune of “It’s a Marshmallow World”, the theme song reminded Club Carousel’s patrons:
You can’t sing the blues
When you’re being cruised,
You’re lucky in a lot of ways.
Join us on March 28, 2015 for all your favorite Top 40 tunes from the ‘60s and ‘70s, including “Sweet Caroline”, “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”, and “Dance To The Music”. Special guest Kevin Allen, a local historian of Calgary’s gay community (Calgary Gay History Project), will share a glimpse into the life and times of Club Carousel and its patrons.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Two shows! 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm
Unitarian Church of Calgary
1703 - 1 Street NW, Calgary
There are four long weeks to wait to hear One Voice Chorus sing again. In the meantime, though, mark your calendars, order your tickets (and a few for your family and friends, too), and get a sneak preview of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”.
In this season of new beginnings, One Voice Chorus sings of hope for the future through the eyes of a newborn child in Anders Edenroth’s “The World for Christmas”. With lyrics inspired by the Christmas poem “ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, we sing this tender love song to the mindful custodians of our fragile planet.
The concert is tonight, so get your tickets now!
To whet your appetite for tonight's concert, get a preview of The Real Group performing what is sure to become a new holiday classic. This song reminds us to take better care of our planet so that our children, too, can one day enjoy its beauty: The World for Christmas.
Picture it: Jerusalem, 165 BCE. The Jews have finally succeeded in regaining control of their beloved Second Temple after two years of Hellenic domination. But in order to rehabilitate the defiled temple for worship, it must be thoroughly cleansed and rededicated. This includes burning the Temple’s menorah throughout the night, every night.
The problem? There was very little oil remaining that hadn’t been desecrated by the Greeks. But according to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, this little bit of oil lasted eight days and eight nights – the exact time needed to prepare a fresh supply.
In celebration of this miracle, celebrated today as Chanukah, One Voice Chorus is thrilled to perform composer Stephen Schwartz’s “We Are Lights”, reminding us that each of us “has a bit of ancient spark” and that we are, all of us, miracles, “lighting up the dark.”
One Voice Chorus brought down the house in our nation's capital this past May. Now we're back in Calgary, ready to knock the socks off the hometown crowd!
"I'm really proud of the way One Voice Chorus is growing and shining in its fourth season," says founding Artistic Director Jane Perry. "I can't wait for us to have a chance to show our fans what we've been up to!"
There's only one way to find out:
We're still ten days away from the concert, but for the time being, here's a preview of one of our favourites this time around. Composer Eric Whitacre conducts his own piece "The Seal Lullaby", performed by Junges Vkalensemble Hannover in Germany: view video.
One Voice Chorus, our city's one and only LGBTQ chorus, is at it again. This time, we're decking the hall and jingling our bells in what is sure to be Calgary's "gay"-est holiday concert!
Join us for music ranging from classics like “Away in a Manger” and “Carol of the Bells” to the wacky and wonderful. Can you imagine the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” set to Tchiakovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite?” Don’t even try; you’ll have to come to the concert to believe it!
Special guest, jazz vocalist Peter Cameron, will put his own spin on staples including “The Christmas Song” and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”
There are four long weeks to wait to hear us sing again. In the meantime, though, mark your calendars, order your tickets (and a few for your family and friends, too), and get a sneak preview of Ola Gjeilo’s arrangement of the traditional holiday classic “Away in a Manger”.
One Voice Chorus (OVC) shows its pride! OVC will be “out loud and proud” on the streets of Calgary as we celebrate at the Pride Calgary Parade on Sunday, August 31.
Fresh from our exhilarating national debut at the Ottawa Unison Festival, OVC plans to continue to spread the word about just how dynamic and colourful our choir can be!
See you at the Parade!
For more information about Calgary Pride, including the many events taking place during the week-long celebration, please see the Calgary Pride website.
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