- Ottawa / Toronto 1991
Ottawa / Toronto 1991 • Sing!
Gordon Johnston, the founding conductor of Chœur gai d’Ottawa Gay Men’s Chorus, remembers that the first all-Canadian gathering of gay choirs took place in Ottawa. The gathering included “Ottawa Men’s Chorus, In Harmony, the guys from Calgary, and Vancouver Men’s Chorus,” with Willi Zwozdesky at the helm of Vancouver Men’s Chorus. It would be another seven years before the clan would gather again.
- Edmonton 1998
Edmonton 1998 • Canadian GALA Choruses Festival
The Unison Festival began in Edmonton in 1998. David Garber, then artistic director of Edmonton Vocal Minority, suggested a weekend choral festival to bring together Canadian LGBTQ2 choruses, who were not all able to attend the week-long GALA Choruses festivals that take place in the United States. The inaugural Canadian GALA Choruses Festival proved to be a resounding success, bringing together 15 choruses from across Canada, all eager to return for another festival.
- Toronto 2002
Toronto 2002 • Canadian GALA Choruses Festival
As with the Olympics and GALA Choruses festivals, the decision was made to hold the Unison Festival every four years and Toronto was chosen for the 2002 festival. The four-day festival was hosted by four local choruses: Forte The Toronto Men’s Chorus, IRIS The Toronto Women’s Chorus, Rainbow Voices of Toronto, and Singing Out! Lesbian and Gay Chorus of Toronto. With 18 choruses attending, the 2002 Toronto festival helped to establish Unison as a new tradition for Canadian LGBTQ2 choruses.
- Vancouver 2006
Vancouver 2006 • Canadian Unison Festival
In 2006, Vancouver was home to the Unison Festival, with artistic direction provided by local composer Willi Zwozdesky. Vancouver introduced the name “Unison Festival” for the 2006 festival. With the slogan ‘One Sound’, the 2006 festival saw the largest number of hosting choirs to date, welcoming over 500 delegates from over 15 choirs to the Chan Centre.
- Winnipeg 2010
Winnipeg 2010 • Unison Festival
Unison found its next home in Winnipeg for 2010. Hosted by Winnipeg’s Rainbow Harmony Project, all performances were held at the acoustically wonderful Knox United Church. Over 500 delegates from 15 choirs enjoyed the hospitality of Winnipeg’s LGBTQ2 community over four days full of beautiful song, engaging workshops, and memorable social events. During the 2010 festival, the decision was made to create a formal national Unison organization.
- Ottawa 2014
Ottawa 2014 • Unison Festival
Stories of the 2014 festival to come…
Share Your Memories
Unison is looking for past Unison Festival participants to share their memories of past festivals! Please, submit any memories or photos of past events here:
Space permitting, we will post them on the Unison Festival website. Please indicate in your email that you give permission for Unison to post your picture(s) on the its website.