Deadline:  March 15, 2021
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Unison Choruses Canada

Unison Choruses Canada (“Unison”) is a federal not-for-profit corporation and registered charity. Unison incorporated on January 21, 2011 and received charitable status on February 27, 2013. The organization is managed by a Board of Directors with representatives from across Canada.

Unison operates as a national hub for Canadian 2SLGBTQIA+ choirs and facilitates connections between choirs across the country. These choirs provide a valuable safe space within their own community for 2SLGBTQIA+ singers and allies, and also act as advocates and ambassadors for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, raising awareness of 2SLGBTQIA+ issues in the broader community and championing acceptance, diversity and inclusion.

Unison also oversees the organization of a national choral festival every four years. The Unison Festival brings together over 600 singers, conductors and choral fans, and presents amazing choral talent to thousands of audience members from across the country.

The next Unison Festival is scheduled for June 30 to July 3, 2022 in Halifax/K’jipuktuk, Nova Scotia. The festival is being hosted by two choirs, The Women Next Door and the Halifax Gay Men’s Chorus. The theme for the festival is Open Harbour / Havre Ouvert. This theme represents the city and the festival in a few different ways. It describes Halifax Harbour, which is naturally deep, wide and ice-free – literally “open” all year round. The theme also highlights the diversity of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Halifax /K’jipuktuk and the city’s role as a hub for the region, hosting the largest Pride festival east of Montreal.

Choral Commission Project

Unison has applied for and received funding from the LGBT Purge Fund to commission three new choral works (SSAA, SATB and TTBB) to be premiered at the 2022 Unison Festival in Halifax/K’jipuktuk. People from all across Canada were deeply affected by the LGBT Purge. The Halifax/K’jipuktuk region has particularly deep ties to the LGBT Purge due to the concentration of Armed Forces in the region.

This commission project provides a unique opportunity to create something very special for the 2022 Unison Festival, while shining a spotlight on the LGBT Purge and its impact on Canadian 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and offering comfort to victims of the LGBT Purge. The new pieces will be performed on the final day of the festival by the three festival mass choruses.

These new choral works will have a life well beyond the Unison Festival. They will most certainly be learned and sung by community choirs in all parts of Canada and quite likely beyond national borders. They may be used to mark future events related to the LGBT Purge, for instance the launch of a new National Monument or the opening of exhibits at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and elsewhere. All measures memorializing the LGBT Purge are required to have a strong foundation in artistic representation. The creation of these original pieces will provide that critical component for events.

To find out more about the LGBT Purge, please visit, and to find more about the LGBT Purge Fund, please visit

Criteria for the commissioned works

Three pieces are being commissioned, each with different voicing: SSAA, SATB and TTBB. The three pieces may be written by three different composers, or a single composer may write more than one piece.

The commissioned works may be packaged as a suite of pieces that can be performed separately.

The commissioned works must be original compositions.

Length: 3-5 minutes per piece
Voicing: SATB, SSAA and TTBB; no divisi
Accompaniment: Piano required; additional instrumentation optional
Difficulty: Easy to moderate, suitable for a massed choir
Theme: Memorializing the LGBT Purge and its impact
Lyrics: Original lyrics or existing text with written permission to use the text;
Bilingual (English & French) at a minimum, with linguistic plurality optional

Commissioning Fee

The fee for each commissioned work will be based on the length of the piece and the experience of the composer. The range for the fee is between $500 and $750 per minute.

The composer is responsible for providing a legible score that can be reproduced. Unison Choruses Canada will be responsible for copying and reproduction expenses.


Deadline for proposals:  March 15, 2021
Announcement of winning proposals:  April 15, 2021

Progress check-in #1: June 30, 2021
Progress check-in #2: October 31, 2021

Delivery of completed pieces: December 31, 2021


Composers submitting a proposal must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Canadian residency
  • Connection to the Canadian choral community
  • Relationship to the Canadian 2SLGBTQIA+ community

Elements of Proposal

Composers may submit a proposal for one, two, or all three of the pieces. If the proposal is for more than one of the pieces, each piece must be suitable for stand-alone performance.

Proposals must include the following elements:

  • Description of the proposed piece(s)
    • Voicing (SATB, SSAA or TTBB)
    • Length (minimum 3 minutes; maximum 5 minutes)
    • Accompaniment (piano required)
    • Theme
    • How the piece memorializes the LGBT Purge
  • Information about the proposed lyrics
    • Authorship (composer’s original text or text by another writer)
    • For text by another writer, written permission to use the text and its source
    • For original text, a summary or outline of the text
    • How bilingualism or linguistic plurality will be incorporated
    • How cultural diversity will be reflected
  • Short biography of the composer
  • Samples of previous choral compositions with text

The proposal should be no more than two pages in length, excluding the composer’s biography and portfolio.

Submission of Proposals

Proposals must be submitted in PDF format by e-mail to: no later than March 15, 2021.

Evaluation Criteria

The proposals will be evaluated by a three-person jury from the Canadian 2SLGBTQIA+ choral community, appointed by the Unison Board of Directors.