Three Festival Choruses

Festival delegates and members of the Halifax 2SLGBTQIA+ community and allies are invited to join one of three Festival Choruses (SATB, SSAA, TTBB) for Unison Festival 2023 in Halifax.

Each Festival Chorus will perform a set of 3 or 4 pieces, plus one of three new pieces commissioned especially for this festival. The Festival Choruses rehearse twice during the festival and perform at the closing concert on the last day of the festival. New for the 2023 festival: two online rehearsals are being scheduled prior to the festival, to help singers prepare for the live rehearsals at the festival. (See schedule below)

We have three amazing conductors for the Festival Choruses. Marg Stubington, from Ottawa, is conducting the SATB chorus; Deirdre Kellerman, also from Ottawa, is conducting the SSAA chorus; and Willi Zwozdesky, from Vancouver, is conducting the TTBB chorus.

The Festival Choruses have the honour of performing world premieres of three pieces commissioned by Unison to help raise awareness around the LGBT Purge in Canada. The three pieces (SATB, SSAA and TTBB) are inspired by stories told in the course of the LGBT Purge class action lawsuit and they shine a light on the tragedy and the toll of the LGBT Purge. Read more about the commission project

Sign up for a Festival Chorus

Festival chorus fee: $50
(fee includes a free rainbow tartan bandana or bow tie that will be part of the uniform for the closing concert)

To sign up:

  1. Create an account in Integra Planner and verify your email address.
  2. Log into Integra Planner again using this link: Integra Planner (Online Store).
  3. Select the Festival Chorus you want to join and pay the registration fee.

Singers in the SSAA and TTBB choruses are invited to join the SATB massed chorus to sing the SATB commission piece all together.

Deadline for cancelling Festival Chorus registration: March 31, 2023
Partial refund available up to March 31. Festival Chorus registrations can also be offered for sale in the Integra Marketplace.

Festival Chorus Conductors and Repertoire

Deirdre Kellerman
Ottawa, ON
SSAA Chorus


Crowded Table (Andrea Ramsay)Where the Light Begins (Susan Labarr)When I Rise Up (J. David Moore)Hushed Injustices (Unison commission, Leslie Arden)

Marg Stubington
Ottawa, ON
SATB Chorus


The Gift to Sing (Matthew Emery)À la claire fontaine (French-Cdn folksong / Stephen Smith)Kaleidoscope Heart (Sara Bareilles / Allison Girvan)Let the River Run (Carly Simon / Craig Hella Johnson)Before You Even Knew (Unison commission, Mark Sirett)

Willi Zwozdesky
Vancouver, BC
TTBB Chorus


Anthem (Leonard Cohen / Willi Zwozdesky)Un Canadien errant (Acadian folksong / Stephen Smith)Chosen Family (Rina Sawayama / Willi Zwozdesky)The Commanded Heart (Unison commission, D. Geoffrey Bell)


Festival Choruses Schedule

Online rehearsal #1 (Zoom)
Recording available

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Online rehearsal #2 (Zoom)

Sunday, March 26, 2023
3:00 pm PT / 6:00 pm ET (90 minutes)

Live rehearsals at Festival

Saturday, May 20, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm AT
Sunday, May 21, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm AT

Closing Concert

Monday, May 22, 11:00 am to 12:30 pm AT
Tech rehearsal starts at 9:30 am AT