New Members

A Guide to Getting Started with Qwire


Welcome to the Canberra Gay & Lesbian Qwire

We’re glad you’re considering joining us! What follows is some information to help you get to know us, and to make the best of your first few weeks.

We don’t expect you to sign up as a member on your first night, as you may prefer to check us out and get to know us over a few rehearsals before deciding if Qwire is for you — and we sincerely hope it is! We realise that people often find the first visit a little daunting or overwhelming due to the large number of people in the Qwire family. If you don’t feel entirely comfortable during your first visit, please come back again the following week. It gets easier with each visit — we promise! — and we will do our best to help you get to know everyone.

If you have any feedback from your first visit, please email our Secretary at secretary@canberraqwire.org.au

Who Are We?

The Qwire consists of approximately 80 members from all walks of life, ranging from late teens right through to the wiser generations, all drawn together by our common love of music and singing.

Qwire welcomes the diversity of sexual orientations, sex and gender identities, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer, Asexual, Pansexual as well as our straight allies.

We are a non-auditioned choir, meaning that people of varying skill levels and experience can come and develop their passion for singing. You can even learn a few new tips and tricks every week in rehearsal — not only vocal abilities and strength but also stagecraft and even some choreography, which we call Choralography.

Qwire celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2018 and we continue to grow in size, diversity and the quality of our performances. The Qwire is now highly regarded within the straight and queer community not only for our vocal strength and performances, but also for our relaxed and social atmosphere. We bring people together from diverse sections of the ACT queer community, allies and supporters to challenge stereotypes and, more importantly, build a bridge between the queer community and the non-queer community of Canberra through music.

We perform extensively within Canberra each year at various events, including our own concerts (1 or 2 each year) and social and remembrance functions held by other queer community groups (AIDS Candlelight Memorial, Fair Day). Some years we sing at major events such as Floriade, the National Folk Festival or the Canberra Show. We have also performed at venues such as the High Court of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, Parliament House and the British High Commission. Qwire performed extensively during the Marriage Equality campaign in 2017.

In May 2018 we travelled to Munich, Germany for the Various Voices European LGBTI* Choir Festival — the only choir from Australia amongst almost 3000 singers.

In October 2019, we will be welcoming choirs from Australia and New Zealand to Canberra for the ‘Out & Loud’ LGBTIQ+ Choral festival, which promises to be one of the highlights in the life of Qwire. It will run from 24-28 October. Check out the website www.outandloudcbr.org.au and register your interest to receive updates.

Prior to Out & Loud, our other major performance for 2019 will be at the High Court in August.

Your First Qwire Experience

On your first visit you’ll be met on arrival by our Secretary and Committee Members. You can find us by looking out for our colourful scarves! We’ll be available throughout the night.

The first thing we’ll help you with is finding a singing part. Qwire is divided into four singing parts: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass (from highest to lowest voice), with “first” (higher) and “second” (lower) parts within each part. The parts are not gendered, and you are welcome to sing in whichever you wish. If you’re unsure of which section is best for your voice, we’ll direct you to one of our music team who can help you decide.

Once you’ve chosen a part, we’ll introduce you to your part leader and other part members. They’ll help you to settle in and either share their music with you, or arrange for you to borrow music from our music librarian.

You'll find singing more enjoyable if you sing in the part most suited to your voice range, however we appreciate that voice dysphoria may make this difficult for some trans singers. We also appreciate that those whose voices are transitioning may wish to change parts during the year.

Rehearsals start at 7pm with a warm-up, then run through until 9pm with a short refreshment break half-way through. The break is a good time to meet new people - your committee and section members will introduce you around! Please help the music team by keeping chatter to a minimum at other times.

Afterward, a number of members head to Tilley’s around the corner for drinks. Feel free to come along.

Most importantly, have fun and we hope to see you back next week!

When is Qwire?

Rehearsals

  • Thursdays, 6.45 arrival for 7pm start, for weekly rehearsals at Lyneham Primary School (enter from Hall Street).
  • Ad-hoc sectional/special rehearsals. Special rehearsals are called as needed (usually once or twice a semester) by part leaders/music team especially in the run up to a performance.

Social & Special Events

  • Qwire Camp (likely in April, TBC.) We stay overnight together on a weekend at a Conference venue somewhere near Canberra to enjoy some social time together and some intensive rehearsal time).
  • Occasional Qwire social events such as karaoke, a fundraiser trivia night, picnics & going to plays together.
  • Before and after rehearsal each week, there’s a mob of us at Tilley’s.

Learning and Performing

We usually perform our music from memory. As a member you will receive your own music book to take home with you. You will also be provided with audio recordings of your part which you can listen to and sing along with in your own time.

While the learning curve is a bit steep at first (everything is new to new Qwire members), it does get easier with each passing week. Remember, Qwire is a non-auditioned Qwire, which means we have people singing with different abilities and experiences. Don’t be too concerned if you can’t hit a particular note or if you feel that you are having difficulty keeping up during weekly rehearsals. Your section leader will provide you with some tricks to make it all come together. Members are often surprised by what they are able to accomplish with the support they receive in the Qwire.

Your participation is the most important thing.

We encourage you to perform at various gigs held throughout the year and in particular at our major events when you feel ready. In order to ensure that we can give the best possible performance to the community, we generally expect members to attend 80% of rehearsals if they wish to perform at a particular gig. Of course we realise that members have family, social and work commitments, and there are always those holidays that must be taken to keep your sanity. If you are unable to attend 80% of rehearsals but feel that you are still ready to perform at an upcoming gig, we encourage you to have a chat to the Musical Director.

Membership

You will need to fill out a membership form to join Qwire. The form is available on our website or at rehearsals from our music librarian, Vicki, who you’ll see at the table on the left as you enter rehearsal. Fees are paid each semester (half-year). Once you pay your fees you can:

  • Be an official member of our fabulous group.
  • Receive all official communications through our website’s ‘members-only’ area. This area has part recordings of our repertoire which provides easy learning of your part for each song, thanks to our music group and especially to our Musical Director Karen Wilden.
  • Receive a music pack & perform with us.

Qwire Camp and special events or parties incur additional cost, but we will always give members ample notice as well as assisting where we can.

Our fees are as follows:

Full $130 per semester

Concession (low income) $80 per semester

Associate (sings at Community events, doesn’t attend rehearsals regularly or perform in concerts)    $30 per semester

Fees may be paid to the Treasurer in cash, or credit card via our website.

Payment Plans

We understand that not everybody in our community has the full membership fee to spare, and we want to make sure that we remain accessible to everybody. If payment is an issue, speak to our Treasurer, Lizzie Gordon, or email treasurer@canberraqwire.org.au.

Keeping up to date

We use our website www.canberraqwire.org.au to advise members of upcoming events, performances, special rehearsals, Camp and other information. We ask that our members check Qwire emails and the website weekly, and indicate their availability for the different events using the voting buttons. You’ll be given a login by our Treasurer to access the members-only area of the site once you’ve paid your membership fee.

All members are encouraged to spread the word about Qwire through social media. Like us on Facebook, ask your friends to like us and share our events: www.facebook.com/qwire

Follow us on twitter and re-tweet us: @CanberraQwire

Merchandise

We have Qwire t-shirts, mugs and Qwire CDs, which will be available from time to time at rehearsal from our Merchandise Officer, Gerard Clifton. You will need a Qwire t-shirt (black with our coloured notes logo) to perform at many of our community events. T-shirts cost $25, which is additional to membership fees.

Who’s Who?

Part Leaders

Your part leader should be your first point of contact for any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

Sopranos — Ann-Maree Bortoli

Altos — MAC Cosgrove

Tenors — Gerard Clifton

Basses — Trevar Chilver

Our Fabulous & Hard Working Music Team

The music team sets our creative direction, selects the songs we perform and leads our rehearsals and performances.

Musical Director — Karen Wilden

Accompanist — Jess Stewart

Our Committee

These are the people who keep the cogs turning behind the scenes.

Convenor — Dave Worner

Secretary — Chris Healy

Treasurer — Lizzie Gordon (see Lizzie about membership and other payments)

Music Librarian — Vicki Marsh

Event Manager — Yvonne Korn

Bookings Officer — Linda Uhlmann (see Linda if you have an event that you’d like Qwire to perform at)

Publicity Officer — Trevar Chilver

General Committee Member — Lauren Glina

Committee Helpers

Webmasters — MAC Cosgrove & Vicki Marsh

Social Media — Jenny Heald

Merchandise — Gerard Clifton

Social Events — Tracy Waterson

You can find photos and contact details for the above on the Qwire website.

Welcome to Qwire!

Updated: 13 February 2019