Who We Are
Rainbow Chorus Waterloo-Wellington is a community chorus that welcomes members of all genders, sexualities, and gender expressions – and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. We invite members from all levels of experience who enjoy singing a diverse repertoire of choral music, no audition required. We strive to create a supportive community for our members to join together in song and have fun. We promote inclusion and awareness of the LGBTQ+ communities of Waterloo-Wellington throughout concerts and community involvement. Rainbow Chorus is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that depends on financial supports from its members, sponsors and communities.
The Rainbow Chorus is composed of mutually supportive people who have joined together for the purpose of the performance of the choral arts including a diverse repertoire.
- To promote excellence in the study and practice of the choral arts for all members of our community
- To educate and increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of music and of the talents of members of our community through the study and public performance of a diverse repertoire
- To educate and bring appreciation of music to members of the public who may not have access to musical performances
- To engage in activities which are ancillary and incidental to the above objectives.
Music Director – Alison MacNeill
Alison MacNeill is in her second season as Music Director of the Rainbow Chorus. Alison has been the chorus accompanist for over 15 seasons and her move to Music Director in the 25th anniversary season was a perfect fit. Alison is a graduate of the University of Guelph and holds an Associate Diploma in Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto. After graduate work at the University of Western Ontario, studying with Ronald Turini, she returned to her hometown of Guelph, where she maintains a busy teaching studio. As Director of Music Ministry at Harcourt Memorial United Church, she manages a vibrant program of choirs and instrumentalists. Alison has accompanied many local choirs, including the University of Guelph Choir, the Guelph Youth Singers, the Elora Singers, and the Guelph Chamber Choir, appearing on their last three recordings.
Accompanist – Chris Fischer
Chris Fischer is in his second season as Accompanist of the Rainbow Chorus. He is well known to audiences as a tenor, pianist, organist and conductor. He has been music director at Guelph’s Knox Presbyterian Church for the past 13 years, and is a long-time studio teacher, accompanist and vocal coach. Chris holds degrees in vocal performance (Wilfrid Laurier University) and choral conducting (Arizona State University), as well as diplomas in piano (Conservatory Canada) and organ (Royal Canadian College of Organists). He has served as accompanist for several choirs and premiered the song cycle, “The Sex Lives of Vegetables,” by Jeff Enns in 2016. Chris was the tenor section leader of the Guelph Chamber Choir for 14 seasons, and has been a member of the Elora Singers since 2012.
Board of Directors
Chair – Judy Steers
Judy has been singing with the chorus since 2011 when she stumbled into a rehearsal and never left. She also plays drums and cello to accompany the choir. Judy works as a program animator at an interfaith/intercultural spiritual centre. Judy’s life these days includes singing, kayaking, creative arts, building community, a goofy golden retriever, whimsy, and refurbishing a new(old) camper with her partner Sarah who is a long-time alto member of the chorus.
Secretary – Geoffrey Metz
Geoffrey only recently returned to choral singing after a 20-year hiatus and has enjoyed finding his singing voice again. During his leisure time, Geoffrey enjoys getting outside for a hike or experimenting in the kitchen – fermenting various foods, baking bread, reviving old recipes, and generally using his friends as willing test subjects.
Treasurer – Kevin McDonald
Kevin has been associated with Rainbow Chorus in some capacity since May 2014, when he first attended a concert and was completely swept away by the wonderful music and sense of community. He was first a committed groupie, then a non-singing member; then he finally took the plunge to become a singing member in fall 2017. Singing with the chorus has been an amazing experience and he is now wishing to give back more as a board member. He is so appreciative of all the wonderful support and inclusion that happens within this amazing group. When not singing with the RCWW, his other gig is as a mediator for the RCMP. He was previously a military navigator and mediator for almost 30 years. He had just come out shortly before encountering the RCWW at the young age of 55, so his exposure to the Rainbow community has been largely in conjunction with his association with RCWW. He is so grateful for all those who have paved the way and look as this involvement with RCWW as his attempt to pay it back or perhaps to pay it forward.
Concert Production Director – Bonnie Lesky
Bonnie has been with RCWW since 2007 and is an alto. She’s also been Chair of the Board of Directors, as well as actively involved in Concert Production, Marketing and Artistic Production. Bonnie loves to sing and prior to joining RCWW, she was a member of the Metropolitan Community Church Choir in Toronto where she sang for several years, in addition to producing a couple of concerts. Bonnie works in television advertising and juggles her time between her work, her loving partner and family, and other activities.
External Relations Director – Rachael Lake
The External Relations Director works on liaising with the community and outside organizations. Beyond the choir, Rachael works as a lawyer in a Community Legal Clinic, practising disability and employment insurance law. Rachael is fiercely passionate about social justice, political engagement, knitting, and cats.
Fundraising Director – AJ Ashley
Internal Relations Director – Leah Sprague
Marketing Director, Vice Chair – Colleen Lichti
Colleen, an alto, has been part of the RCWW community since 2000. Her love of choral music grew out of singing 4-part harmony in church and continued with high school ensembles and beyond. Colleen’s volunteer roles with the chorus have ranged from button maker to Board Chair. RCWW has been a very important influence in her life, providing support, growth, amazing friends, and the joy of singing and performance. Colleen works in municipal recreation and her other loves include her family, camping, and playing hockey.
Rainbow Chorus Waterloo Wellington formed by four friends in November 1994, and had their performance debut at the Spring 1995 AIDS Walk. In the more than 20 years since forming, the chorus has put on concert productions, participated in community events and national and international festivals. Some of these accomplishments include:
- Hate Crimes Vigil at University of Guelph
- World AIDS Day vigils in Hamilton, Guelph & Kitchener
- Services at Guelph & Waterloo Unitarian Fellowships, Harcourt United (Guelph), Parkminster United (Waterloo) and St. James Anglican (Dundas)
- Songfests with the Guelph Chamber Choir at the River Run Centre
- Pride Concerts in Kitchener, Guelph, Hamilton, London and Toronto
- Proud to have obtained charitable status in 2000 and incorporation in 2005
- Canadian GALA debut, Toronto, June 2002
- International GALA debut in Montreal July 2004
- Carnegie Hall, New York. February 19, 2006
- Canadian Unison, Winnipeg 2010
- GSA High School Conference, Waterloo Regional District School Board, 2011, 2012 and Waterloo County School Board 2012
- 2 self-produced concerts per year in Guelph and another city in Waterloo-Wellington region