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 is 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 through concerts and community involvement. Rainbow Chorus is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that depends on financial supports from its members, sponsors and communities.
Our mission is to foster community and enjoyment and appreciation of choral music within our membership and in our surrounding communities through practice and performance. We enrich the lives of our members and audience by providing a mutually supportive and inclusive environment that promotes education, cultural enrichment, and LGBTQ+ pride.
- 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 other activities which support the above objectives.
Artistic Director – Alison MacNeill
Alison MacNeill became the Artistic Director of the Rainbow Chorus in 2018. Alison had been the chorus accompanist for over 15 seasons and her move to Artistic 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 joined the Rainbow Chorus as Accompanist (and sometimes Tenor) in 2018. They are well known to audiences as a tenor, pianist, organist and conductor. Chris has been music director at Guelph’s Knox Presbyterian Church since 2006, and is a long-time studio teacher, collaborative pianist, 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). They have 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 Members – 2022-2023
Co-Chair – A.J. Ashley
A.J. has been a member of the chorus for 9 years and a proud member of the Tenor section! Working in retail management, A.J. likes to escape the every day and enjoys the cottage life, all things food including a lot of cooking, baking, and most of all the theatre. (and always recommends at least one broadway tune per season!)
Co-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 sometimes cello or recorder to accompany the choir. Judy is a school chaplain at a K-12 independent school in the region. Her life these days includes singing, kayaking, creative arts, building community, a goofy golden retriever, whimsy, and travelling in her refurbished vintage camper with her partner Sarah who is a long-time alto member of the chorus.
Secretary – Cheryl Murton
Cheryl is in her third year with Rainbow Chorus and she is excited to have found such a wonderful community to sing with. Many years ago, Cheryl was involved in the production side of live theatre and singing with the Rainbow Chorus has reignited her love of performance. Cheryl works as a semi-retired Medical Laboratory Technologist. When not singing, her free time is spent enjoying many other creative endeavours, knitting and sewing, cooking (and eating), tending to her giant garden and long walks with the dog.
Treasurer – Crystal Chilvers
Fundraising – Sarah Brown
Sarah has sung with the Rainbow Chorus since January 2001. She cannot believe that she has had the good fortune to join this amazing group of people to sing at choral events in Toronto, Montreal, New York City, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Calgary! And amazing as all of these experiences has been, nothing beats singing for the hometown audience, with the highlight being the 25th anniversary concert at the River Run Centre. Sarah has a private Occupational Therapy practice and independent art studio. Sarah loves to join her choir buddies for sharing music, laughter and community.
Community, Outreach, and Production – Bobbie Belfry
Bobbie Belfry is an artist/educator who is once again delighted to be singing with this wonderful group of people! Bobbie worked in Toronto for many years, both in the theatre scene and as a sommelier in various top restaurants before becoming a high school educator. Now, fine art photography is her outlet of choice. Currently, she works on various forms of photography and has a consulting business where she delivers workshops for social enterprises attached to CAMH and the Yonge Street Mission.
Chorus Connections – Jasmine Jordan
Jasmine has been singing with the RCWW as a loyal alto since 2019. Coming from a whole family of choristers, she has been in many choirs since the age of five, but unfortunately her high school did not have one. After five years of choirless misery, she found and joined the RCWW last minute in her 2nd year at the University of Guelph and it was the best decision she EVER made! As she is finishing her undergraduate at UoG and soon entering a M.Sc there, Jasmine is excited to continue on and get more involved with the chorus that reconnected her with choir and made her feel completely at home from day one. When she is not studying microbiology or singing, Jasmine enjoys reading, painting her nails, watching tv, and petting her two cats.
Promotion – Emily Rutledge
Emily joined the Rainbow Chorus in February 2020 (right before the world shut down). She is an HR professional at an ad tech company, but can usually be found doing some sort of craft project in her spare time. Emily is so glad for the friendship and community she has found in the members of the Rainbow Chorus!
Rainbow Chorus Waterloo-Wellington formed in November 1994. The chorus’ debut performance was at the Guelph AIDS Walk in Spring 1995. In the over 28 years since its inception, the chorus has produced dozens of concerts and participated in community events and national and international festivals.
Some highlights include:
Concerts in Guelph, Cambridge, Waterloo, Kitchener, Mount Forest, Fergus, Grimsby and Dundas including a 25th Anniversary Concert for over 700 people at the River Run Centre in Guelph in January 2019. The first virtual concert was released in July 2021.
Community events: World AIDS Day vigils, Hate Crimes Vigils, Affirming Services at a variety of churches, Pride Events in Guelph, Kitchener, Hamilton, London and Toronto, Orangeville, community concerts with the Guelph Chamber Choir and other Guelph choirs, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) events, diversity events, weddings, funerals and more.
GALA Choruses Festival: www.galachoruses.org Montreal 2004
Carnegie Hall, New York 2006. When We No Longer Touch
Lincoln Centre, New York 2017. Tyler’s Suite
Unison Festivals: Toronto 2002, Winnipeg 2010, Ottawa, 2014, Calgary 2018. Going to Halifax in 2023!
Music Directors past to present: John Tute, Rob Phillips, Robert Miller, Brenda Schneider/Heather Morris, Annetta Whetham, Alison MacNeill