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.
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 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
This is Chris Fischer’s second season as Accompanist of the Rainbow Chorus. Chris is well known to audiences as a tenor, pianist, organist and conductor. Chris has been music director at Guelph’s Knox Presbyterian Church for the past 14 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). 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 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 – Ashley Cyr
Ashley rediscovered her love of choral music when she joined the Rainbow Chorus after a decade hiatus from formal singing after high school. In addition to singing in the car and shower, in her spare time Ashley enjoys walking her dog, running, and reading any book she can get her hands on.
Concert Production Director – Cheryl Murton
Cheryl has been with Rainbow Chorus for only a short while 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.
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 – A.J. Ashley
A.J. has been a member of the chorus for 7 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 theater. (Yes I always recommend at least one broadway tune per season!)
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 in November 1994. The chorus’ debut performance was at the Guelph AIDS Walk in Spring 1995. In the over 26 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.
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, 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: http://www.unisonfestivalunisson.ca/?lang=en Toronto 2002, Winnipeg 2010, Ottawa, 2014, Calgary 2018. Going to Halifax in 2022!
Music Directors past to present: John Tute, Rob Phillips, Robert Miller, Brenda Schneider, Heather Morris, Annetta Whetham, Alison MacNeill