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 2SLGBTQIA+ 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 2SLGBTQIA+ 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 2SLGBTQIA+ 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 (she/her) was named Artistic Director of the Rainbow Chorus in 2018. Her deep connection with the choir, spanning 15 seasons as collaborative pianist, made her the ideal choice to spearhead its 25th anniversary celebrations, which culminated in a sold-out performance at the River Run Centre.
This past May, 2023, she was thrilled to lead the choir in an inspiring performance at the Unison Choral Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and she looks forward to an exciting 30th anniversary season for the chorus this year.
Alison’s passion for choral music was forged in high school and at the University of Guelph where she sang in and accompanied the choirs. After graduate studies in theory and piano performance at Western University, she returned to her hometown, to become an integral part of the music scene. Her versatility has shone through her collaboration with numerous choirs: the University of Guelph Choirs, Guelph Youth Singers, and Elora Singers, to name a few. She has been for many years, the collaborative pianist for the Guelph Chamber Choir and is featured on several of their recordings.
In the vibrant musical landscape of Guelph, Alison’s dedication to performance and community engagement is evident. She is Director of Music and Fine Arts Ministry at Harcourt United Church, and leads two local community choirs, the Village Singers and the Lightshine Singers. She collaborates with area musicians whenever she can, believing in the power of music to transform lives and bring people together. Her work resonates with emotion, joy, precision, and her deep-rooted love for music and community.
Accompanist – Chris Fischer
Chris Fischer (they/them) joined the Rainbow Chorus as collaborative pianist (and sometimes tenor) in 2018. They are well known to local audiences as a tenor soloist, organist and conductor. Chris is the Director of Music at First-St. Andrew’s United Church, London, Ontario (an affirming congregation), and has been a teacher of voice and piano for more than 30 years. They hold 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).
Chris was the tenor section leader of the Guelph Chamber Choir for 14 seasons, and has been a member of the professional Juno- and Grammy-nominated Elora Singers since 2012.
Board Members – 2023-2024
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
Crystal is a high school educator and mother of twins who joined the Rainbow Chorus of Waterloo Wellington in 2001 and has been entertaining us since then. A bit of a choir class clown (though she does have some competition) with an impressive range spanning soprano to tenor, Crystal can be found on stage with the sopranos hitting all our high notes. When not on stage sharing her love of music with us, she spends her days sharing the magic of mathematics with her students, and spending time with her friends and family.
Fundraising – Valerie Walker
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 – Ken McRory
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