A CONTENTIOUS gay choir that made national headlines after winning a Wagga championship in 1992 will return to the Riverina as a sign of changing times.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir (SGLC) will grace the city for the first time in 24 years after it was embroiled in controversy with organisers calling for the choir to rename in 1992.
At the time, the words “gay and lesbian” risked offending sponsors and children’s choirs competing, according to competition organisers.
SGLC president Neil Hendry said the choir recently received a “very warm and welcoming reception” when they put their out feelers for a Wagga return.
"The feedback we've had so far is a very enthusiastic one. It's really fantastic evidence that things have changed and are very much open and inviting now,” Mr Hendry said.
"There's a much broader realisation now that people deserve equal treatment. I think people are more understanding that everyone deserves a fair go.
"For us it's about coming down and actually sharing that LGBTIQ people are normal, have fun; they participate and add to the community.”
The organisation made the decision to return to the Riverina in attempts to “further their regional outreach” in areas “less visible” than the city suburbs.
“We want to reach out and help people in areas like Wagga where there's not necessarily a lot of visibility,” he said.
“It’s a moment to imagine how our future evolution will unfold.”
The choir returns as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations for a commemorative performance on Sunday, June 12 at the Riverina Conservatorium.
Music director Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith said the choir was looking forward to a Wagga return.
“We want to make sure LGBTIQ presence is more visible, using power of song to break down barriers and build new bridges,” she said.
“I know our original appearance helped forge new connections and encouraged the local LGBTIQ community to come together.”
The choir will be collaborating with Wagga choir Minor Details.
It will be directed by Marie-Cecile Henderson.