On Monday, April 19th at 7:30 PM, join the Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen (and guests) as we explore the history of Calgary’s first lesbian and gay chorus, the Rocky Mountain Singers. This remembering event has been commissioned by One Voice Chorus as part of its new online programming series, OVC Talks: A Rainbow of Ideas.
The Rocky Mountain Singers (RMS), 1989-2002, became an important focus of artistic expression in Calgary’s LGBTQ2 community. In interviews with Kevin, past choristers expressed very fond and cherished memories of RMS. The chorus actively built and strengthened the LGBTQ2 community in Calgary and through their participation choristers created enduring friendships that have lasted into the present.
RMS had a well-known public presence and performed regularly; they were musical ambassadors for many gay community organizations including Calgary Pride. The chorus participated actively in the growing gay choral movement of the 1990s and represented both Calgary and Canada at national and international festivals. RMS paved the way for future LGBTQ2 choral organizations in the city, including the contemporary Calgary Men’s Chorus and One Voice Chorus.
Join us Monday, for an hour of conversation, archival footage, images and song, as we remember this historic and noteworthy organization. This event is free to attend. Be sure to RSVP through One Voice Chorus to receive a zoom link to join on April 19th. #OurPastMatters
2018 has been quite the year for the Calgary Gay History Project. A film. A book. A residency at the new Central Library. Thanks to Calgary readers, Our Past Matters hit the number two spot in the Calgary Herald’s best-sellers list this week.
As Historian in Residence at the New Central Library, I serve tea weekly (weakly?) on Thursdays from 5-6 PM in room 414-A on the 4th floor. Last night we had Lois Szabo discuss the origins of Club Carousel, Calgary’s first gay bar. Lois was one of the club’s founders in the late ’60s and has been an active member of the community ever since. She was chosen to be our Pride Parade Marshall in 2017.
Lois Szabo at the 2017 Pride Parade: Calgary Herald Photo
Next week, on Thursday, December 20th, we have local representatives from the el-Tawhid Juma Circle, Calgary’s inclusive mosque space also known as Unity Mosque. The queer affirming mosque space was founded in Toronto almost ten years ago and has since spread to other Canadian cities. Their mission is to be compassionate, inclusive, gender equal and LGBTQ affirming. Please join us for tea!
El-Tawhid Juma Circle Website
The library residency has proved to be very fruitful for research. I have been combing the pamphlet and clipping files in the library in the new Calgary’s Story section on the 4th floor.
For example, I discovered the story of Mark Perry-Schaub who was diagnosed with AIDS in July 1987 and subsequently lost his volunteer job with the Calgary ’88 Olympics Committee. He had been volunteering for three years prior to the diagnosis and fought publicly to be reinstated. He was successful in his fight and despite struggling with three successive bouts of pneumonia he was strong enough to work throughout the Games. He died two months later.
This week I met with three nieces of Everett Klippert whom I had not interviewed before. They shared stories of their Uncle Evie which were new to me, including a wedding with a woman whom he ran away from – the day before the wedding!
Last week, I interviewed Joey Sayer, who was instrumental in founding Lesbian and Gay Youth Calgary (LGYC) in the ’80s, as well as significant gay publications Modern Pink, and Alberta Gay & Lesbian Press (AGLP). Oral history interviews like these, are key sources for future stories on the Calgary Gay History Project website.
Kevin and Joey at the Historian In Residence Studio at the New Central Library