Gay Abandon is West Yorkshire’s prominent LGBT+ choir, having sung together for over 20 years under the leadership of Musical Director Jane Edwardson.
While we take pride in our singing and performing, the real joy of being a part of the choir is the friendly atmosphere and camaraderie built around our common joy of singing, with our aim to bring people together from all walks of life and sing. We welcome any members of the LGBT+ community who share this joy and want to be a part of it, with details of how to sing with us on our Join Us page.
The choir was started in 1997 by Jane Edwardson and David Burnett, with our first rehearsal being at Blayds Bar in the centre of Leeds. Over 20 years after and we still have members who attended that first rehearsal, though we now sing at Swarthmore Education Centre and have performed nationally and internationally at concerts in Manchester, Birmingham, London, Berlin, and Paris (to name a few!). We’re still a Yorkshire choir at heart, and our favourite performances are actually those that we do locally, including an annual concert we organise ourselves.
The last 20 years have been really special for all of us who have sung in the choir, having made friends with other choirs such as Sang&Klang:Los! (Dortmund, Germany), the Pink Singers (London), Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus (Manchester), and Deep C Divas (Yorkshire), and sung with celebrities such as Will Young and Lulu. Let’s see what the next 20 years have in store!
Jane Edwardson has been the Musical Director of Gay Abandon since we started singing together in 1997. After moving to Leeds and finding no LGB choir here (or anywhere else in the North of England), she decided to set one up herself!
Her first experience of conducting and arranging came about by accident whilst singing as a member of the Sheffield Socialist Choir. Jane studied choral arranging at Leeds College of Music, and has produced many arrangements enjoyed by choirs around the UK and beyond. Her published arrangements can be viewed on Choir Community and Sheet Music Plus. She trained in choral conducting and music direction with Sing for Pleasure, and is noted for her ability and skill in establishing rapport with both singers and audiences. She is a recipient of the John Coates Memorial Baton and the Love Arts Festival Judges Choice Award.
As well as conducting Gay Abandon, Jane used to be musical director of the lesbian a cappella group Deep C Divas, and in 2002 she conducted them in concert at the Sydney Opera House.