Chelsea Johnson (above photo right) of Vancouver's Old Soul Rebel will host Symphonic Pride and perform with band mate Lola Whyte (right) in the virtual concert.
Chelsea Johnson (above photo right) of Vancouver's Old Soul Rebel will host Symphonic Pride and perform with band mate Lola Whyte (right) in the virtual concert.

The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Pride Society are joining forces to present Symphonic PRIDE, a virtual concert performance celebrating Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) LGBTQ performers, composers, and dancers on stage with members of the Symphony.

Curated by VSO Assistant Conductor Andrew Crust, Symphonic Pride will be hosted by Chelsea Johnson, one half of the rock duo Old Soul Rebel with music from ABBA, Lizzo, The Righteous Brothers, Nina Simone, and Schubert. The concert will also include a brief history of queer musicians in a medley featuring music from Handel to Freddie Mercury to Janelle MonĂ¡e.

“This will be a celebration that highlights queer musicians and allies throughout history, many of whom were forced to hide their true nature during their lifetimes, and also celebrate BIPOC LGBTQ artists, who for far too long have been underrepresented or excluded from our stages,” says Crust in a media release. “These two themes come together perfectly in Symphonic PRIDE. I have invited some of the most creative and daring artists in Vancouver to come and share the stage with the exceptional musicians of the Vancouver Symphony. It’s going to be a great night of music and art.”

Vancouver-based multidisciplinary non-binary drag performance collective The Darlings are among the performers at this year's Symphonic Pride.
Vancouver-based multidisciplinary non-binary drag performance collective The Darlings are among the performers at this year’s Symphonic Pride.

Scheduled performances include Old Soul Rebel, non-binary drag performers The Darlings, poet Rabbit Richards, and Canadian-Filipinx performance artist and choreographer Ralph Escamillan. They will be joined by local LGBTQ artists and members of the VSO.

“We are thrilled to partner for the second time with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra,” says Pride Society executive director Andrea Arnot. “When COVID-19 put our originally scheduled June live concert on hold, I invited the VSO to consider creating a virtual version of Symphonic Pride. I’m thrilled that Andrew and the team at the VSO have created a show that highlights the intersectionality of the most fantastic artists in our city today.”

To be filmed at The Cultch’s Historic Theatre in East Vancouver, the free concert will live-stream on the VSO and VPS social media channels on July 31 at 7:00 pm. Visit vancouversymphony.ca for more information.