Remember how, on our last trip to Hanoi in May 2018, we met Thư from iSEE? And she said that if we brought our choir to Hanoi, iSEE would found a Diversity Choir to sing with us?
Here they are. Hợp xướng Đa dạng, or Diversity Choir, began less than a year ago, with a call-out to people across minority communities in November 2018, and then casting calls for over 200 people (iSEE had so many applicants they had to stop accepting them). From this, a choir of 70 people has grown into something quite remarkable.
Diversity Choir is open to different communities from the elderly to the young, people with disability, LGBTQI+ people, and ethnic minorities. Under the strong guidance of Hoàng Thị Thu Hường, iSEE's Deputy Director, and the passionate teaching of conductor Nguyễn Hải Yến, the choir is sounding great & being applauded across Vietnam.
Since forming in November, Diversity Choir has appeared on national television at least four times, being seen on TV and on social media by thousands of people, given concert performances at the Australian and Belgian embassies, and, we think it's safe to say, changed hearts and minds, and even lives, for the better. There's no other choir like it in Vietnam, and as far as we're aware, while there are new queer choruses springing up in other parts of South-east Asia, this is the first Diversity Choir in the region.
Like all ground-breaking projects, Diversity Choir has to work hard to demonstrate its worth to its community. iSEE has put a mammoth effort into fundraising to give the choir members the best opportunities possible. Our friends at GALA Choruses have created an opportunity for folk outside Vietnam to show their support for, and value of, Hanoi's Diversity Choir. Can you chip in? It doesn't matter how much.
If you know anything about the joy and power of singing, the experience of being a minority, or value the chance to help other people achieve opportunities that inspire them, please join us in showing that we're listening to the new music and powerful message singing its way forth from Hanoi.
International supporters, click here.
Vietnamese supporters, click here.
Photos: Diversity Choir's performance at the Belgian Embassy