A church is packed with people watching a choir sing. The perspective is from the upper pews. The choir are performing on stage on the lower level in front of an organ. There is a screen in front of the organ. In black text, it says "Sing with Love" on top of a trans flag. The in "O" Love is the trans symbol. The choir is standing and the audience is sitting.
A packed house as audience members enjoy the "Sing with Love" concert at Edmonton's McDougall United Church. (Photograph courtesy of Graeme Climie)

Topics: UCC in Focus | Society

Choirs in Alberta came together to celebrate and support trans youth

The “Sing with Love” concert and rally was held in response to the province’s recent gender policies announcement


Within days of Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s announcement that proposed a suite of anti-transgender policies, Edmonton’s choral community sprang into action to support trans youth. 

The “Sing with Love” concert, at McDougall United, included a mass choir of 300 singers and performances by individual choirs, followed by a sing-in at Churchill Square, near Edmonton city hall.

Nearly 100 choirs from Edmonton and beyond were represented in the mass choir, filling the stage and its flanking balconies. Upwards of 700 people formed the audience at the church. 

Katy Luyk, executive director of the Korora Choir Association explains that when Smith’s announcement came down in February, she was frustrated and angry.

“I decided that the best response would be to sing about it,” she says. 

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Luyk began messaging friends and colleagues who had indicated on her Facebook post that they would help with a response. Within 24 hours, the idea went from “’what are we going to do?’ to ‘this is what we’re going to do’.” said Luyk.

Kimberley McMann, McDougall’s director of music, recalls that when Luyk contacted her for musical help and event space, “I said, ’Where do I sign?’”

“People deserve dignity,” McMann says. “They deserve to be acknowledged for who they are. And they need to know that they’re loved and supported.”

Once word went out on social media, the event took on a life of its own. After just one day, close to 100 singers had signed up to be part of the mass choir and things grew from there. 

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Chloe Burns joined the mass choir when she saw the event promoted on Instagram. She says the event “felt very comforting” in a week of news that was “shocking, upsetting and scary.”

During the march to Churchill square, the crowd spontaneously burst into song with  “Love Is Love Is Love Is Love” by Abbie Betinis, one of the songs performed by the mass choir.


Leslie Sinclair is a freelance journalist in Toronto

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