Even a short story has a beginning…
The Northwest Queer Chorus vision began when Landon Shimek attended the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) Quadrennial International Choral Festival in 2016. As he listened to choruses from around the world, a vision began to form of an American Queer Chorus. After two years of background work with Thor, Landon’s dream became a reality at the first rehearsal, September 18, 2018. NWQC is now a registered GALA chorus and we are making plans for our GALA premier at the 2020 Minneapolis Festival. To our knowledge, this is the first Queer-identified, Queer-named chorus in the Western Hemisphere.
Imagine: Radical Acceptance
As Queer-identifying people, each of us have felt the insecurity of being “the outsider.” As a chorus family we choose to be a place where all are accepted. And we recognize that this unconditional acceptance begins with a heart of forgiveness. In this world of sound bytes and clickbait which seek to pit us against each other, we choose instead a life where communication is valued over confrontation. We will hear your story and and your heart, even when you aren’t sure if your words are “correct”. We will share your journey. We will be a space where you are accepted for who you are while you are exploring who you want to be. We invite you to imagine living in this world of radical love and acceptance.
The Northwest Queer Chorus is committed to presenting high-quality concerts that encourage curiosity and communication between people of widely varied backgrounds.
Thor, Artistic Director
Thor began their performing career at age three. Since then they have produced and conducted more than 6,000 performances of 187 theatrical shows and events in 49 states and 17 foreign countries. They are internationally sought after as a choral clinician. Thor’s passion is to teach conductors how to get the best sounds out of their choir, while building a community of confident performers. Thor is known for rehearsals that are engaging, creative, and quick to pull excellence out any group. Thor is excited to share their new family with you—the vibrant, engaging community that is NWQC!
Landon Shimek, Executive Director
Landon began playing piano and guitar at age eight. He sang with the the Seattle Men’s Chorus for two years before moving to the Portland area and finding a new voice with the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus. Landon is known for his easy going personality and his love for people and his Queer community. As a trans man, Landon’s vision is to use musical excellence as a platform for positive interactions between Queer and non-Queer identified communities.
Vajra Bell, Principle accompanist
Vajra Bell’s first love was music. He holds a BA from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with dual-concentrations in com- position and classical piano. Immediately after graduation he fell passionately in love with the earth. After spending several years in Thailand, Vajra earned a master’s degree in environmental studies, founded an eco-friendly non-profit, and is currently a grant writer for Central City Concern. Vajra lives with his partner and their daughter, Sunray and Skye.