The Butterfly Music Transgender Chorus became one of the country’s first choirs reserved for transgender singers when it was founded last year in Boston. Now the choir has announced it will have be having its public debut on April 9th at First Church Boston, a Unitarian congregation. “In the beginning, it was exploratory,” said Sandi Hammond, the choir’s conductor and founder. “I think I underestimated the value of what we were doing.”
Many transgender men and women alter their voice either higher or deeper as they transition, in order to sound more like their prefered gender. Hammond, a Boston vocal teacher who isn’t transgender herself, has been encouraging the choir’s members to practice and embrace their new voices by incorporating speech training into weekly rehearsals. Instead of dividing singers into ranges such as alto or baritone, designations traditionally separated by gender, the singers are instead split into high, middle, and low voices and switch to different ranges as their voices change. For Laurie Wolfe, one of the first to join the choir, it only took a few weeks to learn to speak in a higher register. “It was a joy,” said Wolfe. “It was like I was hearing this woman that I might have been.”
Read the full story at The Associated Press.