Brittany Mielnichuk is the artistic director of the Rainbow Harmony Project (RHP), Winnipeg’s LGBTQ2 * community choir. Recently, she was nominated for an award from the Manitoba LGBT * Chamber of Commerce as “an individual who makes a significant contribution to LGBTQ2 * communities in Manitoba”.
Mielnichuk joined RHP in 2017 as Deputy Director of Justin Odwak, fulfilling a few goals.
“Leading a community choir was one of my goals from a young age. I have also always had an interest in social justice issues. When RHP was looking for an assistant manager, it was the perfect time to combine these two things in my life, ”she said.
Mielnichuk took over during RHP’s transition years. Having gained a footprint in the music community, an increased number of non-LGBTQ2 * members were signing up to sing in the unauditioned choir. It was feared that the repertoire of songs with its militant message would be lost.
What was invaluable to the choir during Mielnichuk’s apprenticeship year was the way they spent it listening to the members, maintaining the unity of the choir.
“I would honestly say that my main strategy is to treat everyone with respect … and to provide opportunities for community development,” she said. “I immersed myself not only in the music, but also in the work of the board of directors and the committees so that I could understand the background of the choir.”
Thanks to his solid musical background, the choristers feel reassured under the direction of Mielnichuk. Impressed by her firm and understanding leadership, the choir did their best, resulting in a musical sound that went up a notch.
RHP President Karyn Kumhyr is enthusiastic in her appreciation of Mielnichuk’s multiple talents, particularly apparent during the pandemic.
“She didn’t just guide the choir musically, she applied for grants, she was our audio mixer, she worked on video, she did graphic design,” Kumhyr said.
Kumhyr watched the director help build the LGBTQ2 * community, offering workshops to members.
“Most importantly, she has been a key person in raising awareness in the community. She recognized early in the pandemic that RHP is not just about music. It is also about serving the marginalized community to which we belong.” , Kumhyr said.
Last year, the choir pivoted to a digital platform. Thanks to the expertise of its ranks and under the direction of Mielnichuk, a successful concert was broadcast live on YouTube.
A small house concert entitled Queer as folk will take place on December 4th at Immanuel United Church. As a gesture of welcome, the affirming congregation painted a rainbow on a church wall where the choir members practice weekly.
Tickets will be available from RHP members and the concert will also be broadcast live.
Listen to my podcast, Epilogue under AM Communications on SoundCloud, LinkedIn and all my social networks for more information on this story and RHP events.
Armande Bourgeois Martine is correspondent for Crescentwood. Contact her at email@example.com