About this Archive
Martin Brophy was born in 1954, the middle son of Irish immigrants who made a life in St Albans. His parents were always helping others, putting all of their five children through higher education and building a successful landscaping business. Martin trained and worked in hotel and catering, starting and running his own events catering company with his former wife Janice for over 25 years. They were married at 19 for 9 years and did not have children. In 1983 he met Mike Thorn an artist and they shared the next 20 years.
In 2005 he met and married Raphael Lennon, once equal marriage was passed. Martin has been an active supporter of the “Bears“ movement for bigger, hairy masculine gay men. He was a local activist for 15 years in Muswell Hill, London running successful local campaigns. In 1998 he joined the London Gay Men’s Chorus (LGMC) and was part of the leadership team for 7 years, becoming Chair after a few years. They established as a charity with premises, engaged their first paid Music Director and General Manager. Critically acclaimed performances around the UK, across Europe, USA and Australia. They started their own small group and developed many initiatives including semi-tones (non-singing members) friends and donors' group, to help grow our mission. In 2013 HM the Queen awarded Martin with an MBE for services to Music and our community. An honour which he shares with all those who over many years have volunteered creating music to fight for equal rights and to end homophobia.
Martin's other work has included:
• A leading member of the international Queer / LGBTQI+ choral movement: current President of Legato, 2018, the European Association of LGBTQ+ Choirs; former Board and President of Gala Choruses, 2013-2019, the International Association of LGBTQI+ Choirs and am the founding member of the Global Alliance of Queer Choirs – connecting and initiating choirs and choral associations across the world - Europe, Asia, Oceania, North and Latin America, so far!
• Founding Director of the first UK & Ireland Association of LGBT Choirs, Sing Out in 2000. They ran 6 annual weekends for music and choirs sharing. Sing out morphed into Proud Voices.
• Collaborated on Millennium Eve at the Dome for The Queen and PM; “Why I Sing” at the Roundhouse; Choir of Year competitions, touring and LGMC CD&DVD recordings.
• Collaborated with the Southbank Centre (SBC) 2006/7 on the new artistic vison.
• Led an amazing team to deliver the financially and artistically successful Various Voices Festival (VVL), London 2009. This revitalised LEGATO, reinventing the Various Voices Festival.
• Our VVL festival established the Southbank Chorus Weekend and Clore Sundays as a permanent feature. VVL became and remains the template for the SBC festivals.
• Collaborated with Sandi Toksvig on her wedding at SBC, the LGMC sang at.
• Extensive experience with the London and UK LGBTQI+ arts community, through London Pride arts, Euro and World Pride arts events.
• Advised on the Mayor of London’s LGBT+ Forum for 7 years.
• Advised on the London Olympics 2012 community engagement, Cultural Olympiad teams and with event producers Serious. Establishing performance opportunities for choirs and singers at many events, including London Live, West End Live, Big Gay Sing, Trafalgar Square, Cultural Olympiad and 2012 Olympic ceremonies opportunities.
• Trustee and Chair of Fruitvox 2006 supporting LGBT singing internationally. Collaborated on the creation of the Italian Cromatica LGBT+ Choirs Association.
• Created and toured with the European Queer Choir whose members live around Europe.
• Collaborator / organiser of the early - 'No to Hate Crime' events, Trafalgar Square and other vigils.
• Mentoring and advice to Voices Now, Round House, Proud Voices Festivals Brighton, Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Festivals in Dublin, Munich, Ottawa, Miami, Denver, Minneapolis.
• Collaborated on the revisioning of the Gala Choruses festival, USA
• Started Integra Planner 2008> to help planning and delivery of LGBTQI+ choirs festivals.
• Committee member on the Cultural Festival of the Gay Games Federation.
Scope and Content
Papers, recordings, publicity material, documents and ephemera collected by Martin Brophy, former Chair of the London Gay Men's Chorus and organiser of the Various Voices Festival. Includes CDs, photographs, t-shirts, concert programmes and souvenir brochures, sheet music, press cuttings, publicity flyers and leaflets, and personal papers regarding Brophy's work with the Chorus, including at Pride, the Hand in Hand Festival and GALA (Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Choruses) Festivals, and also his campaign against a Controlled Parking Zone in Muswell Hill and his receipt of an MBE, [1982-2020].