After 40 years of working in London, Dragan Mirosavljevic has moved to Palma and wants to revive the famous choir and attract singers from across the whole multicultural spectrum in Mallorca. | Humphrey Carter

The famous Mallorca Gay Men’s Choir, which during its ten-year existence toured the world, including London, and won numerous awards but sadly in August was dissolved - another victim of the pandemic - is back.

The previous organisers tried to keep it going during lockdown with online rehearsals, but interest gradually dropped off. A few members returned home and as we emerged from the pandemic the choir was struggling to stay alive until the decision was taken to pull the curtain down on the show this summer.

However, the choir is about to rise from the ashes under the guidance of Dragan Mirosavljevic and music director, producer, choir and orchestra conductor, Joan Francisco Ballesteros.

Dragan, who is originally from Yugoslavia but spent 40 years working as a Housing Officer for Islington and Camden Council in London before retiring early to Mallorca four years ago, is the driving force behind reviving the choir.

“I was in fashion in Yugoslavia and went to London to further my studies in art and fashion, but the competition was so tough. It was really hard, so I found myself following a totally different career path and it was very interesting. Now I am embarking on a new chapter in my life.

“I have always loved music and singing and while I was in London I went to various singing schools. I even trained as an opera singer and was a member of various choirs and now I am here in Mallorca with time on my hands. I want to get the choir back on the road and musical director, producer and conductor, Joan Francisco Ballesteros, has offered his services free until we are in a position to start making some money,” Dragan said this week.

“This is not only a new chapter for me but for the choir. One thing I want to make quite clear is that it is all inclusive, it’s about singing not people’s sexuality. We want to eventually get at least 30 choir members together from all the various different communities, nationalities and cultures on the island to be able to celebrate Mallorca’s great multicultural society through song and music,” he explained.

“All men who are willing to support the goals and beliefs of the choir are welcome: joy and love of music and singing, promotion of equality and tolerance towards the LGBT community; support for Pride Days and events to support the fight against AIDS. In the past, the choir has supported the work of Fundació Santo Joan de Deu and SOS Mamas and we would like to continue this work.” And that is one of the reasons why Joan wanted to get involved.

“I am always looking for new and exciting musical challenges and experiences and I thought by helping the choir I could also help continue breaking down the barriers we still have in society and give them and others more of a voice,” Joan told the Bulletin.

Since its foundation, the choir has given more than 60 national and international concerts. Among the most memorable have been at Cadogan Hall in the heart of Chelsea, at Theatre Victoria in Barcelona, Son Amar Performing Art Theatre in Mallorca, at the Teatre Principal in Palma, and Kulturzentrum Gasteig (Munich).

It has participated in the organisation of two European LGBTQ+ choir festivals in Palma. What all these performances have in common was the enthusiasm that spread from the choir singers to the audience, who danced, sang and cheered with the music.

The Mallorcan Gay Men’s Choir is especially proud of the awards received during its career, such as El Siurell Rosa Ben Amics 2015 and the nomination for the Mar Cambrolle 2022 Award from Balears Diversia for its special services to the LGBT community.

“For this restart, we have succeeded in getting a well-known and renowned conductor and musical director: Joan Ballesteros. Joan is an experienced choir and orchestra conductor, pianist, composer and music producer. He has led numerous national and international choirs, including the Jacobs Kammarkör in Stockholm (Sweden), managed the Gospel Experience Project, an international network of choirs in 25 cities and three countries.

In Mallorca, he was a university specialist in choral conducting at the University of the Balearic Islands and headed the choirs Jove dels Illes Balears, Eufòria Ensemble Mallorca, the band La Simfònica de Llevant, the choir La Voix de I’Âme and currently the Felanitx Chamber Choir, so we are proud and happy to have Joan with us,” said Dragan.

The first auditions for those wishing to join the choir start in November and Dragan is looking to put together a choir of at least 30 singers, although Joan said he is hoping to bring together as many as 60. This said, they both expect the project of reviving the choir to take a year.

“We will probably eventually have some free soft concerts to see how we are doing as a choir and how the public respond before we go for the real relaunch,” Dragan said.

Joan, who intends to hold two auditions and rehearsals a month, explained that the music is going to be a mixture of modern pop, jazz and gospel, mostly well-known songs, but there will be a few surprises in order to make the performances more exciting and interesting for the audience.

“Apart from the musical side of the project, I think it has a very important social role to play and we want to create a powerful choir which will perform songs that people love, know and will enjoy,” Joan added.

Dragan said that there are already five members of the choir, two of whom are English, but he wants the choir to spread its wings much more and welcome people of all nationalities.

Most of the songs will be sung in English, although there will be numbers in Spanish and Catalan, especially any popular Spanish songs, so that we can cater for all tastes on this wonderful island of so many nationalities and languages, which I think will help to make the choir much more exciting and attractive,” Dragan said.

“So, if you enjoy singing and would like to give it a go, join us on November 5 at our fun and carefree singalong.

“From 4pm, the Mallorca Gay Men’s Choir will welcome friends of singing. Sing with us and let yourself be immersed in our enthusiasm and love for music. And if you feel like it, join us and become a member of a community for music, singing and tolerance.

“The open day will be until 7pm at Carrer del Canonge Antoni Sancho 1, Son Cladera, 7009 Palma.
“We are looking forward to seeing you at our singalong! And while we are self-funding for the time being, a nominal membership fee will be charged while we search for a sponsor, which would be ideal to help us more forward,” Dragan said.
For those interested in joining the new choir contact Dragan: 657 801 477 for English speakers and for Catalan/Spanish: Jaume Font Mach 639 719 685.