Our colleagues at GALA Choruses have designed a new workbook to help explore issues of equity, access, and belonging.
by Alysia Lee and Diana Sáez
It’s no secret that these have been difficult times for choruses and choral music educators lately. It’s why, as board members of Chorus America, we are delighted to share some wonderful news – the launch of Chorus America’s Music Education Partnership Grants. This new funding partnership will be awarding over $900,000 this grants cycle to support collaborations between community organizations and elementary, middle, or junior high schools during the 2022-23 school year.
The closing plenary at the 2021 Chorus America Summer Conference, a panel discussion titled Personal Journeys, Collective Change, centered on Black voices in the choral community. The plenary served as a follow-up to a similar event at the 2020 gathering during which longtime African American choral leaders reflected on their careers and experiences. This year, representatives of a younger generation described the paths they have followed in choral music and where they find themselves today.
A Letter from Catherine Dehoney
President and CEO, Chorus America
Dear choral colleagues,
I spent election night watching a movie to keep anxiety at bay, with brief breaks to check on the news. Every update on the vote count felt like another confirmation of the division present in our country and the uncertainty we all face. At one point, my husband Bill turned to me with a tired sigh and said, “Choruses are great, but I don’t think you can sing your way out of this.”
As this article is published, votes are still being counted in the 2020 United States general election - though for months now, the choral field has been using the power of our art to encourage the public to make their voices heard in this much-anticipated event. Our Chorus Impact Study has consistently found that choristers exhibit remarkably high levels of civic leadership, and the projects of these choruses and composers certainly live up to those research findings.
“Awake! Awake! Ye sisters all,” is the opening line to the “Suffrage Marching Song,” by Fanny Connable and Florence Livingston Lent, composed in 1914 to benefit the Equal Suffrage Cause. Like many political movements, the suffrage movement was inherently linked with music, making the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification a natural programmatic theme. Choruses across the U.S. are honoring this anniversary with new events and commissions featuring women’s voices, including premieres happening this weekend.
In the Summer 2020 issue of Chorus America's magazine, the Voice, we published a number of special features that highlighted the choral community's response in the wake of COVID-19. Among countless affected performances during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic were eagerly anticipated world premieres—works such as Damien Geter’s African American Requiem with Portland, Oregon’s Resonance Ensemble (for more, see Secular Requiems) that explore timely and meaningful topics and involve collaborations, often spanning long periods, distances, or both. We asked several choruses about their premieres that were put on hold and their developing plans to find a way to share these new pieces of music with the world.
SPONSORED CONTENT FROM A CHORUS AMERICA PARTNER
In the upcoming season, The Washington Chorus (TWC) looks not only to meet the challenge of planning in a world dealing with COVID-19, but to do so while welcoming a new incoming artistic director. Eugene Rogers, who takes the artistic helm of TWC while continuing in his role as director of choral activities at the University of Michigan, shared his thoughts with Chorus America on the unique challenges and opportunities ahead for him, his new ensemble, and the choral community.