Innovation

Berkshire Choral International's reopening approach and strategic shifts during COVID-19

SPONSORED STORY FROM A CHORUS AMERICA PARTNER

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Steve Smith was five months into his new job as president of Berkshire Choral International (BCI) with a mandate to reset and re-energize the summer program for a new generation of choral singers. COVID-19 then forced cancellation of all BCI live events for both 2020 and 2021. After a two-year gap of in-person programs, the summer of 2022 has seen a much-anticipated reopening. Chorus America checked in with Steve to see how the return is going and what lessons he and the organization have learned.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many choruses scrambled to create new virtual connections in an effort to stay engaged with their singers and supporters. Two years on, as singing in-person returns, choral organizations are making the time to reflect on what they’ve learned and to envision a virtual presence that makes sense for their long-term future.

This is a uniquely challenging time for the choral field, full of both hope and fatigue. For two years the ground has shifted constantly beneath our feet, leaving many feeling drained and apprehensive about the future. Yet this has also been a time of extraordinary creativity and innovation, and the reaffirmation of the value of choral music. We asked seven choral leaders to share how they are caring for their organizations, their singers, and themselves right now.

An Interview with InstantEncore's David Dombrosky

SPONSORED CONTENT FROM A CHORUS AMERICA PARTNER

Sometimes it takes a dramatic change in the environment for an innovation to take hold. That's the story of InsideGuide - a new platform for creating digital program books for concerts and events from arts technology company InstantEncore. Before COVID-19, there were several reasons that a digital program option could make sense for many arts organizations - including increased editing flexibility and lower shipping and printing costs, to name a couple. Then, adopting new safety measures and decreasing touch points became a priority for arts organizations, and this new driving force ultimately led InstantEncore to develop its new platform for digital programs.

David Dombrosky, InstantEncore's chief marketing officer, is right at home with choruses and the Chorus America community, just like he is with emerging technology platforms. A past Chorus America Conference speaker and former chorister himself, David has witnessed a great deal of evolution in technology over his career, and is knowledgeable about helping arts leaders overcome the challenges of adopting new tech - as well as realize the exciting upside of the benefits. David spoke with Chorus America about his own story with technology and the arts, and InstantEncore's new InsideGuide platform for creating digital programs.

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