“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.
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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.
Chorus America is excited to be a community partner of a newly-launched initiative, The Choral Commons, founded by University of San Diego director of choral studies Emilie Amrein and Boston University professor of music André de Quadros.
Music’s prominence in the sacred sphere has shaped some of the most enduring genres of choral music in Western culture, such as the requiem mass. For more than a century, composers have found resonance in the requiem outside its traditional religious framework — a resonance that has acquired new intensity in recent years. Here is a look at four American composers of today who have adapted the idea of the sacred requiem to secular expressions that commemorate loss and encourage healing. Their music responds to a wide spectrum of inspirations—and perhaps has even more relevance in a world coping with suffering and loss in a new way.
Several choral music organizations find themselves seeking or transitioning to new artistic leaders at a time when shifting circumstances call on them to consider challenging new directions, not the least of which is the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of these challenges, what are choruses in transition thinking about the kind of leadership they need? How do they manage to find it? How will they and their new artistic directors define and achieve success next season, not to mention seasons beyond?
Nina Simon’s work as an author, change leader, and activist is all about creating more open, generous, community-focused organizations. She is the founder and CEO of OF/BY/FOR ALL, a nonprofit organization that provides tools to help civic and cultural organizations matter more to more people. Today, over 50 organizations are using the OF/BY/FOR ALL framework to build relationships, relevance, and impact in their communities.
These days, news from the U.S.-Mexico border is fraught with tension. Increased U.S. restrictions on asylum-seekers have left hundreds of migrants from Central America and elsewhere stranded on the Mexican side of the border, and relations between the two countries have been strained. In response, various cultural and human rights groups are reaching across the border to help stranded migrants and to reinforce the historic bonds between the two countries. Among them are a handful of choral music organizations, including two choral initiatives centered on the San Diego-Tijuana border region.
Chorus America has announced the recipients of its 2020 awards program, recognizing a broad range of achievements in choral music, including artistic excellence, adventurous programming, innovative education programs, and lifetime service to the choral art.
As diversity, equity, and inclusion have increasingly come to the forefront for so many classical music organizations today, there’s a forum that has become a leading space in DEI conversations for the past five years: SphinxConnect.