(NANM board members in 1941, Foster Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh. Pictured are Blanche K. Thompson, Josephine Inness, Henry L. Grant, Mary Cardwell Dawson, Clarence Hayden Wilson, and Florence B. Price. Photo credit: Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles "Teenie" Harris Archive)
A panel discussion at the 2019 Conference capped off Chorus America’s inaugural “Voices of Change” program—an effort to foster more collaboration and inclusiveness in the Philadelphia-area choral community and provide leaders with education on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Now the time has come to identify insights from this cohort that are relevant to choruses elsewhere. What might choral leaders expect when venturing into DEI discussions and attempting to build new connections in their choral communities? Voices of Change participants, facilitator Nicole Robinson, and Chorus America staff reflect on what was gained over the course of the year, as well as seeds planted that will take continued work to nurture.
Alexander Lloyd Blake is a conductor, vocal arranger, singer, and music activist in Los Angeles, and directs Tonality, a choral ensemble founded in 2016 that solely focuses on themed concerts on social justice.
The World Symposium on Choral Music is an eight-day festival held every three years, organized by the International Federation for Choral Music. The next symposium is scheduled for July 2020, to be hosted in Auckland, New Zealand. In anticipation of WSCM2020, symposium artistic director John Rosser, who also founded and directs the Auckland-based chamber choir Viva Voce, spoke with Chorus America about next year’s event and its theme, tangata whenua.
The Zamir Chorale of Boston is launching a new online resource intended to share the breadth and beauty of the repertoire that has been its specialty for 50 years. The chorale’s founder, Joshua Jacobson, explains why he believes choral music from Jewish traditions will be a welcome discovery for choruses of all kinds.
Aiming to foster a more welcoming and connected choral community in the city of our 2019 Conference, Chorus America has been bringing representatives of Philadelphia-area choruses together since last October for a series of workshops and online learning activities called “Voices of Change: Building a More Inclusive Choral Community.” Led by Nicole R. Robinson, a music educator and the founder of the consulting firm Cultural Connections by Design, the project is intended to support choruses in considering diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work and to explore strategies for increased communication and collaboration between different kinds of choruses.
How can choruses explore music from cultures other than their own in a respectful way? Rollo Dilworth’s research provides a framework for thinking about cultural appropriation and its intersection with choral music.
Last fall, Indiana University music professor, conductor, and composer Dominick DiOrio took a sabbatical to travel across the United States to observe a wide spectrum of professional vocal ensembles, from small to large and from nascent to established. After attending rehearsals and performances and meeting with artistic directors, executives, and singers, he was left with the sense that, at their core, these professional choruses have more in common with their community counterparts than he imagined.
Two leaders of very different choral organizations share their experiences with this programming focus.