Vijay Gupta is both a violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a dedicated advocate for the power of music to change lives and reconnect us to our shared humanity. In 2011, he founded Street Symphony, a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging musicians in performance and dialogue with marginalized communities of people experiencing poverty, homelessness and incarceration.
When you stop to think about the ways people sing together, the diversity is breathtaking. Just a partial list includes community, school, collegiate, and church choruses, as well as gospel choirs, barbershop groups, contemporary a cappella ensembles, men’s choruses, and special mission groups like threshold choirs.
In the wake of terrible events, choruses and choral leaders have found ways to be part of the response and healing process.
After serving as a guest conductor with the Seattle Women's Chorus (SWC), Wendy Moy became friends with Dennis Coleman, who served as the artistic director for all of SWC's 14 years, as well as 35 years with the Seattle Men's Chorus. Now the director of choral activities and music education at Connecticut College and co-artistic director of Chorosynthesis Singers, Wendy spoke with the man she calls one of her mentors in the wake of his retirement about his career and the future of the choral field.
An expert in audience development and diversification, Donna Walker-Kuhne has devoted her professional career to increasing access to the arts. In advance of her keynote plenary on “Dynamic Community Engagement” at Chorus America’s Conference in Cincinnati, she spoke with president and CEO Catherine Dehoney about how the conversation around community engagement has changed—and the opportunities this creates for choruses to “roll up their sleeves and dig in.”
As a graduate conducting student at Temple University in the 1980s, Diana V. Saez recalls being frustrated that there was no mention of Latin American composers—except for the famous composers Villalobos from Brazil and Ginastera from Argentina. When she moved to Washington DC, in 1990, she found a bustling choral music scene, with a wide variety of choruses. But Latin American music was not part of the standard repertoire.
How does a chorus's legacy continue after its visionary founder is no longer around? It takes the will of a community.
Choral music has a unique power to touch hearts and souls – but how can choruses leverage that power to impact their communities? These four stories provide some answers.
In preparation for publishing a series of community engagement case studies, we asked our members to share their own experiences with community engagement. The responses we received represent choruses of many types and sizes, from all over North America. They show the many different ways choruses are leveraging the power of choral music to impact their communities.
A powerful piece based on the dying words of African-American men killed in police encounters is an opportunity to reflect on universal issues of love, loss, and our shared humanity.