Community Music Center to host “Trans and Singing: A Symposium for Voice Teachers and Singers” to encourage transgender voices to be strengthened and heard

SAN FRANCISCO, CA January 23, 2019 – New voices and new ideas are creating a first-of-its-kind transgender vocal symposium. The free symposium is set to take place on Saturday, February 23 at Community Music Center (CMC) in San Francisco. “Trans and Singing” is a day of presentations and discussion on transgender singing for voice teachers and singers of all genders and is hosted by the CMC Voice Department, New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, and funded by a CMC Partnership Grant.


This past fall, CMC, whose mission is musical access to all people regardless of income, launched New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, a mixed voice tuition-free choral ensemble for self-identified transgender, intersex, and genderqueer (TIGQ) singers. “Community Music Center’s intention is to create a great choral ensemble and to provide a safe, creative space for transgender, intersex and genderqueer singers to make music, learn, and create community together,” said CMC Executive Director Julie Rulyak Steinberg upon the launch of the pilot program.


This free chorus not only strives to create musical spaces for the San Francisco Bay Area TIGQ community, but also to encourage voices that have been silenced or shamed to grow and be heard. Made up of singers from beginners to professionals, the chorus performs music from diverse traditions, builds strong connections, and lifts up the TIGQ community’s strength and struggle through great choral singing.


“As a transgender singer and conductor, I have experienced first-hand the barriers that TIGQ face to musical participation,” said Reuben Zellman, Director of the New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, “Singers tend to be rigidly and often thoughtlessly sorted by sex. Yet TIGQ vocal stories are often more complex.”


The “Trans and Singing” symposium emerged out of similar needs as the NVBA TIGQ Chorus. The symposium seeks to educate CMC faculty, CMC students, and the Bay Area vocal community at large on TIGQ singing. The symposium re-examines the thinking and approaches on TIGQ singing in light of new information. The day-long symposium on transgender singing, will be followed by ten weeks of individual vocal instruction for NVBA choir members. The symposium features presentations, masterclasses, and demonstrations by experts in TIGQ vocal pedagogy and voice science, panel discussions with TIGQ performers, and an open rehearsal and community sing with NVBA TIGQ Chorus. Both the symposium and the NVBA vocal training will be offered as a service to the community, completely free of charge.  


“We feel TIGQ vocalism is an emerging field of study of great importance,” said Jonathan Smucker, CMC Voice Department Chair, “and are thrilled to bring it to light in the Bay Area. Through deepened understanding we hope to help create more safe spaces for TIGQ vocal expression, music making, and community building, bettering TIGQ people’s lives, and broadening musical perspectives in the field at large.”


Trans and Singing Symposium:

Trans and Singing: A Symposium for Voice Teachers and Singers

Hosted by Community Music Center Voice Department and New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus, and generously funded by Community Music Center and the Community Music Center Partnership Grant program

Saturday, February 23rd 

Community Music Center 

Concert Hall

544 Capp Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

Trans and Singing is a a day of presentations and discussion on transgender singing for voice teachers and singers of all genders.

Registration and meet and greet- 2:30-3pm

Symposium- 3-9:30pm

Admission is free, registration required


New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus: 


Available interviews: 

Reuben Zellman, New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus Director

Jonathan Smucker, CMC Voice Department Chair

Julie Rulyak Steinberg, CMC Executive Director


About Community Music Center:

Founded in 1921, San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC) is one of the oldest and largest community arts organizations on the West Coast. CMC makes high quality music accessible to all people, regardless of financial means. Last year, CMC awarded over $2 million in tuition assistance, serving more than 2,600 students of all ages, ethnicities and income levels with music lessons, classes and other programs. Thousands enjoyed performances at CMC and out in the community. Learn more about CMC at and follow the organization on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Anne C. Mitchell, Marketing Manager

415-647-6015 x175,


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