Each month, Chorus America profiles one of our members in our Meet A Member interview series. To mark the season of giving, we often change things up a little bit for December by speaking with Chorus America donors. This year, we spoke to Hussein Janmohamed and Joan Szymko, the two composers donating compositions for Chorus America’s 2018 Commission Consortiums.
Alexander Lloyd Blake has plenty of jobs to keep himself busy.
Blake is the choir director for the LA County High School for the Arts, and principal assistant conductor of the National Children's Chorus’ Los Angeles ensemble. But that’s not all. “I'm an assistant conductor at First Congregational Church LA—that's a new one,” Blake recounts. “And I'm studying for my qualifying exams for my doctorate in choral conducting at USC.”
In an effort to renew our understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and challenges choral conductors encounter and how they affect the choral ecosystem, Chorus America undertook a new study, updating survey findings from a decade ago. The results highlight both important challenges and reasons to feel confident about the health of the profession.
This article is part of a series highlighting new choral repertoire that can be used by a wide range of choirs to address different community issues.
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.