Leadership

This is a uniquely challenging time for the choral field, full of both hope and fatigue. For two years the ground has shifted constantly beneath our feet, leaving many feeling drained and apprehensive about the future. Yet this has also been a time of extraordinary creativity and innovation, and the reaffirmation of the value of choral music. We asked seven choral leaders to share how they are caring for their organizations, their singers, and themselves right now.

An artist, arts educator, teaching artist, policymaker, and philanthropist, Alysia Lee has a broad perspective on the arts ecosystem. As the founder and artistic director of Sister Cities Girlchoir and as the inaugural president for the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund (a position she began in early 2022), she works to advance access, equity, and decolonization—always with a focus on youth, anti-racism, creativity, and justice.

A Conversation with Maria Ellis, Reginald Mobley, Zanaida Robles, and Anthony Trecek-King

The closing plenary at the 2021 Chorus America Summer Conference, a panel discussion titled Personal Journeys, Collective Change, centered on Black voices in the choral community. The plenary served as a follow-up to a similar event at the 2020 gathering during which longtime African American choral leaders reflected on their careers and experiences. This year, representatives of a younger generation described the paths they have followed in choral music and where they find themselves today.

As optimism for the return to live gatherings cautiously dawns, it’s time to commence the work of rebuilding your choral organization’s capabilities and re-engaging its audiences. Building on “Asking Thru Adversity,” his breakout presentation at the Chorus America Winter Conference, leadership and community engagement consultant Matt Lehrman offers this guide to focusing your efforts.

BY HOLLY J. KELLAR

Across North America and around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the choral landscape. A year later, hope is on the horizon, with vaccinations happening and tentative first steps to slowly reopen entertainment venues. But choral leaders know that the reverberations of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. We asked six choral leaders to give us their thoughts on what the future will bring, and the lessons of the past year.

Reflections on the 2020 U.S. Election: Choruses, This is the Work Ahead

 
A Letter from Catherine Dehoney

President and CEO, Chorus America

 

Dear choral colleagues,

I spent election night watching a movie to keep anxiety at bay, with brief breaks to check on the news. Every update on the vote count felt like another confirmation of the division present in our country and the uncertainty we all face. At one point, my husband Bill turned to me with a tired sigh and said, “Choruses are great, but I don’t think you can sing your way out of this.”  

SPONSORED CONTENT FROM A CHORUS AMERICA PARTNER

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.

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.

How We Move Forward: Finding a Way Amid Uncertainty and Loss

 
A Letter from Catherine Dehoney

President and CEO, Chorus America

 

Dear friends,

Our community was hit very hard by the information in a webinar presented by Chorus America and some of our colleague organizations on Tuesday, “What Do Science and Data Say about the Near Term Future of Singing.” We’ve heard and read your reactions expressing strong emotions: grief, disbelief, anger, and—in some cases—steely determination to find a way forward. We share those emotions too.

Chorus America’s 2020 Awards Recognize Outstanding Choruses and Individuals

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.

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