As diversity, equity, and inclusion have increasingly come to the forefront for so many classical music organizations today, there’s a forum that has become a leading space in DEI conversations for the past five years: SphinxConnect.
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.
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.
One of the most important ways to encourage the health of choral music is for choruses to become involved in the process of commissioning and premiering new works. Chorus America has been democratizing this process for over a decade through its Commission Consortium program, which enables a wide variety of choruses to participate in this exciting work. Recently, the concert tour company Classical Movements became a leading partner of this program—a development that promises to enhance the program’s reach. Here’s a look at the Commission Consortiums opportunities for 2019.
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.
Looking for a group singing outlet, but unable to commit to a weekly rehearsal? Worried that you need to shake off some rust before joining a “serious” ensemble? Have no fear—relaxed opportunities with smaller time commitments are popping up across the country.
More and more choruses are practicing advocacy inside the concert hall, representing social justice and community issues in their performances. What kinds of steps are they taking to ensure that singers are on the same page so that they can perform as a collective?
There are seemingly countless ways to make the case for the arts. The trick is knowing which ones are most effective. Leaders at five different arts organizations explain how they talk about the value of the arts, and how those messages are connecting with the audiences they are trying to reach.
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.