Chorus America, the advocacy, research, and leadership development organization serving the field of choral music, will partner with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Voices of Our Nation, a weeklong celebration of America’s choral tradition taking place in June 2014. The Voices of Our Nation series will coincide with Chorus America’s 2014 Annual Conference, which will bring together hundreds of choral conductors, administrators, singers, board members, and business members for professional development and training opportunities.
“From big cities to small towns, choruses bring communities together and are the most popular form of participation in the performing arts in the United States,” said Ann Meier Baker, president & CEO of Chorus America. “We are thrilled to join with the Kennedy Center in celebrating the vibrant choral field.”
"We are so pleased to be partnering with Chorus America on the Voices of our Nation initiative that will celebrate the rich diversity of choral artistry across the U.S.," said Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser. "Chorus America is a skilled collaborator that strengthens North America's entire choral community, and their participation will help make this project a success."
The Opening Night Concert of Chorus America’s Conference will be included in the series and take place in the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall on Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Featuring Conference co-hosts The Washington Chorus and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, as well as guest ensemble The Children’s Chorus of Washington Concert Chorus, the performance will celebrate American choral composers and the DC region’s rich African-American musical heritage. The program will conclude with a concert version of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass – the work composed for the opening of the Kennedy Center in 1971.
In addition, Chorus America will partner with the Kennedy Center on a citywide opening event that will fill the nation’s capital with choral music. From 5:00-7:00 pm on Monday, June 9, 2014, more than 30 regional choruses will sing at sites across the city from the Kennedy Center to non-traditional venues like memorials and Metro stations. Performing ensembles ranging from a Latin-American chamber choir to a barbershop quartet will showcase the diversity and vitality of the local choral scene.
DC-area groups will also join choruses from across the United States and individual singers for a closing concert at an iconic location in the heart of Washington, DC. Held on the Saturday, June 14 Flag Day holiday, the concert is a 200th Anniversary Celebration of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and will feature other iconic America music as well.
To highlight the uniquely participatory nature of choral singing, Chorus America will also provide free interest sessions for the general public that will take place throughout the Voice of Our Nation series. Choral aficionados will be able to observe masterclasses on topics like contemporary a cappella singing and choral conducting or participate in workshops that cover techniques like shape-note singing and performing spirituals.
DC-area choruses participating in Voices of Our Nation include the following. The list is expected to grow over the coming months.
Cantate Chamber Singers, Gisele Becker, Music Director
Cathedral Choral Society, J. Reilly Lewis, Music Director
Children's Chorus of Washington - Bel Canto Chorus, Michael Wu, Conductor
Children's Chorus of Washington - Concert Chorus, Joan Gregoryk, Founder and Artistic Director
Choral Arts Society of Washington, Scott Tucker, Artistic Director
Choralis, Gretchen Kuhrmann, Founder/Artistic Director
Congressional Chorus, David Simmons, Artistic Director
Coral Cantigas, Diana V. Saez, Founder and Artistic Director
Encore Chorale, Jeanne Kelly, Founder, Director
Glorystar Children's Chorus, Cherie Jeng, Artistic Director
Heritage Signature Chorale, Stanley J. Thurston, Artistic Director
Mosaic Harmony, David K. North, Director
National Philharmonic Singers, Stan Engebretson, Artistic Director, Chorale
NoVA Lights Chorale, Barbara Stefan, Artistic Director
Six Degree Singers, Rachel Carlson, Artistic Director
Slaveya Vocal Ensemble, Anne Harrison, Music Director
St. Maries Musica, Anne Harrison, Music Director
The 18th Street Singers, Benjamin Olinsky, Artistic Director
The Capital Hearings, Dileep Srihari, Music Director
The Metropolitan Chorus, Barry Hemphill, Artistic Director
The Thomas Circle Singers, James Kreger, Artistic Director
The Washington Chorus, Julian Wachner, Music Director
Vienna Choral Society, Jennifer Rodgers Beach, Music Director
Voce Chamber Singers, Kenneth Nafziger, Artistic Director
Washington Bach Consort, J. Reilly Lewis, Music Director
Washington International Chorus, Dimitar Nikolov, Conductor
Washington Master Chorale, Thomas A. Colohan, Artistic Director
Washington Men's Camerata, Frank S. Albinder, Music Director
Zemer Chai, Eleanor Epstein, Artistic Director