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.
The December holidays are synonymous with choral music, and thousands of people in North America celebrate with singing in or attending concerts that feature timeless carols and familiar favorites. But some choruses are breaking away from the tried-and-true holiday concert formula. We spoke with several choral leaders whose ensembles are highlighting lesser-known traditions, or using holiday themes to explore more universal concepts or address timely social issues.
Toronto Mendelssohn Choir director of marketing and community outreach Anne Longmore has an unusual dual career—college professor and arts administrator, thanks to a big move.
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.
A community chorus is held together by its singers’ commitment to each other and to the group. But what happens when a volunteer singer becomes disruptive to that community spirit—and won’t comply with repeated requests to change their ways? Does your chorus have a carefully spelled-out dismissal procedure, or do you handle things on a case-by-case basis? Or are you sitting there crossing your fingers and hoping it won’t happen, because there is no precedent in recent memory?
The right process can save your organization a lot of time and money as you select new software. But how do you get started?
The viability of every nonprofit chorus depends on the success of its development committee and the effectiveness of the committee chair. With so much riding on this work, how should the board arrange its priorities? Maybe not in the way you’d expect.
In addition to enriching musical knowledge and enhancing vocal technique, singing in a chorus can also teach important lessons about life itself. We reached out to the growing network of choruses specifically for older adults, and asked longtime singers about the ways in which singing has informed other aspects of their lives.
Singers are the lifeblood of the choral field. Ensembles from coast to coast are anchored by veterans of school and youth choral programs who found the experience rewarding enough that they continued through adulthood. But as choral leaders know all too well, many choristers can’t or don’t stick with it; they drop out of choral singing when they hit significant life transitions.
When Susan McMane was in high school, she probably spent about as much time chanting “two, four, six, eight” as she did singing “do, re, mi.”