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In the wake of terrible events, choruses and choral leaders have found ways to be part of the response and healing process.

This August, Chorus America released the results of the first-ever systematic look at what moves and motivates the people who attend choral music concerts. In partnership with leading research and consulting firm WolfBrown, the Intrinsic Impact Audience Project worked with 23 choruses across North America to survey their audiences. 

At 91, Kansas-born Kirke Mechem has often been called “the dean of American choral composers.” That does not mean he is slowing down, however.

Victoria Buchy is someone you might call an administrator’s administrator. “I’m passionate about the people who work in the arts, who serve the artistic vision and mission that cultural organizations bring to life,” says the Toronto Children’s Chorus executive director.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) could be the law that puts music back in all classrooms. ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In terms of emphasis on requirements, it might not be that different than No Child Left Behind, but as for philosophy on reform, it is radically different, according to Lynn M. Tuttle, Director of Content and Policy at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

One choral leader described setting a concert attire policy as “somewhere near getting a root canal.” Ouch! We asked choruses—and the choral apparel companies that clothe them—to give us their best advice for making the process as pain-free as possible. 

Whether your chorus has 10 singers or 110, what those singers wear matters. The overall look should complement, not distract from, the music and communicate a certain level of seriousness, or as one choral conductor quipped, “not like you just walked in off the street.” 

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.” 

No other piece of music captivated iconic conductor Robert Shaw more than the Brahms  Requiem. A symposium presented by Chorus America in honor of the Shaw centenary explored the conductor’s deep connection to this masterwork—and what it reveals about his approach to music and his legacy.

Faculty members and participants at Chorus America’s Robert Shaw Centenary Symposium reflect on the qualities that made Shaw a choral icon.

“There are so many commonalities between directing a community choir and the church music experience,” says Tom Dooling of First Presbyterian Church San Antonio. 

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