Manager of Choir Curriculum & Performance
Washington Performing Arts (WPA) is seeking a colleague to join the education & community engagement team in the newly-created salaried exempt role of Manager of Choir Curriculum & Performance. This position is responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive vocal training curriculum and advancing the ongoing performance and partnership opportunities for Washington Performing Arts’ resident ensembles, the Children of the Gospel Choir (COTG) and the Men & Women of the Gospel Choir (VWOTG). This position will work with WPA colleagues, including the choir administrator and artistic directors, to build upon existing and emerging programming of the choirs, recruit new members, and raise the visibility of our choirs and institution.
We are looking for someone with a creative mindset, experience within the African American/choral music tradition, vocal pedagogy, arts education, concert production, and/or non-profit world, and proven project management and collaboration skills who will work alongside WPA colleagues to amplify our organization’s 50+ year history of unparalleled arts programming on stage, in the classroom, and in the community. Experience in vocal performance or pedagogy across multiple genres, including gospel, classical, R&B, jazz, or world music is ideal. The strongest candidates will have an entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity, the ability to exercise good judgement in a variety of situations, with strong written and verbal communication, administrative and organizational skills, and the ability to maintain a realistic balance among multiple priorities.
The position is available starting November 1. Candidates of color and those from other traditionally under-represented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.
In the late 1980s, Washington Performing Arts’ then-President Douglas Wheeler seized an opportunity to expand upon Patrick Hayes’ founding mission, “Everybody In, Nobody Out,” by showcasing gospel music on Washington’s most revered stages. He saw that this spirited art form could build community in new ways, engage D.C. youth, and inspire audiences of all kinds, beyond the walls of churches and meeting halls.
Thus in the ’91-’92 season, Washington Performing Arts’ Men and Women of the Gospel—and a year later, Children of the Gospel—were born.
A quarter of a century after their founding, Washington Performing Arts is poised to reinvest in and elevate these signature ensembles. WPA recognizes that expanding opportunities for the Children of the Gospel, in particular, can ensure a brighter future for the art form and the young singers taking part. Through development of a new increasingly rigorous and holistic curriculum, Washington Performing Arts aims to empower participants, who will graduate with deepened values: Artistry, Commitment, Collaboration, Discipline, and Accountability. When singers conclude their tenure in Washington Performing Arts’ choirs, they will leave with skills to serve them in all of their pursuits, artistic and otherwise.
In the next five years, Washington Performing Arts will define a new curriculum for Children of the Gospel, strategically refine the vibrant work of the Men and Women of the Gospel, and develop partnerships, artistic collaborations, and performance & touring opportunities regionally, nationally, and internationally. We will cultivate and expand our programs to reflect a commitment to excellence, to preserve the heritage and traditions of gospel music, and to share it in the most impactful way possible.
Currently, Men & Women of the Gospel Choir is a 10-month program that includes DC-area singers who are age 18 and older. Membership includes both professionally trained musicians and avocational singers. The Men & Women of the Gospel Choir rehearses regularly from September through June and performs both WPA mainstage and community-based concerts at venues across the DC region.
Participation in Children of the Gospel Choir is open to students aged 9-18, hailing from Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Choir members are chosen through a competitive audition process to participate in the year-round program with weekly rehearsals, monthly workshops, and a one-week summer camp intensive. Once accepted, our singers commit to at least one year of choral training, team-building, and extensive performance activities, including WPA mainstage and community-based concerts at venues across the region. Many COTG members return for multiyear participation. Alumni of Washington Performing Arts’ gospel choirs have gone on to careers in many fields, including artistic careers in gospel, R&B, opera, music production, and more.
With a primary focus on the Children of the Gospel Choir and in support of the Men & Women of the Gospel Choir, the Manager of Choir Curriculum and Performance will:
•Develop strategies and methods to enhance WPA’s choral music program to include additional music training – including music history, theory, and vocal coaching in multiple genres – giving participants greater insight into music-making and skill development.
•Work with WPA colleagues and Choir Artistic Team to develop teaching strategies of varied repertoire, primarily gospel and African American choral music, but opera and other genres as well, with a focus on new works and commissions;
•Create and implement an ongoing, formal process of evaluating the choirs’ training program to ensure that desired artistic and learning outcomes are being met.
•With WPA colleagues and Choir Artistic Team, develop the content for an annual summer camp that provides an intensive opportunity to enhance music, team-building, and leadership skills for Children of the Gospel Choir;
•Identify opportunities for creative youth development activities for Children of the Gospel Choir.
•Design partnerships with HBCUs and other college and university partners with a view toward college pathways for students in COTG.
•Design curricular components to address and measure skills that emphasize and support college or career readiness;
•Forge compelling partnerships with other organizations and artists, including partnerships with college and university choral programs that offers students access to mentors, career counseling, and artistic partnerships.
•Identify and build new sources of audiences and programming distribution through collaboration with other organizations and artists.
•Explore performance and touring opportunities for WPA’s choirs, with a focus on self-produced creative content, collaborative presentations, and potential revenue opportunities.
•Develop and implement a recruitment strategy to build the numbers, breadth, and depth of WPA’s choirs.
•Work with staff colleagues (Education & Community Engagement, Choir Artistic Team, Programming & Special Initiatives (Mars Urban Arts Initiative), Development, and External Relations) to strategically link existing programs while also developing new creative opportunities for the Washington Performing Arts gospel choirs.
•Assist in actively marketing WPA Choir programs working with the External Relations Department, through social media, email, phone calls, on-site visits, and other methods.
The strongest candidates will have:
•3-5 years of experience within a choral, arts education, and/or musicology setting, as well as experience working with artists, educators, schools systems, and/or community groups
•Demonstrated success of creating dynamic collaborations and seeking out new partnerships and opportunities
•Breadth and depth of experience (performance, creation, or study) of gospel music traditions, spirituals, and/or world music. Formal training in African American choral music and/or vocal pedagogy, with particular focus on gospel music preferred
•Experience with curriculum development and or training programs
•Experience with concert production, presentation, and touring a plus
•Strong relationship/consensus-building skills
•Persuasive communication and presentation skills
•A proven track record of managing projects requiring collaboration, budget management, and bottom-line responsibility
•Confidence working in a creative, fast-paced environment
•Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends
•Readiness to make a commitment to the mission of Washington Performing Arts
Washington Performing Arts prizes the diversity of the organization, at every level—from programmatic content to composition of its board and staff. Washington Performing Arts employment decisions are made based on the business needs of the organization and qualification of the applicants and employees. It is the policy of Washington Performing Arts to comply with all laws regarding equal employment opportunity for all employees and job applicants. Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission, access or employment. In addition, the District of Columbia adds protection for marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, or political affiliation.
Washington Performing Arts provides competitive compensation and an attractive benefits package.
Please send resume and cover letter to Rebecca Talisman at firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please.