Big Apple Performing Arts (BAPA) is an LGBTQ-identified organization that serves as the nonprofit umbrella management company for New York City Gay Men's Chorus (NYCGMC), Youth Pride Chorus, the pop a cappella band Tonewall, and various subgroups. BAPA's mission is to create and manage ensembles that achieve choral and performance artistic excellence, provide a safe and supportive space, and use the performing arts to bring people together, change lives, combat fear and hatred, and challenge perceptions of the LGBTQ community.
Founded in 1979, NYCGMC is a world-class, world-renowned New York institution and a pioneering voice for the LGBTQ community. It is comprised of approximately 300 talented volunteer singers of various ages, backgrounds, and experiences, across a spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientations. It produces a vibrant sound and energy that audiences can feel and with which they can connect. Through the power of its sound and spectacular performances, NYCGMC and its members are fearless champions for love, equality, and acceptance. NYCGMC has formed a strong bond with devoted followers and continues to make lasting connections with new and diverse audiences. It sings in every style—from classical to pop, Broadway to gospel—from cultures all over the world. As a collective group of artists, NYCGMC listens to the changing world and transforms what it hears into music. NYCGMC sings to challenge perceptions of the LGBTQ community, combat fear and hatred, encourage compassion and human connection, and thrill its audiences with the superb quality of its sound. Through its music, audiences mourn losses, cheer victories, find unconditional acceptance, and celebrate life.
NYCGMC performs at a variety of settings, including concerts, festivals, conferences, weddings, parties, fundraisers, and community, special, private, and corporate events. It has also made several appearances in Broadway/theater productions and on television programs, such as Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, and Last Week Tonight, providing a national platform for its mission. It annually performs three mainstage shows per year—a holiday concert in December, a fun and upbeat pop show in March (currently billed as Big Gay Sing, now in its 11th year), and a pride-themed show in May/June. NYCGMC conducts more than 40 outreach activities across all five boroughs and beyond. Its school programs reach more than 2,000 New York City public middle school students. Other outreach activities include performances and events at corporate and public pride celebrations, LGBTQ teen homeless shelters, and SAGE, the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ elders. Through technical assistance and joint concerts, NYCGMC supports the development of LGBTQ choruses in the United States and internationally. Every four years, NYCGMC attends the GALA Festival, hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses, and is regularly called upon to lend its voices in moments of need for the community.
NYCGMC is also a pioneer of choral music, commissioning more than 75 new works from more than 50 composers, including Leonard Bernstein, Ann Hampton Callaway, Joseph Jennings, Stephen Sondheim, James Adler, David Hurd, and Conrad Susa. Performances have included appearances in more than a dozen states, throughout the Caribbean, and internationally in London, Dublin, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, Montreal, and Paris. NYCGMC has appeared in all of the iconic New York City performance sites, including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, and the Apollo Theater.
NYCGMC commemorates its 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising with a new choral music suite co-commissioned by NYCGMC and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Quiet No More: A Choral Celebration of Stonewall50 marks the occasion of the first ever WorldPride NYC and celebrates the vast legacy and worldwide change that started from events in June 1969—the effects of which are still as vital today as they were 50 years ago. The largest collaboration in LGBTQ chorus history, this piece will have performances by choruses throughout the United States in 2019. More than 400 singers from across the country will be seen on stage at the Carnegie Hall performance, which will feature the voices of diverse LGBTQ composers, including Julian Hornik (Dear Evan Hansen), Our Lady J (Pose and Transparent), Michael Shaieb (Through a Glass Darkly), Ann Hampton Callaway (singer/song-writer), Michael McElroy (Broadway Inspirational Voices, Rent), and Jane Ramseyer Miller (One Voice Chorus).
Operated jointly by BAPA and the Center Youth program of the LGBT Community Center of New York, Youth Pride Chorus (YPC) is one of only a few youth choruses of its kind in the world. YPC harnesses the power of the performing arts to engage lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight young people ages 13 to 22 as agents of change. It is comprised of up to 40 LGBTQ youth from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Many come from low-income families and neighborhoods in the five boroughs of New York City, have experienced intense prejudice from their peers, schools, and families, and no longer even live at home. Many YPC members have also never sung in public and truly find their voice by being welcomed into the YPC family. YPC members benefit from learning the discipline required for music training and performing, all within the safe space of a strong community where they feel accepted and proud. YPC fights homophobia, bullying, and all forms of hate through music by boldly asserting the joy, diversity, strength, and pride of today’s youth. YPC singers discover their own strength by empowering others in schools, online, and in the broader community through electrifying, high caliber singing and performances. YPC has performed at the White House’s annual Pride event, on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth, and at Radio City Music Hall with Cyndi Lauper.
BAPA has a 15-member board of directors and an annual operating budget of slightly more than $1 million. BAPA’s administrative staff includes the Executive Director (ED) and its artistic team includes the Artistic Director, Assistant Conductor, and Accompanist, along with tremendous volunteer support from a Production Manager, Dance Team Choreographer, and numerous committees that support BAPA and its operating choruses.
The Artistic Director will devise and implement an innovative, transformational, and relevant artistic strategy for BAPA. The strategy will be in line with BAPA’s mission, vision, and values as a leading organization within the field of LGBTQ performing arts in New York as well as nationally and internationally. The Artistic Director will be a visible leader and ambassador who oversees all artistic activities of BAPA’s performing groups, educational programs, and social action efforts. This individual will also serve as NYCGMC’s principal conductor for rehearsals, artistic retreats, and a variety of performances. Working in partnership with the ED and Membership and Social Team Chair (MAST Chair), each of whom reports to the board of directors as BAPA’s Managing Body, the Artistic Director will guide the planning and execution of an artistic vision that advances LGBTQ initiatives, develops strategic alliances, cultivates commissioning concepts, engages exemplary guest artists, and mentors and builds morale among singers who have varying levels of experience and education in music. This individual will represent NYCGMC at various GALA events and participate in donor cultivation activities, press and community relations events, and board meetings. The Artistic Director will promote a shared understanding with audiences and among singers whose multi-generational life experiences range from disenfranchisement to empowerment, building a sense of community where music and camaraderie communicate love, equality, and acceptance.
Roles and Responsibilities
Artistic Vision and Strategic Planning
- Energize the artistic team, board, staff, volunteers, and audiences with an artistic vision that maintains high standards of professionalism, respect, inclusiveness, and artistry.
- Ensure positive, productive, and appropriately challenging relationships and artistic experiences across all performing groups.
- Serve as the principal conductor of NYCGMC rehearsals and performances, develop repertoire for each concert, and engage the music advisory committee and outreach committee in research and planning for all concerts and outside events.
- Identify and secure guest artists to complement NYCGMC’s visibility, social activism, and artistic impacts.
- Create, communicate, and implement the artistic vision for BAPA, including NYCGMC, YPC, Tonewall, and subgroups, in collaboration with the ED and board of directors.
- Advise YPC, Tonewall, and other subgroup leaders to achieve a unified BAPA artistic vision and social action message.
- Initiate the commissioning of new works and arrangements and otherwise secure agreements from composers, arrangers, and orchestrators, in coordination with ED and other GALA artistic leaders as appropriate.
- Lead, appoint, manage, and support the artistic staff and volunteers, with a focus on developing and achieving operational goals for each BAPA performing group and subgroup as necessary.
- Identify, plan, and implement touring and recording opportunities, as appropriate, for NYCGMC with the ED.
- Embrace BAPA’s dynamic artistic and social life as a visible part of performances, special events, meetings, strategic and operational planning, and GALA activities.
Member Relations and Social Activism
- Develop and manage a range of strong relationships and strategic alliances with partner organizations within the local, national, and international LGBTQ and performing arts communities.
- Communicate the connection between the power of music and impact of intersectionality in social justice movements.
- Lead NYCGMC members in rehearsals and performances, devising appropriate attendance requirements and behavior policies and addressing other membership issues with the MAST Chair, ED, and artistic team.
- Respect membership through advance music preparation and rehearsal/performance schedules and conduct thoughtful, organized, and productive rehearsal experiences.
- Value and showcase the full tapestry of BAPA’s age, culture, gender-identification, and orientation.
- Improve musicianship, technical proficiency, and performance capability of NYCGMC and its individual members by balancing appropriate vocal pedagogy with artistic inspiration.
- Support personal growth through artistic and educational leadership in BAPA’s overarching social action identity.
- Serve as a representative to GALA and other appropriate professional and/or community groups and attend meetings, workshops, and conferences.
- Embrace other member relations and social activism responsibilities as needed.
Production and Operational Implementation
- Plan season programs in advance, coordinate and rehearse all performance and production elements, prepare descriptive copy for promotional campaigns, and implement performances and community outreach activities.
- Lead the artistic and production team in setting high artistic standards and a fresh aesthetic in a fun, nurturing, and respectful manner.
- Devise and implement a process to recruit, audition, select, supervise, and mentor artistic personnel, both paid and volunteer.
- Supervise or conduct auditions for vocal soloists, dancers, actors, and other artistic roles related to NYCGMC performances.
- Coordinate the hiring of instrumentalists as required, maintain effective relationships with Local 802 orchestral contractor and others, and adhere to American Federation of Musicians (AFM) union rules.
- Partner with volunteer and paid production managers and other production staff to ensure quality performance and outreach activities.
- Participate in planning discussions with performance venues in collaboration with the ED, artistic team, and technical staff.
- Oversee the purchase, rental, or otherwise secure all music and licenses required and submit program notes and song list for each concert program.
- Advise the board and ED in negotiation of collective bargaining agreements with Local 802 of AFM and any other performing arts unions with which BAPA enters into agreements.
- Evaluate and recommend improvements for each season, major performances, and strategic alliances.
- Embrace other production and operational implementation responsibilities as needed.
Public Visibility and Donor Cultivation
- Serve as a public voice for BAPA with the ED as local, national, and international ambassadors.
- Develop fundraising messages with the ED, prioritized as is an essential element of a successful organization.
- Participate in fundraising and marketing activities, press events, and community relations opportunities as appropriate.
- Assist in the preparation of articles for newsletters, annual reports, and other publications as needed.
- Cultivate major individual, corporate, and foundation gifts as appropriate.
- Embrace other public visibility and donor cultivation responsibilities as needed.
Budgeting, Administration, and Human Resources
- Participate in the creation of annual operating budget and expense forecasting with the ED, reporting both to the BAPA Board.
- Operate within the financial limitations established by the annual operating budget and resources, adjusting if the situation requires.
- Participate in biannual employee performance review and advisory services of the BAPA Board.
- Establish goals for paid, full-, and part-time NYCGMC artistic personnel and conduct at least one annual review.
- Prepare monthly written reports for BAPA Board meetings.
- Strengthen the voluntary culture of BAPA by working with board members, NYCGMC Membership Team, and member volunteers.
- Embrace other budgeting, administration, and human resources responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
Courageous and willing to affect change to maximize artistic and organizational impact, the Artistic Director will support and expand a culture of artistic success, community investment, social activism, camaraderie, humor, and sense of purpose. The Artistic Director will be a decisive and engaging leader, clearly established as a primary decision maker who also seeks input and collaboration. Receptive to new ideas and actively building consensus, the Artistic Director will successfully navigate both competing and complementary priorities. With an effective communication style to passionately speak on behalf of LGBTQ causes and actively listen among members and in public forums, the Artistic Director will recognize and appreciate diverse perspectives as a tool to encourage continuity of membership. Simultaneously, this individual will make room for new voices to join in the public conversation and balance the needs of diverse stakeholder groups. The Artistic Director will appreciate and honor the NYCGMC’s history, inspiring stakeholders with a vision for the organization’s future.
Other key competencies, communications, and motivations of the individual holding the role include:
- Leadership, Teamwork, and Accountability – The dexterity to prioritize strategic initiatives while creating a sense of direction embedded in the active participation of a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
- Planning, Organizing, and Priority Management – The acuity to establish relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and amount of time needed to deliver extraordinary results.
- Diplomacy and Collaborative Focus – The capacity to build rapport and effectively communicate and listen to a wide array of engaged stakeholders who sometimes have differing opinions and priorities.
- Interpersonal Skills and Flexibility – The agility to understand and respect others, treat them fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and maintain positive and productive relationships to reach mutually beneficial outcomes.
Qualifications and Experience
A bachelor’s degree (master’s degree preferred) or equivalent experience in choral conducting, vocal pedagogy, musical theater, or related fields in an array of musical styles and genres are required. Qualified applicants will be experienced programmers who understand the balance of diverse musical styles and production elements that are embedded in storytelling and social action. A background in music arrangement or composition is welcomed but not required. Superior interpersonal skills as a public advocate and community leader are essential.
BAPA offers competitive compensation and benefits, including full health, dental, and vision insurance and a matching retirement plan. These benefits are enhanced by the ability to make a major difference in a vibrant organization, on a resilient LGBTQ community, and throughout the GALA movement where members’ core values are as catalysts, harmonizers, listeners, and leaders. Opportunities to participate in occasional outside freelance opportunities that enhance BAPA’s reputation, such as guest conducting, performances, clinics, and conference presentations, are possible with advance board approval.
Please submit a 1) cover letter that balances artistic vision with accomplishments, 2) resume that highlights a commitment to the performing arts and the communities they serve, and 3) production-oriented curriculum vitae that demonstrates how one’s past performing arts productions have made a meaningful contribution to artistic and/or LGBTQ endeavors. Direct all inquiries and applications (electronic submissions preferred) to:
Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau
President, Arts Consulting Group
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201
BAPA provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, BAPA complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.