When Brazeal Dennard passed away in 2010, he left behind a rich musical legacy. This 2007 article profiled the life and career of this champion for African-American music as he celebrated 60 years conducting the Angelic Choir of the Peoples Baptist Church in Detroit.
Many types of organizations are tackling issues of diversity. Patricia Moore Harbour, who has facilitated a number of these discussions in a process that she describes as the Transformative Learning Experience, believes arts organizations, especially choruses, may start out ahead of the game.
The concept of ubuntu: "A person is a person through other people." Throughout black South African history—from ancient times when societies were migratory to the more recent struggle against apartheid—the people have relied on each other for their very survival. One conductor brought the lessons of ubuntu back home to his chorus.
A history of gay and lesbian choruses in America: A movement that began in anger and isolation has given way to musical excellence and collaborations promoting tolerance and inclusion.
We have created an elitist culture around classical music, about clothes and small talk and polite applause, and then we wonder why those who "don't have tuxedos" don't come to our concerts. Should we be working to change this? How can we do it?
A chorus by its very nature is a collaboration - singers, instrumentalists, music directors, front-office staff—all, according to Webster, performing work or labor together, especially literary (read artistic) pursuits." So it comes as no surprise that choruses would extend that collaborative spirit beyond their own organizations.
Activities undertaken by children and teens can profoundly influence the shape of their lives, and singing in a chorus is unusually powerful. Interviews with choral singers show that such early encounters grow into close, passionate relationships with music and choral singing, reflecting the positive influence that choral singing plays in bringing value, direction, and meaning to lives.
There’s a good chance that, like many nonprofits, you aren’t happy with your attempts to achieve diversity. If your best-intentioned efforts are failing, consider these 10 steps to promoting inclusion on your board.
American Choral Review 45.1