Chorus America is committed to providing robust information and support to the choral community on matters related to access, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI). While no single collection of resources is ever comprehensive or final when it comes to ADEI, we intend to make this page the "home base" for choral leaders to build a foundational understanding that will spark your curiosity to keep learning, help you foster important conversations, and most importantly take action to more deeply incorporate ADEI into your singing ensembles.
We believe in modeling successful organizational practices to the choral field, and strive to show leadership by prioritizing ADEI in our own organization and representing our progress with integrity and transparency. In addition to curating resources here, this space serves as a visible record to reflect Chorus America's commitment to - and accountability for - action on ADEI, which includes a prominent goal in our current strategic plan and inclusion in our core values.
Chorus America Resources
We continue to develop in-house content in many formats to offer support on ADEI through all the various ways in which we serve the field. We've organized these resources according to type.
Action-Oriented Posts and Resource Collections
Practical, concrete lists and "how to" guides that provide tactics to inform immediate next steps that you and your chorus can take.
- How Can My Chorus Kickstart Our ADEI Work? - by Christie McKinney
Welcoming Transgender Singers: Resource List - by Ari Agha
- Resources to Support the AAPI Community - by Liza Beth
- How Chorus America Centered ADEI in Our New Grant Program - by Alysia Lee and Diana Sáez
In-Depth Stories and Articles
A deeper look at people and organizations in the field engaging in thoughtful ADEI work, and the contributions of communities that have been historically marginalized.
- Singing All Of Us - This special article series, developed in partnership with guest editors Aisha Moody, Wendy Moy, and Jace Kaholokula Saplan, focuses on organizations and people using ensemble singing and choral music to address racism and repair racial harm. The first two articles of this four-part series have been published to date:
Practicing Partnership: A Music Education Collaboration, by Lucy Caplan - The story of a program developed by the Tucson Girls Chorus and the Native American Advancement Foundation to serve students in the GuVo District of the Tohono O’odham Nation
- Personal Journeys, Collective Change, by Don Lee - A conversation with Black American choral leaders Maria Ellis, Reginald Mobley, Zanaida Robles, and Anthony Trecek-King, taken from the closing plenary of the 2021 Chorus America Summer Conference
- Cultural Appropriation: From Culture Stealing to Culture Sharing, by Eugene Holley Jr.
- Responding to the Border Crisis in Song, by Ann Hafften - The story of choral organizations on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border working to help stranded migrants, bring the two countries together in cultural understanding, and raise awareness of the human rights crisis
- A Century of Affirming African American Musical Identity, by Eugene Holley Jr. - An interview with six present-day choral musicians affiliated with the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), in recognition of NANM's 100th anniversary in 2019
- Voices of Change: Building a More Inclusive Choral Community, by Mike Rowan - Insights from Voices of Change, a 2018-19 Chorus America program convening Philadelphia-area choral leaders to foster more collaboration and inclusiveness in the area's choral community and provide education on diversity, equity, and inclusion topics
- Sharing the Breadth and Beauty of Jewish Choral Music, by Don Lee - The Zamir Chorale of Boston's launch of an online resource for exploring Jewish choral music
- Making Your Chorus Welcoming for Transgender Singers, by Ari Agha
Programs and Presentations
Our Conference and other programs are a central point of engagement for so many in our community. A primary focus is rooting each of our programs in ADEI values and offering specific content on ADEI-related topics.
- Chorus America Conference - When we took our Conference virtual in response to COVID, we made a small number of sessions available after the event concluded, many of which were focused on ADEI topics:
- From Orientalism to Equity: A Case Study in Inclusive Programming (Summer 2021), presented by Wes Kim, Katie Skovholt, Karen Thomas, and Hannah Won
- Cross-Cultural Choral Collaborations (Summer 2021), presented by Andrew Balfour, Nola Nahulu, and Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, with Karen Thomas - A plenary discussion with three choral leaders on how their diverse indigenous heritages and identities as conductors, composers, and teachers of choral music aid in keeping cultural traditions alive
- Lift Every Voice for Change (2020), presented by Joyce Garrett, David Morrow, and André Thomas, with Anthony Trecek-King - A panel of renowned African American choral leaders discuss their careers and experiences in a plenary session that centers Black voices in the choral community
- Wielding the Power of Access, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI): Achieving Creative Justice in Choruses (2020), presented by Antonio Cuyler
- Reimagining the Choir: Common Ground Voices (2020), presented by Emilie Amrein and André de Quadros
- Exploring Cultural Appropriation in Choral Music - webinar presented by Rollo Dilworth
Beyond the resulting resources above, Chorus America's range of programs offer ADEI-specific training and funding opportunities for choral leaders:
- The ADEI Learning Lab, an experiential online learning program teaching foundational knowledge in access, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADEI), providing a space to discuss and confront difficult identity-related issues in choral music. The first three cohorts of the Learning Lab were designed for White-identifying choral leaders to examine issues of race, racism, Whiteness, and White supremacy culture. The full program includes a robust syllabus of readings and resources, including these two samples:
- The Music Education Partnership Grants (MEPG) program, funding 21 collaborations between community organizations and elementary, middle, or junior high schools during the 2022-23 school year designed to increase access to choral music education. We detailed our approach to centering ADEI in this program in a blog post by MEPG community advisors Alysia Lee and Diana Sáez (also listed in our Action-Oriented Resources above).
Chorus America's ADEI Goals and Progress
We share the ways in which ADEI shows up in our foundational plans and documents that guide our work, as well as responses to events in the world around us and reports on our progress.
Chorus America's current strategic plan, adopted in 2017, includes a goal dedicated to promoting and demonstrating progress in addressing issues of ADEI. Our next strategic plan, scheduled to be finalized and adopted in early 2023, will continue this focus with a strategic objective dedicated to ADEI.
On January 21, 2021, Chorus America shared An Update on Chorus America's Work in Access, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, summarizing our key ADEI work in recent years and upcoming priorities for the near future, and stating our plan to share similar updates going forward.
Like so many organizations in the choral field and everywhere, Chorus America engaged in a great deal of reflecting on and reckoning with systemic racism and our role in dismantling it in the wake of the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Our first public-facing response was this letter, On Racial Injustice: Taking Action for Meaningful Change.
Resources From Other Sources
Chorus America's work and learning on ADEI is informed by a variety of sources. This collection includes those resources that have been most influential for us and those we feel are most helpful to choral leaders.
Specific Tools and Resources
- Black Voices Matter Pledge - authored by Alexander Lloyd Blake, Emilie Amrein, Melissa Dunphy, Christie McKinney, Reginald Mobley, Zanaida Robles, Jen Rogers, Joel Thompson, and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu
- A New Harmony: Equity, Access, Belonging - a workbook from GALA Choruses
How Relevant is My Arts Organization? Self-Test - created by Matt Lehrman
- National Truth and Reconciliation in Canada - compiled by Choral Canada
- White Supremacy Culture – Still Here - by Tema Okun (part of an extensive exploration of this topic, found at whitesupremacyculture.info)
- Conscious Style Guide - founded by Karen Yin
- Decolonizing Choirs Google Doc - hosted and maintained by Vancouver Bach Choir
Black and BIPOC Arts & Culture Funding and Justice Resource Hub - compiled by Grantmakers in the Arts
Organizations and Websites We Follow
- The Choral Commons - A media platform created as a space for choruses to envision futures centered on equity and innovation
- Decolonizing The Music Room - Centering Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian voices in music education and related fields by providing training and content for educators
- Community-Centric Fundraising - A movement to build a fundraising model and nonprofit sector that supports the entire community over individual organizations, and builds the power and voice of communities of color
- ArtEquity - Providing tools, resources, and training at the intersection of art and activism
- Nonprofit AF - Musings on the nonprofit sector critiquing systemic problems and calling for collective change, delivered with a humorous touch