The city of Appleton, situated on the Fox River in Northeast Wisconsin, was settled in 1847 and boasts the nation’s first hydro-electric central station built in 1882. It is in the Fox Valley that newVoices is charting new territory in the world of choral singing. Under the direction of Dr. Phillip Swan, the 80 voice chorus strives to “link today’s issues with timeless messages in classical and contemporary choral music” in an effort to “create programming that matters.” The group’s 4-5 annual concerts “give voice to community issues through collaborative artistic and educational programming with partners such as the Sexual Assault Crisis Center, Fox Valley Memory Project, League of Women Voters, Fox Valley Symphony, Appleton Boychoir, and Lawrence Academy of Music.”
In October, 2015, the group took on the issue of sex trafficking with a program entitled Facing the Music (the unfamiliar truth about Human Trafficking: awareness, education, hope). The group partnered with Fox Cities Sexual Assault Crisis Center and the Sex Trafficking Steering Committee to not only present a choral concert that included songs of power, outrage, hope and healing, but to create opportunities for local residents to understand the issues of prostitution and human trafficking. The chorus invited the community to read Rachel Lloyd’s Girls Like Us and then organized book discussions at the local library. They also held panel discussions on sex trafficking in the Fox cities that included representatives from local courts and law enforcement, and they held a pre-concert discussion that presented the scope of the problem in the community.
This is one example of many that highlights the way that newVoices is thinking in meaningful and relevant ways about concert programming. The group's program was recognized for their dedication to community issues with a national award from Chorus America. Learn more about the other partnerships they have cultivated and the issues they have addressed with their programming by visiting their website. The video below highlights their work with Fox Valley Memory Project as part of their community outreach program.