community arts

VOICES of Kentuckiana Spreading Message of Acceptance and Equality Through Their Music-Louisville, Kentucky

VOICES of Kentuckiana, founded in 1994 as an inclusive chorus that strives to change hearts and minds through song, “is a chorus for the community that celebrates diversity and is dedicated to fostering positive social change through artistic excellence.”  Under the direction of Jeff Buhrman, the chorus initiated a Youth Outreach Program in 2014 in an effort to bring their music and their message of acceptance and equality to local high schools.  Since then, they have partnered with GSAs, GSTAs and The Louisville Youth Group on performance projects and school programming. 

VOICES has a large footprint in the broader Louisville community.  The group has performed at the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration, Volunteers of America’s annual breakfast, the Louisville AIDS Walk, Kentuckiana Pride Festival, Shine on Louisville, The March for Justice, and World AIDS Day.  VOICES has partnered with choruses from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Nashville to present joint concerts in Louisville, and they have performed with the Louisville Orchestra, the Louisville Brass Ensemble, the Louisville Gay Men’s Chorus, and with several community church choirs.

VOICES values inclusivity, courage, musicianship, cooperation, empowerment, integrity and joy.  The chorus has participated in international LGBTA choral festivals in Tampa (1996), San Jose (2000), Montreal (2004), Miami (2008), and Denver (2012, 2016).  “Joe Nord, who has been a member of VOICES for two years, loves the inclusiveness. ‘For a few years, I had been wanting to join a choral group but I hadn’t sung in several years and was concerned that I wouldn’t be good enough. My friend, Paula Head, had been singing with VOICES of Kentuckiana for several years and suggested I come to their open enrollment in the Fall of 2013. I knew very quickly I had found the right group!’”

Newport Navy Choristers On A Mission to Raise Funds for Local Non-Profits -Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island is home to the Naval Station Newport, which houses the U.S. Naval War College, the Naval Justice School, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and a major U.S. Navy training center.  For over 60 years, the Newport Navy Choristers have gathered to present choral programs that raise money for charitable organizations and to provide enjoyable concerts for their audiences.  Membership is open to active duty, reserve and retired military personnel (both office and enlisted) of all the armed services and the dependents age 16 or over as well as Department of Defense civilian employees and their dependents. 

The Choristers perform four concerts a year, and since 1961, they have raised over $400,000 for organizations in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, including The Fort Adams Trust, The Museum of Irish History, Stopover Services of Newport County, the Middletown Senior Center, Edward King House, Shepherd’s Center of Fall River, Newport Historical Society, and Looking Upwards.  The Nautical Notes and the Sea Chanteys are two subgroups of the chorus who perform at annual concerts and in smaller venues.

The Choristers have also participated in many local Navy observances and memorials throughout the years, including Navy Night at the Pops at Symphony Hall, Boston and events celebrating the 200th Birthday of the U.S. Navy (both in 1975), commissioning of USS Normandy (1989) and USS Chafee (2003), and numerous Naval War College graduation ceremonies to name a few.  Here’s a performance of You Are My Sunshine sung for a concert to benefit the Edward King House Senior Center.

Greater New Haven Community Chorus "Building Community One Note at a Time"-New Haven, CT

The Greater New Haven Community Chorus is committed to its goal of "building community one note at a time" in the Greater New Haven metropolitan area of nearly 900,000 residents (U.S. Census Bureau).  The 100-voice chorus, founded in 1963, strives to use music to break down barriers, resolve differences, and transcend borders locally as well as globally. 

With concert program themes like Stand Together, a celebration of the global community, and War & Peace-Reflection, Honor and Hope, a concert commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI and the 75th anniversary of the start of WWII and honoring those who served, their Artistic Director, Noah Blocker-Glynn, aims to connect the art of choral singing with the human experience.

In an effort to make stronger connections with the community, the group partners with the New Haven Police Department to sponsor an annual coat drive, and the chorus collaborates with Christ Church Choir (Guilford) to perform an annual “Choirs for a Cause” concert to raise money for non-profits like Wounded Warrior Project, Doctors Without Borders, and Episcopal Relief & Development Fund.  They recently sang the national anthem for the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball game.  The group awards an annual Choral Conducting Scholarship to a student currently enrolled in a music degree program who has a strong interest in choral conducting and teaching.  Clearly, GNHCC is committed to making choral music relevant 

One member explained, “I joined the chorus because I wanted to learn how to sing with other people and to sing harmony. I wanted to learn to be a good alto! I have stayed because of the great eclectic range of interesting and beautiful music we sing each semester; because our director Noah does such a great job of teaching, leading, pushing, and inspiring us; and because the chorus is such a welcoming group to everyone who wants to put in the work to make music."

Ambassadors of Harmony® Using A Cappella Singing to Strengthen Community-St. Louis, Missouri

The Ambassadors of Harmony®, a 130 member men’s a cappella chorus, is making a transformative investment in the broader St. Louis community.  While the group has won dozens of national competitions and performed for audiences internationally, their commitment to enriching the lives of their local audiences and to cultivating an appreciation of choral singing among youth in the St. Louis metropolitan area is astonishing.  The chorus, founded in 1963 in St. Charles, MO as the Daniel Boone Chorus, is comprised of a diverse group of men ages 14-90 who “seek to change the lives of audiences worldwide through artistic and emotionally-driven a cappella performances,” according to their website. 

The choir is committed to building relationships among people of different racial, ethnic and socio-economic identities.  Each fall, AOH partners with University of Missouri-St. Louis, to sponsor Acappellooza Fall, an a cappella singing experience that attracts more than 1,000 high school students from the St. Louis area, and to sponsor a four-day Accappellooza Summer Camp.  They also sponsor “Project Harmony,” a year-long program in local schools, and AcaFest, a one-night festival co-sponsored by Missouri Baptist University.  In addition, AOH awards a $1,000 college scholarship to a high school senior annually.  

AOH has clearly demonstrated a strong commitment to musical excellence, while using the art of choral singing to build a stronger community.