The 2023 Conference in Photos

2023 Conference Daily Sing

On May 31-June 2, the Chorus America community gathered in San Francisco, California for the 2023 Chorus America Conference. Over 400 choral leaders joined us for three days of inspiring plenary sessions, networking events, celebrations, and singing.

We recently announced that Chorus America’s 2024 Conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 6-8. We look forward to sharing more details about next year’s event as they become available, but before we move full-speed ahead and prepare to meet in the Peach State, we want to take a moment to look back at this year’s exhilarating Conference with photos.

Getting Started

On May 31, attendees of the 2023 Conference trickled into the registration area. With Conference badges and affinity ribbons distributed and a copy of the latest Conference issue of the Voice magazine, the exhibit area open to visitors, and the Donor Table ready to raise funds, this year’s flagship event kicked off.

Learning Opportunities Galore
Chorus America Conferences are filled with professional development and training opportunities, and this year’s Conference programming offered an array of opportunities for growth.

Plenary Workshops are focal points of Conference filled with inspiring speakers, energized singing, and thought-provoking conversations.

Each Plenary Workshop opened with a Daily Sing to invigorate the room and prepare attendees for the day of learning ahead. San Francisco native and “The Father of Contemporary A Cappella” Deke Sharon, 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Music winner Michael Abels, and three-time Grammy nominated singer/composer, choral conductor, music director, and vocal activist Melanie DeMore joined us as leaders of this year’s Daily Sings.

Following the Daily Sings and morning remarks, Plenary speakers took the stage to guide the audience through conversations on arts marketing, manifesting an antiracist choral field, and the ways we can learn about each other by singing each other’s songs. Ruth Hartt opened our series of sessions, a conversation between Antonio Cuyler and Karla Estela Rivera followed the next day, and Melanie DeMore closed the year’s workshops on the final morning of Conference.

Breakout Sessions offer Conference attendees smaller learning environments to explore various relevant topics in the field. This year, the topics discussed included choral music’s role in grappling with the climate crisis, digital fundraising tactics, creating a culture of inclusion and belonging,and commissioning new works, among several others.

Roundtables were also part of this year’s Conference program. These collaborative, small-group discussions facilitated by peer leaders allowed attendees to discuss challenges and develop solutions with their peers in a flexible and interactive format. Artistic collaborations, creating welcoming children and youth ensembles for gender-fluid singers, and fundraising trends were some of the topics discussed in these small-group conversations.

We Know How to Celebrate!

During the first night of Conference, with the support of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Conference attendees shared a toast to a glorious start to Conference, connected with new and longtime friends, and rejoiced in the opportunity to come together.

Day two of Conference also had a fair share of celebrations. Champagne with Chanticleer, a pre-Gala donor reception, featured a bubbly toast and performance from Chanticleer as a thank you for the support Chorus America received throughout the year.

Later that evening, the Annual Gala & Auction closed day two of Conference. Choral leaders exchanged heartwarming moments over a delectable meal, sang Craig Hella Johnson’s SONG OF GRATITUDE and I LOVE YOU/WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD with his guidance, and raised their paddles to the sky to raise over $90,000 to support Chorus America’s programs and resources.

If you’d like to make a gift of support for Chorus America’s programs, visit our Give Page to learn about the opportunities to support.

Recognizing Icons of the Chorus America Community

Prior to Conference, we announced the recipients of the 2023 Chorus America Awards and, on our YouTube channel, shared celebratory videos recognizing the recipients. Many recipients joined us in San Francisco, and on the second day of Conference, a number of awards were presented.

Roland M. Carter was recognized for receiving the 2023 Chorus America Distinguished Service Award to honor his long-term service to the choral field and significantly furthering Chorus America’s mission “to strengthen singing communities with the advocacy, connections, and resources they need to be a vital part of society.”

Corty Fengler, who served on Chorus America’s board of directors for 18 years, was named Chorus America Director Laureate in honor of her extraordinary leadership as a member of Chorus America's board of directors and significant impact on the choral field.

At Champagne with Chanticleer, John Alexander accepted the Chorus America Philanthropy Award on behalf of himself and Duain Wolfe. This award is given to individuals, corporations, or foundations whose financial support of Chorus America and the choral art has been especially significant and generous.

A complete list of this year’s Awards Recipients can be found here.

Program Cohorts Meet for the First Time

The 2023 Conference marked the kickoff of the inaugural Choral Executive Leadership Academy, a first-of-its-kind intensive leadership development program for early-to-mid-career choral leaders who have been marginalized because of race and ethnicity.

The cohort continues to meet weekly over Zoom and will do so through August to garner administrative skillsets that help build a career path toward C-suite leadership.

During the 2022-23 school year, our team worked closely with our inaugural Music Education Partnership Grants partners to bring to life collaborations with elementary, middle, or junior high schools and increase access to choral music education and promote non-arts learning and cultural literacy, all while upholding the principles of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We invited our partners to Conference, bringing together this cohort of changemakers for the first time in person. Heartwarming conversations and tears of joy filled the room of the Grants Partners Celebration, making for an unforgettable moment.

Opportunities for Connection

Opportunities to connect and learn from each other are crucial to a Chorus America Conference, and this year’s programming embedded those moments throughout the three days of the event.

Peer Forums facilitate discussions between choral leaders about shared opportunities and challenges their choruses face. One-on-Ones give attendees 25-minute consultations with leaders in the choral field, making them perfect for tapping into the expertise of colleagues.

Exhibitors and composers are key partners to Chorus America. At this year’s Conference a new event premiered to spotlight them and their work, services, and products. The Exhibitor & Composer Showcase gave attendees an opportunity to connect with Conference exhibitors and composers and make long-lasting connections.

Breathtaking Performances Throughout San Francisco

California’s Bay Area is home to a vibrant choral scene. With concerts scheduled throughout our Conference programming, we witnessed breathtaking performances in beautiful locations across San Francisco.

At the Opening Night Concert, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and Ragazzi Boys Chorus, Silicon Valley, took the stage at Mission Dolores.

On day two, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was home to the Lunchtime Concert featuring Chanticleer and the International Orange Chorale of San Francisco.

Lastly, Kitka, Peninsula Women's Chorus, Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, San Francisco Choral Artists, The Choral Project, Volti, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus helped us conclude Conference at the Closing Concert at Grace Cathedral.

As we look at these joyous memories, we are filled with excitement about creating more. We look forward to next year and hope that you’ll join us in Atlanta on June 6-8! To stay up to date on announcements and news about the 2024 Chorus America Conference, visit our Conference Page.