Chorus America Partners With Equity Sings to Launch First-of-its-Kind Program Fostering Equity in Choral Executive Leadership

Chorus America, the advocacy, research, and leadership development organization that advances the choral field, is thrilled to partner with Equity Sings to launch the Choral Executive Leadership Academy.

The Choral Executive Leadership Academy is an intensive leadership development program for early-to-mid career choral leaders who have been marginalized because of race and ethnicity. The Leadership Academy focuses on building administrative skillsets required of C-suite leaders, with specific attention to unique challenges that these leaders face in predominantly White institutions, in order to create career pathways to executive leadership. Through this program, Chorus America aims to directly contribute to increasing the racial diversity of executive directors and other administrative leaders in the choral field, one of its priority objectives.

“Chorus America is excited to launch the Choral Executive Leadership Academy as part of our commitment to advancing a more equitable choral field and supporting skilled administrative leadership for choruses,” Chorus America president and CEO Catherine Dehoney said. “We are delighted to work with Equity Sings to help create an even more vibrant choral ecosystem that is built on a strong foundation of diversity and inclusion.”

The Leadership Academy was developed in collaboration with Equity Sings, the consulting business of sought-after choral conductor, composer, consultant, and equity coach Arreon Harley-Emerson. The Leadership Academy’s curriculum is rooted in the “Leaders of Promise” program that Harley-Emerson created to serve administrators of color in all nonprofit disciplines. This partnership establishes the first such program specifically designed for choral leaders.

“Equity Sings is thrilled to take part in the Choral Executive Leadership Academy,” Harley-Emerson said. “This program will dramatically expand access to administrators of color in the choral ecosystem, profoundly changing it and redefining how the choral arts are perceived and received in our world.”

With gratitude, Chorus America recognizes Cathedral Choral Society (CCS) as Presenting Partner of the inaugural Choral Executive Leadership Academy. Support from Cathedral Choral Society and our generous sponsors significantly reduces the cost barriers to participation for the inaugural cohort of the Choral Executive Leadership Academy.

“Diversity begets excellence. The Cathedral Choral Society is proud to serve as a presenting partner of the Choral Executive Leadership Academy because we believe that it will make a lasting, positive impact on the choral field,” executive director Christopher Eanes said. “At CCS, we are strongly committed to building a more equitable and inclusive environment across all of our constituencies: singers, patrons, board, and staff. But we cannot do it alone, and this is why we have invested in Chorus America and this program. It is an investment that will strengthen our organizations and ensure a vibrant future for choral music.”

The inaugural Leadership Academy will kick off with an in-person gathering on May 31 at the 2023 Chorus America Conference in San Francisco, California, and continue online through the summer. Applications for the inaugural cohort of 30 participants will open on January 18, and be accepted through February 16. To learn more, visit the Chorus America website.

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About Chorus America

Chorus America is the advocacy, research, and leadership development organization that advances the choral field. We support and serve choral conductors, administrators, board members, and singers with tools, training, peer networking, and access so that choruses are better able to contribute to their communities.

More than 2,000 choruses, individuals, businesses, and organizations are members of Chorus America and have access to a wide array of programs, publications, research, and personal services developed for their benefit. These services strengthen their ability to build strong organizations that foster quality choral performances.

Chorus America is governed by a diverse board of accomplished arts leaders from across North America, and the executive staff is headquartered in Washington, DC. Learn more at

About Equity Sings and Arreon Harley-Emerson

Equity Sings is the consulting business of Arreon A. Harley-Emerson, a sought-after choral conductor, composer, consultant, and equity coach. Committed to the principles of Access, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Restorative Practice (ADEIBR), Harley-Emerson has established a thriving consultancy to assist arts and culture organizations, nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and corporations in remaining relevant in the 21st century. His work includes longitudinal studies, strategic planning, board governance, resource and asset development, and board diversification.

About Cathedral Choral Society

The Cathedral Choral Society was founded by Washington National Cathedral music director Paul Callaway in 1941, just days before the United States entered World War II, making CCS Washington, DC’s oldest symphonic chorus. The aims of the chorus are to invite more people to enjoy the art of choral singing, elevate emerging voices, and steward the art for future generations. CCS is conducted by Steven Fox, the third music director in the organization’s history.