The 2022 Conference In-Person Event in Baltimore, MD, marked the long-awaited return of in-person Conference activities for Chorus America. For two years, COVID-19 forced the flagship annual gathering to shift to an online alternative, but on June 15-17, 2022, the Chorus America community reunited once again for inspiring plenary sessions, uplifting performances, special celebratory events, and more. With health and safety guidelines in place, choral leaders from Canada and the US had the opportunity to meet in Charm City to learn, connect, and sing together.
We recently announced that on May 31 – June 3, Chorus America will hold the 2023 Chorus America Conference in San Francisco, CA – please keep an eye out for details! As we look to the future and prepare to meet in California’s Bay Area, let's look back at this year’s joyous Conference with pictures from the event.
Bringing Back Past Traditions
At the registration station, while chatting with arriving attendees and collecting Conference badges from the Chorus America staff, attendees selected ribbons with labels like “First Time Attendee” and “Chorus America Donor.” While first-time attendees might’ve only had one ribbon, other guests built long, decorated trails of colorful ribbons.
The Daily Sing, a staple of Chorus America conferences, made its return this year. Craig Jessop, Ysaÿe M. Barnwell, and Beth Willer led each day’s Daily Sing to help everyone feel invigorated and prepared for the day’s activities.
Learning From and With Each Other
On day one, Alysia Lee hosted “Radical Creativity,” the first of three plenary workshops that included a presentation from a guest speaker followed by a workshop that allowed attendees to discuss the learned material. Alan Brown followed on June 16 with “Beyond Covid-19: Immersed in the Future,” and Celeste Headlee took the stage on the last day of Conference to lead “Connecting and Communicating in a New Normal. “
“We can communicate like no other. In fact, there are some evolutionary biologists and psychologists that say part of the reason we survived is because we learned how to sing,” said Celeste Headlee during opening remarks of Connecting and Communicating in a New Normal.
One-on-Ones, Peer Forums, Roundtables, and a Composer Showcase were also available to attendees throughout the Conference. These opportunities let members connect with each other and experts from the choral field to exchange ideas, insights, and guidance that could be taken back to their respective communities.
The Annual Meeting
The annual meeting scheduled on day two of Conference was a time to applaud the 2022 Chorus America Awards winners, thank Chorus America board members for their service, and introduce new leadership to the governing board.
Chorus America recognized the recipients of the 2022 Chorus America awards, following a virtual celebration on June 9. Find the full list of recipients and information about this year’s awards on our Awards Page.
Eugene Rogers, Rollo Dilworth, Ysaӱe M. Barnwell, Brandon Elliot, and Mary Finch with Cantare Con Vivo (all pictured) were among some of the recipients present at this year’s Conference.
Chorus America board members are recognized at the annual meeting at the conclusion of their service. Morna Edmundson and Craig Jessop (both pictured), as well as Corty Fengler, Elfrieda Heinrichs, and Miguel Ángel Felipe, were recognized for their leadership and many contributions.
The annual meeting also gave a space for Chorus America Board of Directors to welcome new and returning officers and board members. Anton Armstrong (Tosdal Professor of Music, St. Olaf College)(pictured) took on the role of board chair, following a year as chair elect, and Hilary Apfelstadt (Professor Emerita of Choral Studies, University of Toronto), Eric V. Oliver (Former Regional Attorney, National Labor Relations Board; Minister of Music, Zion Baptist Church Avondale), and Steven F. Smith (President, Berkshire Choral International) joined the board.
Celebrations Filled the Rooms
In the midst of learning, the Chorus America community also had moments to celebrate each other's triumphs and resilience. The Opening Night Reception, hosted by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, was a moment for some members to say “hello” to each other for the first time and for others to reconnect with long-time friends.
The Gala Celebration and Auction lent itself to fundraising, singing, and even dancing. Following dinner, paddles filled the air during the virtual and in-person auction dedicated to raising funds to support Chorus America’s programs that bring resources to the choral field.
Elizabeth Núñez hosted the afterparty following the Gala Celebration and Auction, where the Chorus America staff and guests sang and danced to dueling pianos.
A Glimpse into Baltimore’s Choral Community
A Chorus America in-person Conference would not be complete without live choral performances. At the Opening Night Concert, the Singing Sensations Youth Choir, Handel Choir of Baltimore, and the Maryland State Boychoir shared the talent that is present in Baltimore’s choral community at the Lutheran Christ Church.
On day three, Westminster Hall was filled with our members’ voices as Baltimore Choral Arts Society Chamber Singers guided a community sing-along of Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem. During this Closing Concert, the Chamber Singers also performed excerpts from Portraits: Douglass & Tubman, a new commission by Morgan State University alumna Jasmine Barnes that pulls inspiration from the Mozart requiem to reflect on Baltimore today with texts by Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
Thank you for accompanying us at the 2022 Chorus America Conference. 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 San Francisco.
To stay up to date on announcements and news about the 2023 Chorus America Conference, visit our Conference Page.
This blog took inspiration from Julie Leopo’s article, Photo Essay: In Oxnard, Latinos by the Beach Create 'A New Reality.'
Photography by Side A Photography