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The Choral Commons

Author: Emilie Amrein & André de Quadros

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The Choral Commons is a media platform that provides a space for choirs and singing communities to realize the liberatory potential of the ensemble as a site of radical imagining. We promote equitable artistic and organizational practices that harness the positive social impacts of participatory music making for the common good and confront racism, poverty, ableism, LGBTQ+ discrimination, displacement, and much more. We produce podcasts and community events, offer educational resources on justice-centered praxis, and incubate creative, artistic, and compassionate projects that empower choirs and singing communities to work for a just and peaceful world.
49 Episodes
In January, The Choral Commons hosted a round table discussion on justice-centered choral advocacy, accountability, and strategic planning for the new year with panelists: Catherine Dehoney, President & CEO, Chorus America; Maria Guinand, Vice President, IFCM; Mackie Spradley, President, NAfME; Elizabeth Swanson, Vice President, NCCO; and Andre Thomas, Vice-President, ACDA.
André de Quadros facilitates a roundtable with guests from the Here, There, and Everywhere series: Emilie Amrein, Dzaya Castillo, Con Fullam, Erin Guinup, Maurice Lekea, Thierry Ruboneka, & Elise Witt
The Tacoma Refugee Choir began as a pilot project in August 2016 in partnership with Tacoma Community House with a group of 22 refugees and community members. The program was well received and quickly grew to create a welcoming and affirmative learning experience for over 600 participants from 52 nations along with diverse members from the U.S. The group's primary objective is to create space where meaningful relationships can develop and members can uplift one another, using music as a...
Common Ground Voices / La Frontera brings together a diverse group of artists in community music and peace-building projects situated at the border of Mexico and the United States. Through its signature programs, weeklong residencies and two-day encuentros, Common Ground Voices / La Frontera considers forced migration, identity, place, belonging, and shared humanity in this politically charged and historically contested region.CGV La Frontera aims to generate meaningful collaboration through ...
Today on The Choral Commons, we take a deep dive into place-based practice, eco-justice, and our relationship with the land in a conversation with Kyle Lemle. Kyle Lemle works to catalyze the impact of organizations that work at the intersection of environmental justice, forest restoration, and spiritual ecology. Kyle is a climate organizer, a lover and protector of forests, a spiritual practitioner, and a choral activist with the Thrive Choir. Based in Oakland, California, th...
Welcoming immigrant children from around the globe, The Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus helps restart young lives. War-torn villages, bloodshed, refugee camps, famine, and political turmoil were devastating realities for many of these young singers before being embraced by the warmth, companionship and harmony that Pihcintu provides.Con Fullam is an award-winning producer, musician, and songwriter, who combined his passion for music with a deep concern for the effect of world issues on children...
Elise Witt is Artist-in-Residence at Global Village Project (GVP), a school for teenage refugee girls in Decatur, GA. GVP is a special purpose middle school for teenage refugee girls from Afghanistan, Burma, Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, and Central African Republic. GVP serves girls whose formal education has been interrupted by war and refugee camp experiences.
Rukhsana Nezam is the founder and director of Justice & Joy, a consulting practice that focuses on the intersection of community development, socially-engaged art and urban planning. She works with governments, artists and grassroots cultural organizations to bring creativity and imagination into community planning and to de-silo the way we run cities. Rukhsana currently collaborates on creative placemaking projects throughout the country, including the ambitious Chouteau Greenway in...
Nicky Manlove and Bradford Dumont facilitate a roundtable with guests from the Engender series: Abdullah Hall, Erik Peregrine, Jace Kaholokula Saplan, Lindsey Deaton, Logan Bradford, Mari Esabel Valverde, and Michael Bussewitz-Quarm.
On this episode of Engender, Nicky and Brad interview composer Mari Esabel Valverde and speak about the honesty of gender diversity, the humanizing power of representation, and expansive notions of choral excellence. We loved this conversation. Mari Esabel Valverde is an award-winning composer and singer in steady demand across the United States and Canada. Based in North Texas, she sings in multiple professional ensembles and teaches singing and transgender voice training with TruVoice ...
In the finale of our second Gather series, Emilie and André interview Jonathan Pallant (from the Dallas Street Choir), Marilyn Irizarry and Leeav Sofer (from LA's Urban Voices Project.)
OnRaé LaTeal is a musician, producer, activist, and educator based in Washington, DC. She has held a variety of roles at the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian’s contemporary art museum on the National Mall. She recently managed ARTLAB, the Hirschhorn’s digital art studio for teens, which offers racially inclusive and diverse educational experiences for youth. She is currently serving as Education Coordinator of the Smithsonian’s new community engagement initiative “Our S...
On Wednesday, Emilie and André spoke with Jonathan Palant and London Alexander about how the Dallas Street Choir is responding to poverty, housing insecurity, addiction recovery, trauma healing, and homelessness in Dallas, Texas.
On this episode, Nicky and Brad have a conversation with Abdullah Hall from the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles about the intersections of race and gender, as well as their experiences with singing and advocacy. The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles is one of the first all Trans-Identified Chorus in America, consisting of Transgender, Non-Binary, Intersex, Gender-Non-Conforming and Gender-Fluid individuals.
Emilie and André speak with Leeav Sofer and Marilyn Irizarry about how the organization Urban Voices Project is responding to poverty, housing insecurity, addiction recovery, trauma healing, and homelessness in Los Angeles.
Aisha Shillingford is an artist, writer, and strategist originally from Trinidad & Tobago. She has been a spiritual and cultural organizer and network weaver for social movements. Aisha has earned a BA in Environmental Analysis and Policy, a Masters of Social Work with a focus on Community Organizing, and a Masters of Business Administration with a focus on Innovation, Creativity and Social Entrepreneurship. She is the artistic director of Intelligent Mischief, a creative studio and desig...
This week's episode of Engender features Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, who speaks with Nicky and Brad about her experiences as a composer and advocate for the transgender community. Michael is passionate about effecting change through choral music on topics ranging from the health of the world’s coral reefs and the epidemic of gun violence in the United States to the global refugee crisis.For more information about Michael, please visit her website:
On this episode of the Gather series, Emilie and André speak with Javier Rodríguez, Sophie Wingland, and Ron Yokely about how they are using music to respond to poverty, housing insecurity, addiction, trauma, and homelessness in Chicago. Harmony, Hope & Healing supports adults and children as they heal from traumas associated with homelessness, incarceration, addiction, and isolation. The organization provides on-site music classes and workshops in shelters, residential programs, drug tre...
This week's episode of Engender features singer Logan Bradford who speaks with Nicky and Brad about their experiences navigating choral spaces as a trans person. Logan speaks honestly and incisively about their search for a musical and creative home in choral communities designed for cis-gender singers, the notion of birthing a not-yet-imagined reality into existence, and the painful act of walking away from people and communities that continue to harm trans singers. Logan is a Tucson-b...
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