San Diego Women's Chorus Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary and Announces $30K Fundraising Goal Met
The San Diego Women's Chorus treated audiences this past weekend (May 6-7, 2017) to a set of three celebratory performances of their 30th Anniversary concert, "Reflections: Looking Back On Our First 30 Years!" at the University Christian Church in Hillcrest. The concerts featured over 100 women of SDWC singing songs from the chorus' 30-year history, encapsulating the group's rich commitment to peace, social action, honoring the lives of women who came before them, and providing quality musical entertainment to the local community.
Starting with 14 women gathering weekly around a piano in 1987, the organization has since grown to over 100 singing members who perform in three main productions and countless community performances each year. With soaring vocals, the emotionally driven program contained two hours of music that captured the heart and spirit of SDWC and its mission to encourage women's creativity, celebrate diversity and inspire social action. The special set of performances wove in video messages from SDWC founder, Cynthia Lawrence (who also attended two of the three performances), well-known singer/songwriters- including Janis Ian, Holly Near, and Randi Driscoll- and greetings from other choruses from around the country, such as Anna Crusis Choir from Philadelphia and Charlotte Gay Men's Chorus.
Audiences further had the chance to experience videos and pictures containing old footage of SDWC dating all the way back to the early 90's, photo montages, and special tributes, including recognition of former SDWC Artistic Director Christopher Allen, who passed away in 2016, and all members of the chorus lost over its 30 year history. A visual timeline outlining the entire history of the Chorus lined the performance and reception space, a giant poster listing over 600 women who have sung in SDWC was displayed in the lobby, all former singers were asked to stand during the concert to be recognized and, of course, all alumni were invited to join current singers at the end of the concert for SDWC's tradition of singing "Circle Chant."
At the Saturday evening performance, a special presentation was made to the chorus by Dwight Joyner, Vice President of GALA Choruses (the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses), who presented SDWC with a special commendation, a heartfelt speech, as well as a check for $500 from the GALA Board of Directors. Joyner spoke of the importance of SDWC in the community, "GALA Choruses wanted to be present to celebrate 30 years of music, 30 years of leadership...The San Diego Women's Chorus has been teaching us how you can make social change through music in a community. There are lots of arts organizations, there are lots of non-profits, and many of them are good, but there are very few who are remarkable. The San Diego Women's Chorus is remarkable because you live your mission statement. You embrace it....Their music reaches right into our soul, in a way that the spoken word and the written word can't. One of the best gifts I think we will receive tonight from the San Diego Women's Chorus is the feeling, the knowledge, that when we walk outside these doors tonight, we matter. You give that to us. So thank you. You matter. What you do matters."
The San Diego Women's Chorus also had an exciting announcement at the end of the last performance of the weekend: they had reached their ambitious goal of raising $30,000 as part of their 30th Anniversary fundraising campaign that began in fall 2016 designed to celebrate this milestone anniversary and create a strong fiscal foundation from which to build the future of the organization. As part of the campaign, the Fund Development committee secured a number of business sponsorships and foundation grants, however the majority of funds raised throughout the campaign came from individual donors. At the start of the concert weekend, SDWC announced that they need to raise an additional $5,000 and asked its audiences to help them reach the goal. At the very end of the last concert of the weekend, Fund Development Co-Chair Paula Tallal stepped up to the mic to inform that audience that thanks to their generosity- and the generosity of other audience members over the weekend- the chorus had surpassed its $30,000 fundraising goal. The audience and singers burst into cheers.
Fund Development Co-Chair Amanda Smith shared, "I am so excited that we reached and exceeded our goal, and so grateful to our audience members and all our sponsors and donors who gave so generously to get us there. Now our fundraising team plans to focus on building on this momentum to keep SDWC a strong force for women and the LGBTQ community in San Diego going forward." SDWC remains committed to generating and securing funds to allow the organization to continue to grow and thrive and the Fund Development committee has set another goal to raise an additional $10,000 by the end of the chorus' full 30th Anniversary season in December 2017. Information about becoming a donor, as well as a full list of individual donor and business sponsorship levels and benefits can be found on the SDWC website.
SDWC continues their busy 30th Anniversary season by preparing for two upcoming events in June and July. On Saturday June 3, SDWC will host Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and vocal activist Melanie DeMore for a vocal workshop, followed by a concert open to the public at the University Christian Church starting at 7pm. The high-energy, interactive concert will be led by Ms. DeMore and feature workshop participants performing what they learned earlier in the day, as well as extensive audience participation opportunities.
On Thursday July 13th, SDWC kicks-off Pride weekend with its bold and sassy concert #SorryNotSorry at the Irenic in North Park at 7pm. This edgy, fun concert will be an uncensored show with adult language, more appropriate for mature teens and adults. Featuring full chorus numbers, along with small ensembles and spoken word performances, #SorryNotSorry is an SDWC show not to miss. Tickets are now on sale. Information about all future SDWC events and performances can be found at www.sdwc.org
About the San Diego Women's Chorus
Founded in 1987 by community activist Dr. Cynthia Lawrence, SDWC has grown from a group of 14 lesbians gathered around a piano in a private home to a thriving community with over 125 members who believe in the power of music and the power of women. For 30 years, SDWC has provided a safe space that encourages women's creativity, celebrates diversity, and inspires social action. San Diego Women's Chorus is a non-profit community chorus that strives to entertain and inspire audiences with music that speaks to issues as diverse as human rights, love, world peace, religious freedom, environmental harmony, inclusion and cultural diversity. SDWC supports and affirms the music of women, as well as lesbian and gay composers and arrangers.