The joy of singing in a chorus is something that has blessed me all my life, especially the past 30 years that I’ve lived in the Sacramento area. And I think it’s natural to believe that one’s own chorus is – maybe with a couple of exceptions – just about the only worthwhile game in town. But in the fall of 2011, I began to wonder about the extent of choral activity in our area. I did a little research and began to discover groups I had never heard of. It occurred to me that I could share the fruits of my research with the public, so I started the Sacramento Choral Calendar (www.sacchoralcalendar.com) to list all the performances that were coming up. Soon I had identified dozens of choral organizations and was publicizing their concerts.
Then my curiosity began to really rise. I started attending as many concerts as I could – and I was stunned. Time and again, I heard performances that were brilliantly executed: creative, artistic, surpassingly beautiful (or profoundly exhilarating) – and, more often than not, highly entertaining. There were many different styles of music – classical, Broadway, folk, jazz, pop, barbershop. I listened with an open mind, and my life was enriched.
But so often these excellent choral concerts were performed for disappointingly small audiences. I felt that something had to be done. People had to be encouraged to discover what they have been missing. Well, something has finally been done. A large group of Sacramento area choruses met in July, 2013 and agreed to join together to offer what we called SacSings! – The Sacramento Choral Festival. That event took place June 13-15, 2014 and included performances by 20 choruses with nearly 1000 singers. It was a choral buffet that gave our audiences the same thrill of discovery that I’ve been having, while opening horizons for each chorus and singer who participated.
To mount this event we needed a new nonprofit organization, which we named the Sacramento Valley Choral Coalition. And that name “Coalition” got us thinking even more broadly. We realized that with upwards of 70 choral organizations in the Sacramento Valley, there were many, many opportunities to bring choruses together for their mutual benefit – other choral showcases, cooperative advertising, educational and social experiences. We saw, too, that we could act as an advocate for choral singing, bringing it to under-served groups and demonstrating its vitality and appeal to more and more of the general public.
In just the greater Sacramento area, there is more fascinating choral activity than most people imagine, more potential for growth and acceptance and excellence than most of us singers ever imagined. And the Sacramento Valley Choral Coalition is here to serve as a catalyst for building a blossoming choral community.