A Letter from Bonnie McFarlane, President of the Board of Directors
It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself as the newly elected President of the Board of Directors of Coro Allegro. Many of you know me from my previous roles as a singer, board member, and organizer for the David Hodgkins 20th Anniversary Celebration and the David Hodgkins Dream Fund. When not singing myself, I have also been a devoted audience member and supporter of Coro Allegro.
I am especially moved to be entrusted with this position during the challenging times facing Coro Allegro, other performing arts groups, and society in general. All of us are grappling with the dangers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing and increasing violence against people of color and other disenfranchised groups, and the divisiveness within our political and civil discourse. As a performing arts organization rooted in the LBGTQ+ Community, and dedicated to social justice and equality for all, Coro Allegro is committed to addressing these concerns as part of our mission, even as we embrace new ways of creating music and connecting to our communities.
For instance, Coro has been invited to participate in the Terezín Music Foundation's 2020 Virtual GALA, which will premiere November 9, 2030 at 7:30pm. The Terezín Music Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to amplifying the musical legacy of the artists imprisoned in Terezín (Theresienstadt), a WWII Nazi concentration camp. In addition, we will be hosting an online series called Amplifying Black Voices. In this retrospective series, Black artists and composers with whom we have collaborated will be invited to lead livestream conversations exploring intersections of the works we performed together with the current Black Lives Matter movement. Then in the spring of 2021, Coro Allegro will launch a mini-class based on our project, Letters to Our Children: Raising Our Voices for LGBTQ+ Youth.This multi-week class, open to the public, will explore the themes of Here I Am: I Am Here,a work by Andrea Clearfield, commissioned by Coro singers and based on letters to Transgender children and survivors of conversion therapy. Participants will be invited to write their own narratives and letters affirming future generations, and to join advocacy initiatives led by community partners such as the Human Rights Commission (HRC), the Trevor Project,SpeakOUT Boston, and the Boston Alliance for GLBTQ+ Youth (BAGLY).
Internally, we have established an Anti-Racism Task Force to address the barriers to the diversity within Coro, increase representation from communities of color throughout our organization, and to connect to and support other groups that represent and support communities of color and other oppressed groups. As part of this commitment, we devoted a portion of our summer Pride party to three community partners advocating for Black Lives: the Equal Justice Initiative, the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts, and the Ugandan LGBTQ Refugees COVID Response Fund.
On the musical front, we have launched Coro Academy, an online training and development program that we are piloting with our singers, and hope to make more broadly available in the future. We also continue to explore other technological options to allow us to make music remotely until such time as we can return to in-person performances. Please stay tuned!
As many of you know, Coro Allegro was forced to cancel two out of our three scheduled performances last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The financial impact was potentially devastating and yet you, our supporters, rallied through the Keep Coro Going campaign. Your contributions allowed us to end the fiscal year on strong financial footing, and gave us the flexibility needed to try new and creative approaches during this period of uncertainty. The outpouring of support for Coro Allegro and our mission was truly inspiring and makes me confident that our community will continue to support our work while we navigate these turbulent times.
Please join me in thanking our departing members of our Board of Directors for their leadership and commitment: Kip Ellis, president; Donald Firth, treasurer; Deanna Biddy, secretary; and Geoffrey Hahn, singer representative. Also please thank Artistic Director David Hodgkins, Executive Director Yoshi Campbell, and our departing Operations Director, Emily Avers, for their hard work and guidance. Special thanks to all our board members, awesome volunteers and the singers for their tireless efforts and ability to turn on a dime. Most of all, thank you for your ongoing support of Coro Allegro.
Wishing good health to you and your loved ones,
President of the Board of Directors