New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus is a new mixed voice choral ensemble for singers who self-identify as transgender, intersex, or gender-queer (TIGQ).
The entire range of the community is encouraged to sing with us: we welcome all gender expressions and any stage of a physical transition or non-transition. NVBA is for people who love to sing, whether beginners or professionals. Our goal is to create a great choral ensemble that performs a wide range of music, and to create a safe, creative space for transgender, intersex and gender-queer singers to make music, learn, create community and have a great time together.
The Chorus Director is Spanish/English bilingual.
Ages: 16 and up
Musical Styles: A wide range of choral repertoire, per the interests and abilities of the participants, the vision of the director, and available opportunities for performance.
Prerequisites: No prior singing experience is needed.
Chorus Size: 10 or more
Location, Day and Time: Community Music Center Mission Branch, 544 Capp Street, San Francisco
Sundays, 7:00 – 8:30pm Choir does not meet Summer Quarter.
Starts September 16, 2018.
Instructors: Reuben Zellman, director; Vutu Nguyen, accompanist
FRAGRANCE-FREE CHORUS. For the health and safety of chorus members, it is important that everyone come fragrance-free to the chorus. For questions about how to be fragrance-free, please see this article.
There are two ways to register:
1. Make an in-person or phone appointment with a CMC registrar who will assist you in signing up. You can schedule your appointment online here.
2. Come to a rehearsal and speak with the Director about registering.
NVBA is being created because the Bay Area does not yet have a chorus dedicated to serving and empowering this community. In the United States, choral ensembles—in schools, communities, and religious institutions–are the most common way that amateur musicians participate in musical activities. However, TIGQ people face significant barriers to participation. Standard choral method sorts singers rigidly by sex (female sopranos and altos, male tenors and basses); yet TIGQ people’s vocal stories are often more complex. Directors are typically not trained to teach and respectfully include those whose vocal ranges may be in flux or do not “match” the gender presentation of the singer.
As a result, TIGQ singers often hesitate to participate in choruses out of concern that they would not “fit in” or be welcomed, regardless of best intentions. Yet the TIGQ community is in desperate need of social and artistic outlets. The community has long had extremely high rates of poverty, unemployment and dropping out of school, and astronomical suicide rates. Research demonstrates that participating in choirs provides marginalized people with healthy opportunities for self-expression, music education they would otherwise likely not receive, social connection that combats isolation and shame, and positive feedback and support. A chorus dedicated to the TIGQ community will quite literally allow people to raise their voices when they are rarely encouraged to do so. Similar ensembles in Boston and Los Angeles have recently been founded, and are meeting with great success in both their artistic and social mission.