The New Haven Chorale is an auditioned, 85-voice, professionally-conducted, volunteer chorus devoted to serving the Greater New Haven community by nurturing local choristers, presenting extraordinary performances, and using music creatively to make a difference in people’s lives. Our performances, which have been described as "electrifying" and "deeply moving," raise spirits and help fund local non-profits. Our educational initiatives and mentoring opportunities open doors for new generations. We expand the scope of choral art by commissioning music and showcasing Connecticut composers. Our devotion to musical excellence, nurturing local musicians, and serving the community through choral music has kept the Chorale unique and dynamic for 65 years in which its members have collectively donated over two million hours of their lives!
The Chorale began in 1950 as part of visionary conductor Robert Shaw's chorale movement. Grass-roots efforts began to improve choral performance nationally and enrich communities culturally by founding organizations to tap the power of passionate amateurs devoted to musical excellence and to using choral music to ‘do good works’ locally. The New Haven Chorale's founder, Alden Hammond, a Shaw protégé graduated from Yale on the GI bill, saw an opportunity in New Haven's passion for the arts to employ great choral music to create community and change lives. For six decades--through the post WWII era, the Cold War, the turbulent 60's, and the dawn of a new millennium--the New Haven Choral has been New Haven's musical voice. Community service has been at the core of the Chorale's work beginning with its first two performances in 1950 benefiting local non-profits, cheering hospital patients, and celebrating the lighting of New Haven's Christmas tree. That tradition continues today.
Currently our mission and services are as follows: (1) help local singers improve their musicianship through voice training, intensive rehearsals, performance opportunities and challenging repertory; (2) stage concert performances, with its opportunities to collaborate with local arts colleagues, learn and perform masterworks and provocative repertoire, and celebrate the musical traditions of New Haven audiences; (3) provide outreach performances at public events, senior communities, and other in-the-community venues; (4) foster educational programs and mentoring, including the Student Singer Program with its $1,000 scholarship, and the Students-Free-with-ID attendance policy; (5) commission new music and showcase the work of Connecticut composers.
Past Year Top Accomplishments— an exciting, creative year that ended on a very upbeat note. (1) Our Halloween concert was an enjoyable and meaningful experience for children and choristers alike. Families were admitted without fee if they brought a child in costume and all were invited to attend the after-concert party hosted by Chorale members. (2) Community outreach -many of our members stepped forward to volunteer for performances at the Children's Hospital and area senior centers.(b) Our outreach helped to broaden and diversify audiences and membership. (3)Expanded our collaborative efforts with concerts featuring members of area college and children's choruses. (4) Our April concert of "Carmina Burana" was an outstanding success. The chorale along with students from Manchester Community College, Hartt School of Music, the Hartt School Percussion Ensemble and the CT Children's Chorus brought audiences to their feet with this magnificent productions performed in both Hartford and New Haven.(5) A Holiday Concert, presented in December at St. Mary's Church was enthusiastically received and a run out performance for was produced for seniors at Evergreen Woods. in North Branford.(6) In June, our concert celebrating a "Season of Love" with a repertoire that was challenging musically and techincally, was presented at the beautiful Nelson Hall at Elim Park in Cheshire, audiences showed their appreciation with standing ovations.
Our most pressing needs are as follows. (1) Funding our educational programs for inner city schools, special performances, collaborative endeavors, and free-to-the-public programs featuring special repertoires and themes (described in the Chorale's major initiatives under Impact) to cover development and production expenses, equipment rental and extra collaboration costs. (2) Fund increased use of part-time consultants to enable the Chorale to increase its community outreach and to continue improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency. (3) Fund expanded mentoring programs, possibly including an Education Director position, to allow Chorale members to spend more time mentoring students and others in the community (as described under Programs). (4) Attract volunteers from outside the singing membership to help produce concert programs, since members are currently overextended, and address the Chorale’s self-diagnosed need to increase diversity. (5) Raise funds and engage volunteer staff to expand audience development so that the Chorale’s musical offerings are available to more people in area communities and attract a broader, more diverse audience. The need to attract young singers to join the Chorale and encourage student singers to take advantage of our student singer program is of utmost importance.(5)Hire personnel to assist in the conversion of an outdated filing system to a cloud based archival system in order to preserve our 66 year music and history in perpetuity.
Alice Hummel is Executive Director. of the Chorale. Working closely with the Chorale Board, she takes the management role very seriously and embraces the views expressed in previous editions of this Statement. Ms. Hummel writes:
I am acutely aware that the Chorale’s future success will depend on its ability to grow and diversify its membership and audience, to present innovative and compelling performances, to expand its community-service offerings, and to build community awareness of the enduring value and relevance of choral music. The Chorale observes the steady decline of audiences and funding for arts organizations in many communities, counts itself fortunate to work in as culturally vibrant an environment as New Haven, and takes very seriously its responsibility to keep choral music fresh and useful in its community for current and future generations. Chorale members are quite passionate about their pursuit of musical excellence and their desire to put choral music to work in service to their community, which I have found quite moving to observe up close. These dynamics in the Chorale are propelling it forward in a significant evolution from an all-volunteer organization to one still volunteer-driven but professionally managed to leverage the greatest impact from this community cultural resource. I feel very proud and invigorated to continue in the management of such a dedicated, creative, and forward-thinking organization.
The Chorale recognizes the need to focus on this self-transformation,from an informally managed community group to a formally managed non-profit organization with a community service orientation, that remains "volunteer-fueled' and self-governed yet imposes on itself a professional standard for management. I am confident that implementing this strategy will tap the power of its volunteers in community service, while operating with the effectiveness and efficiency needed to leverage those resources and not waste them, and leading to sustainability in this changed economic environment.
Using sound fiscal principals, the Board has moved gradually over the course of several years to bring about this transition in a way that makes economic sense, preserves the fiscal stability of the organization, and maintains essential programs. Utilizing the skills of the Executive Director, the Chorale has several new programs starting this season, the Chorale is poised for a great leap forward. I feel personally very excited and humbled to be of assistance in their important work for the community.
The New Haven Chorale has been a part of my life for nearly
20 years. It has given me a music education and a perspective on life that I
would not have gained in school, career or with family. Through the years I have spent countless hours
assembled with other disciplined amateur singers trying to create the best
sound and give the highest quality performance for our community audience. Through
my participation I have been educated about composers, musical styles, poetry,
biblical texts, history as it relates to music, vocal techniques, and much,
much more. More importantly I have gained a truly life-changing appreciation
for how music affects our lives.
I have made countless friends in addition to learning music I would never have encountered, having sung over the years great masterpieces by Brahms, Hayden, Handel, Bach, Bernstein and Poulenc as well as programs of hymns, spirituals, cultural music, folk songs and opera classics. Due to the dedication and skill of our music director and assistant conductor I have improved my own vocal skills and had been introduced to inspiring composers and soaring choral symphonies. I take immense pride in the many outstanding concerts and music presentations we give each year before audiences in the greater New Haven area and other Connecticut cities and towns, often the culmination of many hours of rehearsal and study with fellow singers in pursuit of a common goal.
The New Haven Chorale is a unique organization in that it is a voluntary, yet auditioned, chorus. Its members are teachers, doctors, nurses, secretaries, technicians and students, individuals from many walks of life, of varying means and with differing personal stories bound together by a mutual dedication to learning and desire to sing in an quality community. That 60- 80 individuals voluntarily give significant amounts of time and energy to participate in this “ritual” and perform before audiences in venues such as St Mary’s Church, Woolsey Hall and Battell Chapel is truly astonishing and wonderful!
The Chorale 67 year history speaks to its endurance in the community and also its ability to knit together individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds. They come together each Monday night, in special Saturday and pre-concert intensive rehearsals, and in performances throughout the year. Such motivation and concentration from a solid core of dedicated singers creates enduring friendships and remarkable opportunities. Nevertheless this uniqueness as an arts organization is also the Chorale’s greatest challenge. We are limited in our membership outreach by the necessary auditioning process which, while it promotes our ultimate quality, limits funds from our annual and special fundraisers and is a consideration in the scope of our repertoire as well. These limitations are particularly challenging in trying to fully realize our stated mission to provide community service and outreach, as well as inspire the community and the membership with creative programming. Throughout the years the Chorale has performed at senior residences, the Veterans Hospital, Yale’s Children’s Hospital and at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. In the past it has collaborated with the NHSO, the Heritage Chorale and the Hartt School of Music Choir. These and other collaborative ventures have allowed the Chorale access to greater numbers of singers so that larger, more sweeping, works could be undertaken, some underperformed or newly composed. These occasions have also provided exciting interactions with young singers, composers, children’s choruses and schools.
A few singers in the choral are professional-level musicians, but most are not. Our group ranges from those involved in music education and church choirs or reconnecting with a high school or college experience to those for whom the Chorale fulfills a sudden urge to sing in a chorus. Their paths to the New Haven Chorale vary. In my own case I had the great fortune to join a school choir in 7th grade and stayed with singing throughout my high school and college years. Wonderful conductors introduced me to great music and my participation grew to involvement in small groups. I stopped singing after college and through the early years of raising a family, but I missed it, to an extent unrealized until I started again. A poster advertising auditions downstairs at Neighborhood Music School where my daughter was taking a flute lesson induced a moment of abandonment which resulted a few minutes later in my audition.
A native of New Haven, I grew up in a very middle class household of parents who were children of immigrants, parents who appreciated the value of education and the choices it afforded in life despite the fact that neither of them had more than a high school education. Music was always in the background, however – my brother playing “Autumn Leaves” on the piano, the opera Andre Cheniere playing on the console HiFi during visits to my grandfather’s. Early Sunday mornings my father listened to records of Richard Tucker, Giuseppe de Stephano, and Renee Fleming, containing arias that occasionally induced him to try out his voice to hysterical effect. I bring this up as an indication of the magical power of music to provide extraordinary joy to ordinary lives. Music, and singing in ensemble particularly, has had and continues to have, a profound effect on me. I believe that introducing young people to the benefits of choral singing and music-making in their lives is an essential part of the Chorale’s mission. For that reason I think involving young people in our performances when possible and interacting with them in schools is essential to keeping our organization relevant to the community, growing in diversity and size, and evolving throughout the 21st century.
After a long career teaching English at the high school level in New Haven, Brookfield, and East Haven and for 30 years in the Milford public schools where I served as the English coordinator for middle and high school, I am now retired. Education is the key to transforming lives and communities. In no way do I mean this in a singularly academic way, for one can be educated by exposure to new things and availed of opportunities as I was in 7th grade and I have been by my participation in the Chorale through the years. When young children step to the podium and conduct a few bars with the baton in hand at our Halloween performance or when we join with students at St. Martin de Porres in rhythmic exercises or in singing, we are shaping the future and perhaps changing the course of lives. When children join us at concerts and I see the proud faces of their parents hearing a full program of classical music, some for the first time, I realize that these efforts are no less meaningful or valid than providing our members with a place and program to prepare before audiences. Yet the budget for our mission cannot be realized with the comparatively small proceeds from ticket sales or chorale fundraisers, to which members give generously. We have endeavored to increase the diversity of our membership and put Chorale music before broader audiences, bearing greater advertising costs at our financial peril. We are constantly balancing our desire to enhance the experience we provide for our members and for the community through outreach and education with the unrelenting need for funding. Nevertheless, despite the daunting challenges ahead, I am always aware that New Haven Chorale serves an essential role in the lives of our members and in the community. It has in mine.
The Chorale serves the South Central Connecticut area by training local singers, concert performances at area venues, outreach performances in the community, benefit performances to raise money for local non-profits, performance and commissioning of work by area composers, and collaboration opportunities for area soloists, ensembles, and arts organizations. This year as in some recent years, the Chorale will perform in Hartford with the opportunity to mentor over 100 students from the Hartt School of Music and students from Manchester Community College
The New Haven Chorale works diligently to fulfill its mission In all its endeavors it remains committed to excellence, to its audiences, to the community, to its artistic creativity, and to young musicians. These passions drive the Chorale forward in its devotion to the arts and enable it to utilize the great choral music it provides to enrich experiences and change lives in the community it serves.
By offering chorale music of special thematic interest, the Chorale has reached out to attract more diverse audiences by honoring the repertoire of significant segments of the area's population. The Chorale’s leadership encourages members to focus on the following challenges related to sustaining growth and innovation while transitioning from all-volunteer management to professional management.
We see the following program-related challenges, each of which presents its own synergistic opportunities: (1) the need to grow and diversify audiences, so that more people can benefit from Chorale program offerings, with opportunities for connecting with local communities currently less served and under-utilized as a resource for talent; (2) the community’s need for improved access to Choral music and music education—especially more education programs, in-community performances, and benefit performances to raise funds for area non-profits—with opportunities to connect with less-served populations that can help diversify the Chorale’s membership profile and attract larger, more diverse audiences, as well as create meaningful mentoring and performance roles for members; (3) the need to acquire and stretch funds for special concert programming in order to keep choral music vibrant and relevant in the community, with opportunities for increased collaboration and multi-media performances, and; (4) the need to replenish and diversify membership and Board and to maintain the volunteer talent pool to serve and reflect the Chorale’s home community better, with opportunities for enhancing community connections and drawing from community talent to help develop fresh programming.
As the organization’s leadership, we are pleased to observe the Chorale reaching steadily out into the community and expanding efforts beyond providing just excellent choral music and deriving satisfaction from doing so. The Chorale’s expanded philanthropy, educational opportunities to support young singers, performances in the community, and increasingly creative concert programming deepen its understanding of its mission, and impel it to hone its strategies for carrying out that mission, as it transitions toward more integrated and active engagement in the cultural life of its community. We admire our members’ dedication to excellence and their determination to make a difference in their community. We look forward to leading them as they implement plans presently being developed to expand education programs and encourage diversity in the near future.
Upon receiving support from the Community Foundation to fund the position of Executive Director on a part-time contracted basis, the Chorale hired Ms. Alice Hummel in 2012. After an extensive search for candidates with strong development and leadership skills, Ms. Hummel was chosen for her strong business background and not-for-profit experience.
Ms. Hummel possesses an impressive business-world track record as an entrepreneur. Until she sold her last business in 2006, she founded and successfully operated several companies. Her broad range of skills includes finance, strategic and long-range planning, public relations, advertising, and personnel management.In the not-for-profit world, Ms. Hummel has served on many Boards, including the New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s , where she served as First Vice President, chaired the Development Committee, served on the Finance, Executive, Nominating, and Strategic Planning Committees, and, over a fifteen year period, produced many of NHSO’s special events. Ms. Hummel also served on the Boards of the Birmingham Group, The Visiting Nurses of South Central Connecticut, Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven, Neighborhood Music School, Friends of Yale New Haven Hospital, the March of Dimes, the Auxiliary of the Hospital of St. Raphael, and the Board of Governors of the Farms Country Club. In her role as President of the Friends of Yale New Haven Hospital for two years, she actively raised funds. In addition, Ms. Hummel chaired the 20th Anniversary Gala for Columbus House, chaired a major event for the Yale School of Music, in collaboration with Neighborhood Music School, and served on the Yale New Haven Hospital Gala committee. Ms. Hummel has recruited many Board members and committee members to work on fundraisers for many not-for-profits in the New Haven area.
Since joining the Chorale, Ms Hummel has produced enormously successful Galas, handled all administrative functions for the Board, increased both sponsorship and grant revenue.
With a 66 year history of collaboration, the Chorale sees additional opportunities ahead for innovation and for financial sustainability by sharing audience and resources. The Chorale has always collaborated artistically with area soloists and ensembles to offer new, under-performed and classic repertory, and to create performance and mentoring opportunities for musicians and its members. It has collaborated with the Yale Glee Club, Yale Camerata, and Yale Philharmonia, Greenwich Choral Society, the Heritage Chorale, Hunter College chorus and symphony orchestra. It has worked with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Chorale, Orchestra New England, Alturas Duo, the Trinity Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs, the Elm City Girls’ Choir, the United Church Choir, Neighborhood Music School, Music Haven, Trinity Girls' Choir,Ct Concert Opera and the St. Martin de Porres Academy chorus and orchestra. The Chorale frequently partners with the chorus and symphony orchestra of the Hartt School of Music and commissions new work with area composers. Multi-media performances foster cooperation with artists working in other media and build bridges among the arts. The Chorale is very excited about its plans for a major collaboration with students and orchestra from the Hartt School of Music,students from Manchester Community College and from Ct Children's Chorus. In addition we are in contact with other arts organuzations and non profits with the goal of developing new relationships and collaborations. We are beginning dialogue with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University and the Neighborhood Music School with the objective of developing new collaborations.
Chorale leadership encourages members to focus on the following tactical challenges related to transitioning from all-volunteer management to professional management while sustaining growth and innovation.
The Board of Directors sees the following management-related challenges, each of which presents tactical-level opportunities of its own: (1) The need to implement mission and strategic plan, with opportunities for more efficient use of resources and mission-driven innovation; (2) The need for fundraising in a challenging economy, with opportunities for new community connections, expanded collaboration, and improved efficiency, and; (3)The need for organizational transition, with opportunities for improved efficiency, greater leveraging of volunteerism, and growing Executive and Development roles into separate, full-time Directorships that will become self-funding, advance financial sustainability, and optimize management.
The Board recognizes a special institutional challenge in the need for greater Chorale diversity. The Chorale plans to expand methods ofattracting audiences from less-served community populations, and for soliciting audition candidates to increase member diversity to reflect more nearly that of its service area over the course of the next three seasons. Expanding the Governance Committee’s Board cultivation into year-round work will support greater Board diversity. The Executive Directorship provides the ability to open high-level dialogues with community leaders to identify new opportunities and determine an effective course of action. The Board takes special interest in these initiatives.
The Chorale leadership welcomes these challenges and embraces these opportunities as it moves ahead in its commitment to provide exceptional choral music, enhance the cultural life of the entire community, and put choral music to work making a difference.
The Board is extremely engaged and devoted to the implementation of its Mission and Strategic Plan, generously giving of their time, talents and financial support., Chorale leadership encourages members to focus on strategic challenges related to transitioning from all-volunteer management to professional management while sustaining growth and innovation.
We see the following governance-related challenges, each of which presents strategic-level opportunities of its own: (1) the need for increasing organizational efficiency, with opportunities to strengthen the Chorale’s existing committees—Membership, Finance and Development, Communications, Artistic, Production, Archive and History, Governance, and Strategic Planning--to leverage and coordinate its volunteer work force; (2) the need to improve measurement of institutional performance, with opportunities to expand the Governance Committee to full capability in order to develop and apply performance measures and engage capable Board membership on an on-going basis; (3) the need to implement and update the strategic plan, with opportunities for reinforcing committee development and implementing committee goals and objectives, and; (4) the need for audience, member, and Board diversification, with opportunities for governing the Chorale more responsiveness to community needs and aspirations.
The Chorale is governed by its Board, consisting of both singers and non-singing community members, which works diligently with its Executive Director to ensure that the mission is achieved, goals and objectives are met, standards of excellence are upheld, and the Chorale operates within a budget that ensures fiscal soundness while maintaining existing programs and providing for development and innovation.
The Board is aware that the Chorale needs to concentrate on its transition from an all-volunteer, informally-managed community group to a formally-managed, non-profit community-service organization, remaining ‘volunteer-fueled’ and self-governed while fully maintaining a professional standard of management. We support the Chorale in this transition, and in its strategy of engaging volunteers for community service as it operates with the effectiveness and efficiency needed to leverage those resources to become financially sustainable in the current economic and cultural environment.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The Chorale’s leadership encourages members to focus on challenges of achieving financial sustainability as it continues its transition from all-volunteer to professional management in order to ensure growth and innovation. Financial challenges lie ahead, each of which presents opportunities as well. The Chorale has identified 4 needs:(1) fundraising in a challenging economy, with opportunities for varied community engagement, expanded collaboration, and improved efficiency; (2) Creative budgeting to sustain program growth and innovation; (3) building professional leadership by expanding Executive and Development roles into two distinct, full-time Directorships, and; (4) building an endowment to achieve financial sustainability by establishing enduring relationships with individual, organizational and corporate supporters.
The Board is acutely aware that growing revenue and completing a capital campaign are challenging in this economy and the transitioning from public to private funding of the arts. The Board is gratified to see that the Capital Campaign been has raised $100,000 in pledges applied to the Endowment as they are collected. The Capital campaign has been completed, it has generated additional Endowment funding due to the enduring relevance of the Chorale’s community-service mission. Plans are proceeding for establishing a New Haven Chorale Foundation to administer this endowment effectively on behalf of the community. Our leadership enthusiastically endorses the Chorale’s commitment to sustain program growth, to innovate and to serve the community, in spite of many challenges, including finding the resources to make good on this commitment. We feel strongly that bold initiatives founded on sound financial planning, not retreat from the cultural arena, are the way to thrive. The arts can provide vital cultural leadership, especially in stressful times, to the community, and the Chorale proudly accepts this role along with the inherent financial responsibilities.
The New Haven Chorale is not required to have an Annual Audit. It does use an accounting firm to generate its 990 statements. The Treasurer and the Finance Committee are charged with the internal monitoring of all accounts.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
70 Audubon Street
New Haven, CT 06150
(203) 777-2386 giveGreater@cfgnh.org
© 2015 The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. All Rights Reserved. Contact | Terms & Conditions | Privacy