HerVoice Year One Recap - Chicago a cappella

While revisiting and virtually performing some of our favorite songs provided us some solace in quarantine, what really energized us was dreaming about and making plans for our future. In January 2021, with Stacy Garrop onboard as a mentor composer and chair of the selection committee, we announced a call for submissions for the HerVoice Emerging Women Composers Competition. Open to composers of all ages who identify as female, from anywhere in the world, free of charge, the program aimed to promote the work of promising composers and provide hands-on training to further their skills in choral composition. Strong partners were quickly drawn into the work, including the American Choral Director’s Association, the Grammy award-winning Kansas City Chorale and conductor Charles Bruffy, Zanaida Robles, and Chen Yi. In February 2022, just over one year later, despite a global pandemic, we premiered two new works by winners Sarai Hillman and Edna Yeh on our live concert series.

A Strong Start

Response to the competition was overwhelmingly positive with over 80 submissions from 13 countries. The committee chose not just one, but four winners: Sarai Hillman, Jessica Rudman, Leah Tracy, and Edna Yeh.

Free group mentoring sessions led by Stacy Garrop on running a career as a choral composer and navigating the music world as a female composer were held in July 2021, open to all participating composers.

“Stacy’s talk was so good. Really inspirational. It had an immediate impact on me. I actually paused the talk and immediately set to work on website improvements. And I have had a good think about the things she said:  know who you want to commission you; know your goals. It was all gold-dust; thank you so much.” 

Winners connected with mentor composers over Zoom to continue refining the performance scores and composers Sarai Hillman and Edna Yeh attended a workshop in Fall 2021 to hear their works performed live and work directly with Chicago a cappella ahead of their premiere in February 2022. Sarai and Edna returned to Chicago in February to attend four performances of their works by Chicago a cappella and personally introduce themselves and their works to audiences.

Want to learn more about how you can support this important program? Contact Matt Greenberg by email  (mgreenberg@chicagoacappella.org) or by phone (773) 281-7820×2 for more information or make a donation here.

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