DEI Program

DEI Program

Within the parameters of our mission we have found that there is room for involving historically underrepresented groups. Our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program, while in its infancy, has already made progress on some fronts. We are currently in the first year of a five-year plan, and this is one of the areas of focus. A team of three board members is assigned to this and reports on their activities at each board meeting. The team leader subscribed to an intensive Chorus America DEI training program during October and November 2021 and is sharing the knowledge gained with the board. We plan to recruit at least two people of color (POC) to our board of directors, and conversations with potential candidates have begun.

In Cambridge, our home base, the 2020 US Census found that 66.1% of Cambridge residents identify as White, 10.7% as Black, 16.8% as Asian or Pacific islander and 6.4% as some other race or a member of two or more races. Hispanics total 9.5% of the population. 59.8% of the population identify as both White and Non-Hispanic. In Newton, where we regularly concertize, recent demographics are 76.65% White, 14.84% Asian, 3.53% two or more races, 2.96% Black or African American, 1.89% other race, 0.12% Native American, and 0.01% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. We currently have several POC singing regularly in Seraphim. We would like to have similar demographic balances to those described above within our membership in future seasons. Some of our ideas for achieving this are to recruit at community colleges and through local churches.

In terms of the music we perform, we have begun exploring literature by POC. Our 2020-21 season is a good example. Each of the three concert cycles features works by past and present Black American composers. In the second cycle the entire program is by Black Americans. As the traditional audience for choral concerts is largely white, it makes sense that our programming bring to light largely unknown literature by POC. This will broaden horizons, and may lead to increased audience diversity. Publicity will highlight POC content and participation.

We have a fairly active commissioning program, and have long supported new works by women composers, with one recent commission awarded to an American Indian woman. In our current commissioning portfolio we have identified a text by a Black American writer and are looking for a Black composer to set it.

We often feature members of our ensemble as soloists, and occasionally there is the possibility of hiring POC guest artists. There is also potential to tap POC as well to participate in pre-concert forums.