NHMC and Black Lives Matter: An Action Plan
The New Hampshire Master Chorale stands allied with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 17-year-old New Hampshire Master Chorale’s stated mission is to “enrich the cultural community of New Hampshire.” Increasingly this has taken the form of socially conscious programming that addresses such themes as discrimination on the basis of gender and disability, violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community, the plight of refugees and the power of loving acceptance.
In this time of heightened awareness of overt and unconscious racism throughout our society, the Master Chorale is moved to declare its specific intent to pursue anti-racist goals. We acknowledge we are a primarily white organization in a state that is well over 90 percent white. If anything, that increases our obligation to envision and exemplify the world we aspire to live in, not to conform to a racist system we have allowed ourselves to tolerate through our own privilege.
To respond to this entrenched racism and to move our organization forward, we commit to the following goals:
NHMC will commission new music and perform existing works that promote an anti-racist agenda.
NHMC will prioritize the hiring of guest artists and commissioning of new works by composers from BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous and People of Color).
NHMC will work to reach a wider range of audiences across New Hampshire. This will involve new marketing efforts and an extension of our existing “pay what you are able” ticketing to remove barriers to access of our performances.
NHMC will develop opportunities for regular conversations with our audiences, performers and guest commentators to reflect on the issues presented by the music we perform and discuss ways we all can address them.
NHMC will establish a standing committee to translate these goals into action plans and develop methods to track their impact.
Moved by the challenges of the present moment, a generous donor has anonymously pledged $10,000 to help us begin the process of translating these goals into actions.
Master Chorale members hold ourselves personally accountable to achieving these intentions, and we call on our community to hold our organization accountable.
Finally, the NHMC urges other New Hampshire organizations to consider how they might further our collective need to eradicate racism. We are happy to collaborate with others as we all learn what creative forms this may take. At base, we firmly believe in the power of music to change hearts and minds, and to motivate us all to work toward the change we yearn for.
About This Action Plan
This document was created over two weeks with contributions from over 20 members of the New Hampshire Master Chorale community. It was then reviewed by the entire choral roster before being distributed to the public on Saturday, June 13, 2020.
This document was guided by numerous community voices as well as some of the following resources:
Three Articles by David Howse at ArtsEmerson