We are proud to have formed the second all-transgender chorus in the nation, here in Boston. That's right: we are proud to be one of two in the entire US (the other is in Oakland, CA and we are dying to talk with them). We saw a need for a trans-only singing space to explore the human voice, to determine (and re-assess as needed) range, work on musical skill building and create community. [NOTE: many of you have asked if you can give a smaller amount, or an amount that isn't on the Rewards list. YOU CAN!!! You can give any amount- $1, $2, $7, $12- any amount!- and you do not have to choose a Reward. THANK YOU for asking and thank you for your pledge!).
ADDING A NOTE HERE IN ALL CAPS AS OUR CAMPAIGN ENDS IN LESS THAN TEN HOURS. WE HAVE EXCEEDED OUR GOAL!!! FUNDS BEYOND OUR INITIAL GOAL WILL HELP US PAY THE IRS FOR OUR INCORPORATING FEE AND ALSO VOLUNTEER STIPENDS AS WE CANNOT YET AFFORD STAFF. OUR VOLUNTEERS SAVE THE DAY HERE WEEK IN WEEK OUT. ALSO, I WILL POST A GOFUNDME LINK BEFORE 11PM TONIGHT WHEN THINGS END! MAZEL TOV PEOPLE!
Resources for transgender singers are extremely limited. When someone goes on testosterone (to transition f2m), what happens to the quality of that person's singing voice? For a transwoman (m2f), how can she train her singing voice to develop a higher range/falsetto without damaging her voice? And for the gender fluid vocalist, where can they find a safe space to explore their singing with the freedom to sing in different sections of a group? For choral singing, many trans voices have ranges that may not fit into the choral world's very binary, traditional ranges of SATB(Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass). Together, under the leadership of composer, choral director and singer Sandi Hammond, we are finding our voices in every way. Our choir rehearsals are more than rehearsals. They are a group voice lesson, a space in which each of us has room to develop our singing sound and to clarify range. Our rehearsals are also a social space in which to make new friends. Ultimately as we learn more about trans voices, as we master musical and vocal skills, as we create and learn trans-appropriate vocal and choral repertoire with the ultimate goal of performing, we are honoring and championing trans identity.
We need funding for rehearsal space, a pianist, sheet music, commissioning arrangements, building a website, and preparing for our first performance. We have tentatively scheduled two discreet invitation-only performances for the fall (invitation-only for safety); we are in a momentum-build for our first public concert in April of 2016, to which ALL of our Kickstarter supporters are invited (see Rewards). We see our April 2016 public concert as the culmination of 18 months of creative work- finding our individual singing voices, finding our group sound, and developing and writing repertoire that is suited to Transgender Vocal Ranges. We can't wait to see you there.
You will see that some of our Rewards in exchange for your generous donations come from our Director individually and/or from individuals within the group. This is because safety is a major issue for the chorus: safety to be completely out and all the implications therein (work, home, etc): safety to be in our videos, safety in terms of public concerts, and safety to create recordings of our work. The video here only shows about half the group. Until our society is more tolerant and accepting of trans-identified, gender fluid, and inter-sex people, and is beyond seeing gender as binary, our group needs to operate, to an extent, in a stealth fashion. This is precisely why funding for this work is so important. The LGBT community has long used choral concerts as a way to conduct outreach and education; we want to do the same, but feel the "T" in LGBT has been unfortunately marginalized. Our group is about trans community and empowerment. Our April 2016 concert will be a chance to celebrate fully-out trans individuals who are free to sing, to perform, to declare their identity proudly, and to educate and connect with the public and a greater audience.
Risks and challenges
Every artistic project is faced with risks and challenges. We are prepared to face and overcome potential intolerance from the public, and to take on the challenge of attracting and maintaining funding from donors. Most choirs in the US operate as 501 C 3's: operating as charitable corporations, which develop a solid base of donors and foundational support. Our goal is to establish ourselves as just such a 501 C 3 and be fundraising rockstars. Revenue can also come from ticket sales and sales of recordings. Our chorus has been up and running for 6 months on a purely volunteer basis, working in donated rehearsal space as we have grown. We have clear plans in the next year to incorporate, with the help of our wonderful pro bono attorney, who is also trans, and to attract funding from a robust and diverse mix of sources. We are confident that our study of the transgender vocal mechanism will attract researchers from the medical community, and in fact area speech pathologists have already shown interest in our work. We are also confident that composers will continue to show interest in writing for our unique vocal ranges;two out-of-state composers have already contacted us. (see Rewards). Word is spreading!
We have been so fortunate as to benefit from many months of volunteer service and original repertoire composed just for the chorus. In these beginning stages, we are still finding our way, still developing a strong foundation that will allow us to grow into the vital, community-serving and community-building organization that we have envisioned.
The Artistic Director and chorus members are well-connected in the artistic/musical communities, LGBT communities, government and private sectors, which enables us to build a sustainable roster of donors.
We have also joined a wonderful national organization called GALA Choruses, which helps LGBT-supportive choirs succeed. GALA is an important resource and ally for us as we grow.
This campaign is our call-to-action to you, to support those in your community who identify as transgender, as gender fluid, as inter-sex, and who may be someone who used to sing, or wants to sing, and has nowhere to go. Our chorus is about so much more than singing together; it is about coming together for a larger purpose, about making a statement against discrimination, about acceptance, tolerance, and love. With your support, we can establish ourselves and deliver a fabulous and uplifting concert in April 2016.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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