One Young Voice | All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis (ACCA)
In-person rehearsals and performances for the All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis (ACCA) ground to a halt on Friday, March 13, 2020. Thinking this was a short-term situation, ACCA staff swiftly adjusted to hosting virtual rehearsals via Zoom in an effort to prepare for the end-of-year concert. Unfortunately, that performance was cancelled, as was the July 4th concert which was to be part of a naturalization ceremony at the William Paca House. ACCA was also forced to back out of a trip to New Orleans in June for the Crescent City Choral Festival, losing the non-refundable deposit on airfare.
Despite challenges, the organization continued programming, albeit in new and innovative ways. A free summer program, made available to all interested children, kept the choral community connected. For six weeks, artistic staff-led rehearsals that included vocal technique, music literacy, and team building activities, as well as virtual performance preparation. In lieu of a final concert, singers submitted individual video recordings, which staff turned into a video for students to enjoy and share.
As pandemic restrictions continued into the fall, ACCA made the health and safety of the community their highest priority and remained virtual, despite mounting logistical and financial challenges. Enrollment dropped by 23%. Sponsorships and donations dropped. The Artistic Director and Business Manager took significant, voluntary pay cuts. Not being able to host in-person concerts meant no ticket revenue. Technology glitches, different internet speeds, poor sound quality, and not being able to sing and hear each other during rehearsal required changes in approach.
The GAP grant, provided by the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, gave ACCA the boost they needed to overcome these challenges. ACCA was able to pay its employees, who in turn provided critical one-on-one and small group additional training to support its members. The GAP funding made possible scholarships for students in need. It also allowed ACCA to partner with Maryland composer and conductor Chris Fox, leading to a commissioned work “One Young Voice” written specifically for All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis. Singers submitted recordings of themselves singing songs learned in rehearsals, which are being compiled into a virtual choir video by a professional audio/video engineer. Later in May, ACCA singers will host a world premiere of this song in May at the end of season virtual concert. This unique opportunity will provide lasting memories for ACCA singers and their families, and all made possible by GAP funding from the Arts Council.
To connect and learn more about All Children’s Chorus of Annapolis, visit allcca.org
Fill the Streets with Music and Color | Kristi Allen
If you attended ARTS virtually last week, you met local singer/songwriter Kristi Allen. Kristi has lived and performed in the Annapolis area for the past four years. She started playing music out in Charleston, South Carolina almost 20 years ago and has played many hundreds of gigs in restaurants, bars, street fairs, and salty marinas up and down the east coast. She blends folk, country, and a dash of emotive grit, writing songs that speak to everyday struggles and hopes. She also performs a mix of 70s folk-rock, country, and alt-country cover songs that she refers to as, “Songs that people forgot they liked.”
Kristi tells us, “Crazy times make for creative innovations and for heart and soul-searching art. These COVID times have pushed us to the brink of sanity and back. I am no exception. Adversity stirs the pot of the artist’s collective mind and bends us to create something before we break in two.”
Kristi describes her time during COVID when, for the first time in her life, she had time on her hands and sat down to write the next chapters of her musical story. There were frustrations, including writer’s block, new technology to learn, and physical limitations, but gratitude ultimately won out. “I had time to be frustrated and then get back to the creation of music. And I am truly grateful for that,” she said. The time and resources to create one’s art is the greatest gift to a creative soul. Part of what makes me grateful is my art community, supportive friends, and art collectives in the area. The GAP grant provided to me because I am an Annapolis artist makes me feel part of a community that cares I exist. You care that my fellow artists and I can continue to do our part to make our town vibrantly expressive, unique, and creative…to continue to fill the streets with music and color.”
To connect and learn more about Kristi Allen, visit kristiallenmusic.com/
The COVID-19 Relief Grants for the Arts Program (GAP) funding made possible by County Executive Steuart Pittman and the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.
Click here for information regarding the Anne Arundel County GAP Grant for Independent Artists
Click here for information regarding the Anne Arundel County GAP Grant for Arts Organizations