Minnesota is home to a rich music and arts scene. In early February, one of those stellar arts groups celebrates its 20th anniversary: the Twin Cities Women’s Choir.
This choir was formed in 1997 by 13 women and a director who all agreed that there was a need for a non-auditioned community choir. By the next year, the choir had more than doubled to 32 women.
In 2006, a smaller, audition-only group was created called ENCORE! to perform at venues and events too small for the larger choir.
In 2013, the Women’s Choir was approached by the Twin Cities Girls Chorus, which wanted the Women’s Choir to become its fiscal agent. The Girls Chorus was then brought into the choir family, but still maintaining its separate artistic direction.
Today, the Women’s Choir has more than 150 members, is a nonprofit organization and supports the greater musical community through commissioning new works and sponsoring an emerging female composer composition content.
How have they grown so significantly in 20 years? Executive Director Erica Mauter had some thoughts.
“There’s a very strong sense of community in this group,” she said. “Community is really what we are. It’s a safe space for women and a very diverse group. There are social, emotional and physical health benefits to this group.”
Part of those benefits is simply fun.
“Fun is one of our core values,” Mauter said. “Members will have fun. Audiences will have fun. Our choir memorizes all the music, so they’re not staring at a folder—they’re making eye contact with the audience. And we take a great deal of care into crafting each concert’s themes. We take suggestions from our members and do a lot to support our singers’ educations. Anyone who comes to these concerts will see 150 women on stage. That’s a big wall of sound. They’ll be blown away in the best possible way.”
The choir performs three concerts each season: Illuminations, which is held in late November and early December, celebrates the journey of the planet from darkness to light; concerts in February which typically are collaborations with other arts groups; and the annual spring fundraising gala, Divas & Dessert.
This year, however, the concert on Feb. 4 will focus on the 20th anniversary, and the collaboration will be with Women’s Choir alumni. It’s sure to be a special event, and one well worth attending. Tickets are now on sale.
Wonder how that “wall of sound” sounds? Check out this video from the February 2015 concert.
What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.