What is a strategic plan and why do we need one?
A strategic plan is the result of all stakeholders in an organization deciding what its goals will be and how those goals will be achieved. NWGC staff, board, alums, and choristers were deeply involved in the process that led up to this new plan. The strategic plan will keep us focused and accountable to the priorities and goals we identified.
Why don’t we see more emphasis on performance or artistry in this strategic plan?
A strategic plan is meant to focus on areas of growth; artistic excellence is not a new priority but will continue to be an important part of our work. NWGC will continue to provide our community with meaningful performances; we have identified additional focus areas needed to support our students’ personal and artistic growth and development.
Why the new wording and focus on “girls and all youth marginalized by gender”?
NWGC is a treble choir organization that serves female, nonbinary, and trans students, and has done so for many years. With this phrase in our mission statement, we intentionally welcome additional nonbinary and trans youth who sing in the treble range.
Will Northwest Girlchoir change its name?
At this time, Northwest Girlchoir does not plan to change its name.
Will we lose the safe space for girls and young women?
Absolutely not! Creating safe space for female, nonbinary, and trans students is the same work. NWGC rehearsals, performances, and events are meant to continue the tradition of celebrating the strength and potential in all young people living in a patriarchal world.
How will all of this change the chorister experience?
The only true change is to bring more intentionality to our teaching. If choristers notice any change at all, it will be that teacher-conductors are being more inclusive in their pedagogy (teaching practice). They will have a deeper understanding of the music they learn, create a more personal response to the music they sing, and feel a deeper sense of belonging and community.
How many trans and nonbinary students are enrolled in NWGC?
We don’t know! And we may never fully know because our choristers are figuring this out daily, weekly, and monthly, and because gender identity is fluid. Just as the number of left-handed people “increased” when being left-handed became socially acceptable, the number of students who are telling NWGC that they are nonbinary and trans is increasing as they feel more comfortable bringing their full selves to our rehearsal and performance spaces. In 2023-24, there are several choristers in each choir from Fresca through Amore who identified as nonbinary or trans in their registration materials or nametag pronouns.
What does “embodied music-making" mean?
In short, it means “singing.” Singers do not have an “external instrument” like a violin or saxophone – their instrument is their physical body. If a singer is not comfortable fully inhabiting their body, tension creeps into their singing voice. Helping young people be comfortable in their physical bodies not only helps them to be more artistic, expressive, and vocally free while they sing, it helps them literally move through the world in a way that is authentic and joyful.
What does “intersectional” mean and why does it matter?
Professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw coined this term in 1989 as she identified the double discrimination – racism and sexism – faced by Black women. Intersectionality is a way to acknowledge that varying aspects of our social identities overlap, and that different systems of oppression or discrimination compound. Intersectionality helps us understand that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination or oppression; it calls us to consider all the ways our students can feel marginalized.