Become Part of the Journey
Letter from the Artistic Director
In March of 2008, I interviewed, auditioned and was appointed the artistic director of Los Robles Master Chorale. If someone had told me that the 35-voice choir would turn into a 100-voice choir in four years; that we would expand from one part-time staff member to four; that our budget would grow 15 times what it was when we started; that we would own assets like our music library; and that this organization would become incredibly important to me personally, I might not have believed him or her. Yet, all of these things are true.
Our institution has embarked upon a journey together that has been filled with music, dedication, and a lot of hard work on the part of many people, starting with the singers' commitment and focus in rehearsals, to our staff working what amounts to be full-time positions yet barely being compensated for one tenth of what they do, to all of the volunteers in our choir and on our board of directors who simply make the impossible happen every season. It is staggering to me personally to consider a love of choral music any greater than that of the Los Robles Master Chorale family.
Over the past four seasons, we have expanded the type of repertoire we sing to not only feature masterworks and old friendly favorites, but also the work of new composers that have stretched not only our choir, but also our audience. We have focused on the youth in our community by offering High School Leadership Workshops and High School Festivals, in addition to our Young Composer's Competition, which affords opportunity to young composers who might not be enjoying the world premieres of their music that they deserve. We also reach out to seniors in our community by offering performances in their venues so that they don't have to leave the comfort of their living spaces. Our institution has grown by 33% in personnel; 75% in staff; our budget is 15 times larger; we perform four times the amount of concerts as we did in my first season; and our patrons have more than doubled.
All of this is incredibly exciting news for choral music in southern California! Chorus America did a study in 2009 which revealed that 42.6 million Americans sing in some kind of choir, which translates to one in every five households having at least one choral singer living in it! There are more than 270,000 choruses in the United States, and most of us operate without much support from the government or corporate sponsorships. Most institutional budgets derive from individual giving; about 90% of an arts organization's budget comes from individual donors - a staggering number when you compare it to our neighbors to the north who have state-sponsored arts, which is also the case in Europe.
Why give to us instead of someone else? Keep reading!
The human voice has an ineffable power to invoke the passion and humanity inside all of us because it's an integral part of our daily lives - it's how we communicate to our loved ones, friends, co-workers and the world. It expresses our sorrows and fears, hopes and dreams all in the smallest utterance of tone; it's in the softest cry or the loudest shout of joy - and when you experience a large group of human voices combined together singing, it can swell your heart with rapture or reduce you to silent tears. Sometimes it reminds us of the sweetness of first love or it comforts us when we have suffered a loss; and it lifts us when we think we simply can't go on.
No other instrument on earth has the depth and power of the human voice.
Los Robles Master Chorale is more than 100 voices strong. Hearing this choir in a live performance is an experience that will stay with you - the power of these combined voices is moving to say the least. If you haven't heard us lately, you haven't heard us!
We have been a part of the Ventura County community for 34 years, and next year is our 35th Anniversary Season. We are looking forward to presenting only the best choral music performances that we can - but we are in need of your help! Like so many other arts and music institutions in America, we can't survive without you, our patrons and donors. You are the most important part of our organization next to the singers themselves!
Socrates said that civilizations are judged centuries later by the arts and culture they leave behind; if that is so, what will we be leaving for those examining us two hundred years from now? What type of legacy do we want to leave not only for our own community of Ventura County, but also for the larger picture of America? It's up to all of us to work together to keep our artistic institutions healthy; we can't wait for our neighbors to step up before us - I'm asking all of our patrons, donors and friends to lead in your community right now by donating to Los Robles Master Chorale to help make our 35th Anniversary Season a smashing success!
I can promise you that with your tax-deductible contribution to our 501(c)3, we will use it to inspire our audiences, listeners, youth and friends by giving voice to the human spirit in all of us - And that has to be a better use of your tax dollars than what our Congressional friends in Washington DC have been doing!
Los Robles Master Chorale
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