When you think about your mentors, chances are they were active in maintaining choral programs and promoting funding. Their efforts and influence made it possible for many of the programs and efforts thriving today. As a member of the choral community, we urge you to consider adding your voice to theirs in the vital effort for continuity.
Become a Choral Advocate
Sign up to become an ACDA Choral Advocate! By doing so, you join your voice with thousands of others to make an advocacy choir. You will also receive periodic advocacy emails with ideas, resources, and calls to action.
Learn about "Everyday Advocacy"
There are many ways that you can do choral advocacy in your everyday work life, mainly by incorporating a message into the activities you already do. Karen Bruno leads choral conductors through this process and more in her Choral Journal article "Everyday Advocacy for Your Choral Program" (2019). See Resources. By asking yourself and your choristers some "why" questions, you can develop a compelling story about the choral art. Bruno suggests sharing that story and message through activities you already do: concert themes and program notes, invitations to performances, publicity for your concerts, and involving your singers.
Share your message more widely with decisionmakers
Are you ready to engage with decisionmakers? Those with power will usually respond to a balance of statistics and personal stories. It's a good idea to think about what their needs are and how to connect your message with those needs. For example:
- Engaging legislators. Since representatives are much in demand, have a clear and direct message about what you want them to. Personal stories that bring the issue home to them in terms of their constituents are especially powerful. If you are able to meet in person with them, be able to make your request concisely and have a one-pager to leave behind with some quickly digestable statistics and message.
- Engaging administrators. Try to help school administrators and board members see you as a resource, building a relationship over time. Partner with parents and students in sharing your message. Send a personal invitation to your concerts. Have students share how choir impacts their education and their lives. Tooshar Swain's article "Music Education Advocacy Post ESSA" (2019) can help you speak their language. See Resources.
- Engaging clergy. For congregation-based choirs, clergy are critical to the success of your music program. They are generally "people persons" and need to understand the impact that choral music has in your congregation, including for your singers. If you have denominational support for choirs and singing as a part of worship, use it!
5 Reasons to Advocate
Check out this helpful infographic.