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Commitment and community keep Stonewall thriving
by Mark Scarbrough for Vocal Area Network
Posted March 12, 2005

The Stonewall ChoraleHow do you keep a non-profit, non-professional, non-endowed chorale running for almost thirty years? No, not practice, practice, practice. Instead, it takes the good will of a committed membership to build an organization that will outlast your own tenure there.

The Stonewall Chorale was founded in 1977 in New York City as the nation's first gay and lesbian chorale. While you may think it has a built-in audience, it in fact gives concerts in what is surely the most chorale-choked corner of the country. Want to do a Messiah in December? Try being an all-volunteer choir and competing among the fifty or so professional ones doing the same rep, all charging about the same for tickets. Yet the Stonewall Chorale, with an annual budget of no more than $60k, has managed to thrive in this full-throat environment. How did that happen?

Of course, there's luck: being in the right place at the right time. And the right place is among its members. So the chorale has used its members as its best resource. Is someone the vice-president of a local bank? Maybe they'd like to h