Civil Rights Choir Tour
A concert tour of important sites related to the Civil Rights struggle.
Atlanta, Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham
July 3-7, 2019
Over four days, GCB will be joined by the Congressional Chorus of Washington DC in performing concerts that give voice to the struggle for civil rights with the hope of helping to create change and cultivate a deeper understanding of race in the United States.
Why this trip in 2019?
The year 2019 marks the centennial of the Red Summer of 1919 when a series of deadly racial
conflicts and lynchings in more than 30 American cities led to hundreds of people, most of
them black, being killed or lynched, thousands of African-American businesses being destroyed
and tens of thousands being forced to flee their homes.
The Great Migration that began in 1910 involved the relocation of more than 6 million African-
Americans who moved from the southern United States to the Midwest, West and Northeast
over a 60-year period. Spurred by limited economic opportunities, Jim Crow segregation laws,
and violence and lynchings by the KKK, African-Americans found employment in industrial cities
that were experiencing labor shortages due to World War I. When soldiers returned from the
war to major cities in the US, white workers in the North and Midwestern cities resented the
African-Americans who were given jobs they once held in factories. In addition, African-
American soldiers did not receive the same benefits as white soldiers who fought in the same
war. Tensions reached a boiling point in May of 1919 when the first racially-motivated attacks
began. The period from May to October of 1919 during which these racial conflicts occurred is
referred to as the “Red Summer.”
Fast forward a century. What progress have we made? The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting
Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 all led to reforms. Nonetheless, there
remain daily parallels between the headlines of 1919 and those of today. This tour will provide
insights to the long dark shadow of racism in the United States.
Grace Chorale of Brooklyn participated in The Mile-Long Opera, a citywide public engagement project that brought together 1,000 singers from across New York for free performances on The High Line, October 3—7 2018.
If you were there, you found us strewn along the High Line between 22nd and 23rd street
Click the link above for more information about the Composers, Conceivers, and Producers
Grace Chorale of Brooklyn adds new voices to the chorus each year. Our informal auditions take place in Septembers and Januarys prior to the concert seasons. We welcome singers with a passion for choral harmony. Nominal sight reading always helps, but good pitch and a good ear are the most important! We are always looking particularly for bass, baritone, and tenor voices, but sopranos and altos are welcome as well. No special preparation is required.
We take our singing seriously, but do so in a relaxed, collegial, and playful atmosphere. Join us.
The audition times for the 2019 Spring Season are between 6:30 and 7:00 pm on March 6 and 13th.
If you would like to audition, please complete our online application HERE and one of our Membership Committee members will get back to you confirming your audition date and time. Alternatively, you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Auditions take place in our rehearsal space at Grace Church, 254 Hicks St. in Brooklyn Heights, which can be easily reached by subway: the 3, 4, 5, F, R and M.
COMMUNITIES IN HARMONY
Community choruses changing the world one community at a time.
Founded by GCB Music Director Jason Asbury, Communities in Harmony supports diverse choral groups across the United States. In Jason's words:
"Community arts organizations create spaces for musicians, visual artists, and dancers ages 5-105 to come together, work together, create together, and engage in a collaborative process that builds relationships across race, culture, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status and political affiliation. Strong community arts programs create strong communities.
As someone who has dedicated much of my life to the art of choral singing, I have witnessed the impact of its formidable power on various communities. The purpose of Communities in Harmony is to highlight community choruses around the country that bring people together to achieve something bigger than any individual can achieve and to create awareness about how choral music is changing the world. In 2017, I will feature one choir from each of the 50 states."
When Off GCB Duty...
On May 1, Assistant Music Director Matt Podd's trio Mimi and the Podd Brothers will release their Jazz/Opera Mashup album: Live in Brooklyn
To view a snippet of the live performance recorded at the Shapeshifter Lab on November 9th, 2017
Grace Chorale of Brooklyn invites you to support our concerts of great choral music by
advertising in our concert programs. We are a diverse community chorus of eighty‐five voices
dedicated to the performance and promotion of choral singing, serving Greater Brooklyn for the
past forty years. Our concerts, performing partnerships, and educational outreach events
continue to offer a wide variety of choral music to our audience while providing singers the
opportunity to study the art of choral singing under the dynamic and professional leadership of
Music Director Jason Asbury and Assistant Music Director Matt Podd. We present two to three
programs each year.
This past December, our Holiday concert, Navidad Nuestra, featured an intimate ensemble
of strings and percussion, accompanying us in a program of holiday music by Spanishspeaking
composers from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century
This spring, on May 5th & 6th, 2018, we are excited to present Messiahs False and True,
encompassing three works which address the theme of charismatic leaders throughout
history. For more information, see our website: www. gracechorale.org
Your advertisement in our program booklet will present your business to sophisticated
audiences and indicate your support of fine choral music in Brooklyn. It will appear at all
upcoming performances — the May concert and our Holiday concert in December 2018.
There are a variety of ad sizes and prices that you may choose from (download ad form here), including
full‐page ads that are placed in the most prominent positions in the program booklet. Smaller
ads will be placed throughout the program booklet at a lower cost.
To thank you for your support, we will welcome you and a guest to any of these concerts.
Advertisers who wish to attend the May 2018 concert can reserve tickets by contacting
With sincere gratitude for your support,
40th Anniversary Gala
On May 22nd, 2017 the Chorale celebrated our 40th Anniversary singing in music to Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Historical Society was rocking (even the fire department got into the act)...proof:
Need we say more?...
A joint concert with Grace Chorale of Brooklyn and the Congressional Chorus of Washington DC.
(To hear music clips from American Voices, click here...)
In a reprise of our joint concert last year held in Washington, D.C. at the home of The Congressional Chorus, this year they came to "our house" in Brooklyn.
The Joint Concert was held on June 10th at Saint Ann's Church in Brooklyn Heights, featuring String quartets and a Big Jazz Band. The theme was American Composers and the music included:
By The Congressional Chorus:
VAMO LA! by Christopher Urquiaga
(First Generation American Composer of Peruvian and Brazilian descent)
Movement One - "Those Times"
Movement Two - "Amor Profundo"
Movement Three - "Vamo La!"
Excerpts from CALLING ALL DAWNS by Christopher Tin
Movement One - "Baba Yetu" (Swahili)
Movement Five - "Rassemblons-Nous" (French)
Movement Ten - "Hamsafar" (Farsi)
Movement Eleven - "Sukla-Krsne" (Sanskrit)
Movement Twelve - "Kia Hora Te Marino" (Maori)
By the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn:
"Three Joyce Poems" from James Joyce’s Chamber Music by Brooklyn-based composer Vince Peterson
"Red Red Rose" by James Mullholand
"April Song" by Brooklyn based composer Matt Podd
Sacred Concert by Duke Ellington
Parts 1, 6, 8 and 10
“Praise God and Dance”
“Praise god and Dance”
American the Beautiful, arranged by Michael McCarthy
The Fourth Annual Brooklyn Summer Sing-In of 2017 was a rousing success. Singers from all over the borough turned on Wednesday, June 10th. A big, heart-warming gathering, from 7 choirs, their conductors, their friends, family and neighbors, came together to make music.
What glorious voices!
Thanks to Jason Asbury (Our Leader! Grace Chorale of Brooklyn), Aaron Williams (Brooklyn Contemporary Chorus), Nelly Vuksic (Brooklyn Conservatory Chorale), Douglas March (Brooklyn Philharmonia), Jim DiBenedetto, and Steve Coburn (Brooklyn Community Chorus). Other Conductors (whose pix we need!): Jessica Corbin (Bella Voce Singers), Dusty Francis (Park Slope Singers), and Rachel Brook (Brooklyn Jewish Community Chorus).
For more pics of the event, visit out FaceBook Page (Grace Chorale of Brooklyn) and "like" us.
Having Fun Tuning Up Before Friday's Performance!
Enjoy a warm remembrance of this Holiday Season's GCB concert with your morning coffee...available for purchase ($13) at all performances.
A finely honed set of GCB members got the Holiday Season going in Brooklyn Hts. on Saturday, 11/28...all of us are honing our singing chops for the big concert coming up on 12/18 and 12/20...bought your tickets yet?
The caroling event is sponsored by The Montague Street Business Improvement District
Each December, on either the first or second Sunday, GCB sings a preview of its Winter Concert at Evensong in support of All Saints' Church work with CHiPS...Since 1971, CHiPS (Park Slope Christian Help, Inc.) has been a community of Brooklyn neighbors, volunteers, and friends who share a common spiritual vision to help those who are less fortunate. They prepare hot, nutritious meals and serve them to the needy.
Join us for Evensong at 5pm and Community Meal at 6pm...
All Saints' Church
286-88 7th Avenue
at the corner of 7th Street
On the evenings of March 5th and March 12th, GCB joined the cast of THE EVENTS at the New York Theater Workshop on East 4th Street in Manhattan. The hit of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it garnered five-star reviews, along with a Fringe First and the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award, the Actors Touring Company production of THE EVENTS has gone on to international acclaim and came to New York for a strictly limited engagement in February and March 2015.
The Chorale sang THE EVENTS' lovely music (Bonkers, How Great Thou Art, Soul, Norwegian Coffee Song, Gabrielo Princep, and We Are All Here ) that underscored Award-winning Scottish playwright David Greig’s play about a community’s search for compassion, peace and understanding in the wake of unthinkable violence. The Chorale also sang a selection (This Heart) from our recently commissioned work, Three Joyce Poems, by Vince Peterson, which debuted at our January Concert.
A few of us showed off our Thespian skills in impromptu roles during the play.
...you know who you are.
Grace Chorale of Brooklyn has been selected to be a part of WNYC/WQXR Radio’s Salute the ARtS Initiative (STAR).
WNYC's Salute The ARts Initiative is a free program that profiles 36 small cultural non-profit organizations in the New York Metropolitan area over a 12-month period, through on-air promotional announcements and free website support.
“We hope that the on-air and website exposure through this program will help to increase awareness of your organization.”
Vincent Peterson (center) directing rehearsals with Music Director, Jason Asbury (right) and Accompanist and Assistant Director, Matthew Henning (left).
Listen below from our January Concert:
Grace Chorale was thrilled to continue its commission series of works by local composers with Three Joyce Poems which was performed over three nights this January at GCB's Winter Concert, Luminous Night.
In the words of its Brooklyn-based composer, Vince Peterson: "Three Joyce Poems is a reflection on fictional and non-fictional matters. The fiction is the digest of a man in love who goes to meet his intended in the woods, all the while his instincts ringing with ominous warnings about falling in love. After he gives himself to his beloved, the two quickly realize that, like all things in life, love is transitory, living "but a day." In other words, fall in love at your own risk, and if you choose to do so, embrace it for the moments of joy it gives to you, rather than focusing on looming heartache. Joyce is a master of this sentiment in these beautiful texts from his incomparable "Chamber Music" - a set of thirty three poems - all in this vein. The non-fictional matter is one of homage to my late teacher and friend, Conrad Susa, who in the course of his life, managed to set all thirty three of Joyce's poems in a series of three cycles. Though I can only hope to hold a candle to Conrad's genius, I know that the universality of these wonderful texts lends itself well to multiple styles and interpretations - something that my good teacher would have always celebrated."
Grace Chorale of Brooklyn has been committed to commissioning new works each season, and premiered Lainie Fefferman's piece, And how was your day today? at our Winter Concert this past January. The twelve part work seeks to reproduce the emotional arc of a typical work day over the span of twelve short movements. In her words:
I love the little surprises and singular excitements that happen in any given day, but it's the predictable regularity of our common experiences that this music underscores: the mid-morning energy, the glory of lunchtime, the afternoon slowdown, and the serenity of returning home at the end of a long workday. Though most of the movements use abstract musical ideas without words, all of the text in this piece comes from members of the choir themselves: I asked each singer to answer questions about their respective daily routines and used their beautiful variety of answers to create word collages for movements 3, 9, and 11. I had a great time writing this piece – a big thanks to Grace and Spiritus for commissioning it!
To hear a clip from And how was your day today? Go to the 2014 Winter Concert page by clicking here