Although we actively seek to expand the diversity of our membership, our Master Chorale membership is mostly non-Black. As a result, no matter how hard we try, we can never fully comprehend what Black Americans face every day. Although it will take time, we are committed to reflecting inwardly to identify actionable steps that we can take as an organization to participate in positive change, and we are determined that any intentional and unintentional racial bias in our organization will be eliminated. Earlier this year we adopted the slogan, “The Voice of Tampa Bay.” This line is aspirational for us considering there are still many voices not represented in our Master Chorale. We commit to actively recruiting more people of color to every aspect of our organization.
Music has the power to connect us all, to affect change, and to transcend all societal barriers. One of our singers reminded us that “We’ve sung music that expresses the suffering of an entire people. We’ve cried in shared grief at the raw emotion these works force us to experience for the barest glimpse into some of the worst kinds of human suffering. How can we sing these things yet not boldly say ‘it is intolerable’?” It is intolerable! And we hope that, in sharing that glimpse into the Black American Experience through song, we help lift up voices left unheard for far too long. With that in mind we humbly share our recording of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (informally known as the “Black National Anthem”) from our Peace Project CD recorded in 2012 and featuring soloist Sharon Scott.