«harmony the mission of the Yale Alumni Chorus Foundation, Inc. is ...»
the mission of the Yale Alumni Chorus Foundation, Inc. is to develop and nurture
choral music through performance, education, enrichment of the literature, and the
promotion of international choral events.This mission grows out of the long-established
choral tradition at Yale and the ongoing commitment of Yale alumni to the joys of
singing together. Among our goals:
to provide opportunities for foundation members to learn and sing stimulating music in Yale Alumni Chorus concerts in the United States and on goodwill tours abroad;
to promote long-term relationships, partnerships, and artistic exchange programs with other musical organizations—glee clubs, choirs, choruses, singing groups, orchestras—around the world;
to be supportive of the yale glee club associates (ygca) in their mission to support the Yale Glee Club, and to be similarly supportive of the alumni bodies of other Yale singing organizations;
to solicit membership in the foundation from all Yale alumni who sang during their years at Yale and their singing friends and family members;
to create periodic international choral festivals based in NewHaven, Connecticut;
to work in collaboration with the ygca, the yale glee club, and other Yale musical entities in fostering choral instruction and mentoring programs in Yale’s own neighborhoods, the inner city schools of New Haven;
to commission new choral compositions that advance the art of choral music andenhance Yale’s musical legacy;
to provide encouragement and financial support that ensures the continuing vitality of singing at Yale;
to establish exchange scholarships at yale for singers and conductors from countries in which the Yale Alumni Chorus has performed as “Ambassadors of Song”.
2 From the President 6 Report of the Membership Committee 7 Report of the Communications Committee 8 Report of the Development Committee 8 Report of the Finance Committee 9 Report of the Outreach and Financial Assistance Committee 10 Report of the Audit Committee 11 Financial Statements 15 Notes to Financial Statements 18 Officers and Directors 20 History of the Yale Alumni Chorus 25 Foundation Members and Donors Moscow: Yale Alumni Chorus at the Kremlin, April 2003
Welcome to the first annual report of the Yale Alumni Chorus Foundation, Inc. The Foundation has been established to manage the diverse activities of the Yale Alumni Chorus, and to provide support for advancing our mission and goals. Many talented, dedicated, and passionate volunteers have contributed mightily to the success of this new venture. As you will see in these pages, one result of this passion is an organization that can help us change lives through the power of song.
Though the Foundation itself is only a year old, the Yale Alumni Chorus, in its current incarnation, has been singing here and there for seven years. I say “current incarnation” because Yale has had many “alumni choruses” through the years. In fact, any time two or more Elis are embraced in song you could say it is an “Alumni Chorus.” Class Notes of the late 19th century mention numerous Alumni Choruses; prescott bush ’17 formally launched the Glee Club Associates in 1937; tom flournoy ’43 and 2 friends convened an Alumni Chorus at the Yale Club of New York City in the early 1960s; linus travers ’58 founded the Boston Choral Festival in 1999;
and, most recently, clay kaufman ’84 launched the Washington, D.C. Choral Festival. These are but a few.
Because we can’t stop singing! Because Yale is America’s singing university.
Because Yale is the world’s singing university. Nowhere else is song as celebrated, as integral to student life, as integral to alumni life, as at Yale.
From the Yale Musical Society in 1812, to the Yale Glee Club in 1861, to the Whiffenpoofs in 1909 to the newest campus group, Schola Cantorum in 2003, Yale has had a remarkable history of creativity, innovation, and ambassadorship of song.
To wit: A mere four months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Yale Glee Club was touring South America as part of President Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy. The Chilean newspaper El Mercurio hailed the Glee Club visit as a symbol of “a spiritual bond between our peoples,” The newspaper noted that the Yale Glee Club brought “heralds of friendship singing the language of humanity” at a time when the nations of the western hemisphere were facing the spectre of world war.
We could not classify them just as another choral group of first class quality. There is something different here. The members of the Yale Glee Club —in our opinion—are part of the spirit of North America … they have that naturalness which permits them to interpret anything that has beauty and poetry.
there is something different here.
We of the Yale Alumni Chorus intend to continue this legacy of “something different.” Over 500 “true Blue” singers from around the world have now 3 sung in the Yale Alumni Chorus. Our mission is not just one of singing, but of conveying the spirit of Yale, of the United States, of what El Mercurio described as that “most beautiful message of fraternal understanding.” As “Ambassadors of Song,” we travel the world building cultural bridges and changing lives through the power of song.
Here’s what the Foundation supported in 2003:
On April 8, 2003, the Yale Alumni Chorus became the first American chorus to perform at the state kremlin palace in the kremlin. Accompanying the philharmonia of russia with conductor constantine orbelian and international opera star dmitri hvorostovsky, the Chorus sang Russian Patriotic Songs of the Great War, commemorating Russia’s VE Day. This performance New York: The Chorus debuts at Carnegie Hall with Salute to Khachaturian, October 10, 2003 was eventually broadcast to an audience of 98 million on RTR, the Russian television network. U.S. Ambassador to Russia alexander vershbow ’74 was in the Chorus, and introduced YAC to Moscow’s diplomatic community with an evening of festivities at Spaso House, the Ambassador’s residence.
After the Kremlin concert, the Chorus hosted a gala reception at one of Moscow’s premier hotels, the Marriott Royale, with Hvorostovsky, Ambassador Vershbow, Maestro Orbelian, and friends and family in attendance.
The following evening YAC invited the spiritual revival chorus of russia, our onstage Kremlin choral partners, to an emotional singing dinner that united our two countries in song.
On October 8, 2003, at Woolsey Hall in New Haven, the Chorus hosted Maestro constantine orbelian and the philharmonia of russia, pianist dora serviarian kuhn, mezzo marina domashenko, and soprano christianne tisdale ’85 in the 100th Anniversary Salute to Aram Khachaturian. We were designated an official celebrant of the Khachaturian anniversary by the Khachaturian family. The composer’s son, Karen Khachaturian, and his family flew from Moscow to attend our concert, and we were honored to host His Excellency arman kirakossian, the Armenian Ambassador to the United States.
In a week of Khachaturian events, the Foundation also staged the world premiere of the film Khachaturian, produced by peter rosen ’68, at New Haven’s York Square Cinema. The Los Angeles Times called the documentary “as enthralling as it is informative.” On October 10, 2003, the Chorus made its debut at Carnegie Hall, with the Yale Glee Club, in a performance of Khachaturian’s Ode of Joy, as part of Carnegie Hall’s Salute to Khachaturian.
Looking ahead to 2004, plans are well under way for yet another “Ambassador of Song” mission. As a result of that historic Glee Club trip of 1941, numerous South American student groups were inspired to create glee clubs of their own. In 2004 the Yale Alumni Chorus returns to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile to celebrate and renew old friendships. Our concert stops will include the Teatro Castro Alves in Salvador with the bahia symphony orchestra, the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro with Maestro yeruham scharovsky and the brazil symphony orchestra, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires with the buenos aires philharmonic.
Will this concert tour capture that “difference” that is the Yale Alumni Chorus? Will future tours do the same? If you, as Foundation Members, want the Yale Alumni Chorus to inspire, to transcend borders, to change lives, it will. It is your time, your talent, and your treasure that makes the difference. We could be just another chorus, among the thousands that tour abroad every year.
Or, we could be the Yale Alumni Chorus.
The predominant activity of the Foundation is the work of the Chorus. The Foundation was formed to provide support and stability for that remarkable undertaking, and also to advance some important additional initiatives.
While Mark Dollhopf, our President, directs substantial effort and resources to produce our tours and other performance opportunities, the Committees of the Foundation are organized and coordinated by our Vice President, Sherry Agar.
Following are brief reports from the six standing Committees of the Foundation.
New York: Maestro Constantine Orbelian leads the Yale Alumni Chorus in rehearsal at Carnegie Hall with mezzo soprano Marina Domashenko and musicians from the Philharmonia of Russia and the Yale Philharmonia, October 10, 2003 YALE ALUMNI CHORUS FOUNDATION, INC.
Board of Directors Mark R. Dollhopf ’77 President
YAC Foundation Board of Directors 200 (standing l to r ): Tracey Ober, Terry Benson, Henry Becton, Bill Weber, Scott Calvert, Linus Travers, Conner Fay, Matt Ringel, Bill Holding, Marv Berenblum; (seated l to r): Rita Helfand, Betsy Weber, Tim DeWerff, Sherry Agar, Mark Dollhopf; (missing from photo): Robert Blocker, Brit Geiger, Peter Sipple, Chris Smith, David Tang History of the YALE ALUMNI CHORUS “As Ambassadors of Song, the Yale Alumni Chorus is dedicated to fostering international harmony and goodwill through song, inspiring creative collaborations with the world’s leading performers and performing arts organizations.” In 1997, a group of singing alumni from Yale dreamed about trying to recapture the magic of their undergraduate days with an international tour. Led by an indefatigable Mark Dollhopf ’77, whose vocabulary, like that of many Yalies, does not include the word “impossible,” these alumni set up a tour to China (China!) and sent out invitations to fellow alumni singers from the Yale Glee Club.
The overwhelming response surpassed all expectations and with applications pouring in, dream became reality, culminating in an inaugural, triumphant Yale Alumni Chorus Tour to China in 1998. The two-week concert tour brought 280 Yale alumni, families, and friends to the People’s Republic of China on a cultural mission that coincided with a time of especially friendly relations between the two countries. President Clinton had just made a successful visit and billboards with his image still adorned city streets.
The Yale Alumni Chorus received red carpet treatment from the Chinese government and a warm embrace from the Chinese people. Performing side by side with Chinese musicians, the Chorus caused local audiences to simultaneously weep and cheer with thrilling renditions of familiar folk songs in Mandarin and the rarely heard Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, banned under previous regimes.
The Yale Alumni Chorus, directed by David Connell ’91Mus, won first place in the China International Chorus Festival, and performed with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra and the Pomegranate Flower Singing School children’s choir, and the Shanghai National Broadcasting Orchestra.
Xi’an: In performance at the People’s Theater with the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra and the Pomegranate Flower Singing School children’s choir, July 30, 1998 For most tour members, the defining moment for the nascent Yale Alumni Chorus came with a musical exchange at the Xi’an Normal School. Chinese students and Yale alumni across generations from the oldest graduate from the class of 1936 to the youngest from the class of 1997 talked to each other of peace and harmony through that universal communicator, which is song.
Later, the local hosts generously invited small groups of the American visitors into their homes to make dumplings and share a meal. But the music did not stop. Strains of “Fol de Rol” from Eli Yale commingled with melodies from the Chinese national anthem and echoed through Xi’an’s narrow stone streets carrying a message of hope.
The Yale Alumni Chorus continues to foster that spirit of international goodwill within the context of world-class choral music. The Chorus consists of select singing alumni of Yale–men and women who still perform and enrich the artistic lives of their communities. But they are also leaders in business, law, medicine, education, the arts, philanthropy, and divinity. As “Ambassadors of Song,” they travel the world building cultural bridges and changing lives through the power of song. 21 This mission comes naturally to Yalies. The U.S.
conductor Robert Shaw cited the singing tradition at Yale as one of the seminal influences on 20th century choral Beijing: Informal singing on the China Tour in Tiananmen Square led by YAC president Mark Dollhopf, July 28, 1998 performance. The Yale Glee Club, beginning in 1861, and the Whiffenpoofs, beginning in 1909, are among the oldest and most famous of college a cappella singing groups.
The tradition of alumni singing began in 1937 with the Yale Glee Club Associates, a Glee Club alumni organization founded by Senator Prescott Bush ’17, father of former president George H. W. Bush ’48 and grandfather of President George W. Bush ’68. Alumni of the Yale Glee Club have included U.S. Senators and Representatives, Fortune 500 CEOs, Hollywood entertainers, and numerous opera, concert, and Broadway singers.