Artistic Director Susan McMane founded the Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco (YWCP) just eight years ago, but the group has already distinguished itself on the world stage for its outstanding artistry and vision. And now Chorus America, a national advocacy, research, and leadership-development organization, has named YWCP winner of the 2020 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence.
In her statement about the award, Chorus America President and CEO Catherine Dehoney said, “Through their outstanding work, these award-winners are lifting the choral field to new heights of artistry and service. Chorus America is delighted to recognize these accomplishments, and hope they provide inspiration and encouragement during this time of crisis and in brighter days to come.”
The Hillis Award recognizes “artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure, financial stability for a significant period of time, and a commitment to outreach, education, and/or culturally diverse activities.” The honor is named for Margaret Hillis, founder of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and its conductor for 37 years.
The honor is presented in alternate years to a youth choral organization, an adult volunteer chorus, and a professional chorus, making each type of chorus eligible to be considered only once every three years. A chorus may win this award only once in its lifetime.
This isn’t the first acknowledgment for the local organization. According to a press release, “YWCP has gained widespread acclaim for its artistry and expressivity, earning recognition from The American Prize [for excellence in the arts] in addition to other Chorus America awards, including the ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award in 2017 and the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award in 2015.”
YWCP’s McMane responded to the award by saying, “I’m thrilled that YWCP was chosen for this prestigious award. Our young women sing with great passion, beauty, and skill, and this is wonderful national recognition for their work and dedication to choral music. Part of the criteria for winning the Hillis Award is also a strong organizational structure with financial stability over the years, and that credit certainly goes to YWCP’s stellar board of directors. Winning this recognition for a relatively young choral organization is incredibly special and we are very honored.”