February 25, 2019
The San Francisco Girls Chorus’s 40th anniversary season gala will honor Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, on March 15, in the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco.
Pelosi, who has represented the city in Congress since 1987, will be the first recipient of the Elizabeth Appling Arts Champion Award, named for the Girls Chorus founder. The award will be presented annually to an individual who has made “profound contributions to the chorus and the broader Bay Area performing-arts community.”
Few individuals, the announcement says, “have done more to support SFGC’s empowerment of young women through music, continued success on the concert stage, and growth as an organization over the last four decades than Speaker Pelosi.”
The main speaker at the event will be San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who also serves as gala honorary committee chair. The committee includes U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala D. Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Diane B. Wilsey, Louise and Paul Renne, Richard Rubin, and Patti and Rusty Rueff.
SFGC’s Premier Ensemble, under the direction of Artistic Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, will perform a selection of choral works at the gala.
Proceeds from the gala will benefit SFGC’s Elizabeth Avakian Need-Based Scholarship Fund and education programs. The Fund awards more than $100,000 each year in full- and partial-tuition scholarships to nearly one-third of enrolled choristers, ensuring equitable access to the chorus’s programs.
The initial tuition for the SFGC Preparatory Chorus is $1,400 per year (two semesters), and the registration form states that “A chorister’s annual tuition only covers approximately 50 percent of the total cost of the training she receives.”
Scholarships, the organization states, support participation in summer camps, programs spanning the full school year, and the organization’s touring activities. Grants are awarded solely on the basis of financial need. Individual tickets for the gala are available for $350 and up, with tables sponsorships starting at $3,000.
The chorus is a five-time Grammy Award-winning ensemble, four-time recipient of the Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, and has been called by the California Arts Council “the model in the country for training girls’ voices.”
Each year, hundreds of singers ranging in age from 4 to 18, from 45 Bay Area cities, participate in the SFGC’s programs. The organization consists of a professional-level performance, recording, and touring ensemble and a six-level Chorus School training program. The chorus has produced award-winning concerts, recordings, and tours, empowered young women in music and other fields, and enhanced and expanded the field of music for treble voices.
SFGC is also responsible for commissions of new choral works, collaborations with renowned guest artists, and partnerships with Bay Area and national arts organizations.
In addition to its annual engagements with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony, recent and current/upcoming artistic partnerships include the San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Film Festival, Opera Parallèle, Kronos Quartet, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, TEDxSanFrancisco, and Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky.