Cultural Equity Statement

Statement of Cultural Equity

At InConcert Sierra, we believe that engagement in the arts is important to a well-adjusted society.  We believe that classical music is an essential aspect of a healthy vibrant society and that InConcert Sierra’s proficiency in providing high-quality classical music experiences enhances the lives of adults and children in our community, locally and regionally.

We affirm that the inequalities that define American culture have become more visible than ever and that cultural inequity in the United States has become visibly widespread so that we all must bring issues to the forefront in order to affect change. Privilege and access to the arts is unequally spread among the various economic, social, and racial layers of society, and this must be addressed.

Our organization is committed to being inclusive to those who have been historically underrepresented, whether because of their race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status or religion. Inclusion is vital to encouraging the experience, and thereby advantages to our society, of live classical music performances and music education; the support of artists; and nurturing of access to the arts for the community at large. We envision a world where every member of society has the freedom to embody their truth without fear, and with equality under the law.

Without bias, through our programming we engage high-caliber orchestra musicians and touring artists of various ethnicities, diverse by genders (LBGQTS+). Classical music is often considered an aristocratic and erudite art-form, especially as it developed in Europe from the 1700’S to the 1900’S, dominated by a history of white male composers and musicians. We acknowledge that history is changing moment by moment, and we actively work toward a culture that embraces humans as humans, not by societal hierarchy.  We’ve hired and introduced to our audience a variety of musical ensembles and experiences ranging from The Marian Anderson String Quartet (An all-female string quartet that is the first African-American ensemble in history to win a classical competition), Sitar player Peter Van Gelder with tabla soloist Inranil Mallick, the all-female Swedish brass ensemble TenThing, to the Spanish Brass, violinist Joshua Bell, and mandolinist Avi Avital.

French composer Claude Debussy said, “Music is the space between the notes.”  We encourage our audience to look and listen between the notes.  Our artists have brought challenging concepts to our stage.  Music is a powerful language we all share and understand at a level beyond spoken languages. When appropriately mediated, it can open dialogues that go beyond emotion to bridging preconceptions and altering perspectives.

Through our education programs, we invite and include all ages, genders, and socio-economic levels.  Our youth program attendees include a variety of ethnicities, and we have given work-projects and/or scholarships to those who are unable to afford tuition amounts.

Our “Young Composers Project” creates opportunities for young minds (ages 12-22) to write music inspired by their work with a local non-profit organization that has social impact.  This season our social impact has been forest management and fires.  For next season (2021-22), we are discussing possibilities with the local Nisenan Tribe. We believe it’s important for youth to have experiences that not only inspire, but increase awareness making well-rounded musicians, and human beings, in our future.

Our senior population has become marginalized in society due to limited of transportation or mobility, limited income, or lack of inspiration or capacity due to dementia or Alzheimers, This segment of the population is greatly  increasing locally:  Between 2007 and 2016, Nevada County experienced its greatest proportional population increases in those aged 65 to 74 years old (80 percent), those aged 85 years and older (57 percent), and those aged 55 to 64 years old (20 percent).   InConcert has responded by creating a “Music on Wheels” program that brings professional musicians into assisted living and senior homes.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive for the residents. We continue to research ways to expand the program for those who are home-bound.

We collaborate on a program with the county library during the summers offering free youth concerts that are stimulating as well as informative.  The local county library has experienced an increase in their summer reading program that follows the hour-long concert. The program reaches out to families who may be economically-disadvantaged, and brings together a varied audience of all ages and varied ethnicities. Separately, we offer free tickets to youth under 17 to our chamber concerts, and discounted youth tickets to orchestra performances to encourage young families to attend concerts.

In 2017, according to DataUSA.com, California had the highest estimated number of chronically homeless individuals in the nation. In December 2019, The Union newspaper reported that during the last point-in-time homeless count, Nevada County saw an uptick of individuals and families experiencing homelessness, from 271 people in 2018 to more than 400 this year. This is a social issue that needs to be addressed. At InConcert, we reach out to our local homeless shelter, Hospitality House (HH), to offer blocks of complimentary tickets for their residents to attend live classical and choral performances. This program has been rewarding for the homeless guests, the musicians, the audience, and all involved.  One enthusiastic comment from a HH guest was, “I’m not going to sleep tonight!”  We have had many enlightening experiences, great conversations, and for many, the realization through meeting HH guests that the range of their stories is surprising. Additionally, in December, our Sierra Master Chorale visits, and sings holiday carols, with guests at the shelter.

We also provide annual free concerts to third-grade students throughout Western Nevada County.  This program reaches to students of all socio-economic and differing ethnicities while introducing them to orchestral instruments, meeting professional musicians, hearing live-classical music and terms, and nurturing a love for music that surrounds us in our everyday lives.

Through our administration, we seek equality and diversity. For example, the role of the conductor is integral to classical music; however, a Bachtracks 2014 survey found that in a list of the 150 top conductors in the world, only five were women. Two years ago, InConcert Sierra embarked on a search to replace our founding Sierra Master Chorale conductor, Ken Hardin.  We were delighted to hire the talented and charismatic Alison Skinner as our new choral music director and conductor.  She in turn has inspired young women to pursue music or to follow their dreams through presentations with local service clubs such as AAUW (American Association of University Women) and soroptimist clubs.

In sum, we continue to be an equal opportunity employer, and recruit board members, staff and volunteers of varying backgrounds, ages, sexual identities, and ethnicities – intentionally increasing the positive awareness and exposure to diversity for our  rural region’s overwhelmingly (86%)  Caucasian population.

Looking forward pro-actively:

While we forge into the future, we’ve never been more energized or more laser-focused on effecting positive change in our cultural world.

  • We will be vigilant in researching ways to encourage equity and diversity, including conducting surveys of our local audience and community.
  • We will continue to collaborate and coordinate with other organizations and individuals that broaden our world view.
  • We will acknowledge and dismantle inequities in our policies and programs, and report progress AS we move forth.
  • We will model and pursue cultural consciousness through action within our educational programs and live concert performances.

At InConcert, we believe that we are more powerful together than apart, and that music that should be a binding force.

 

 

 

 

 

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