The Voices of Concinnity Origin Story

What is Voices of Concinnity? At its core, Concinnity is a professional vocal chamber ensemble working to explore inclusion in choral music both on and off the stage. It was envisioned in 2018 by founding artistic director, Sarah Kaufold, as an ensemble that could champion individuality and promote an inclusive atmosphere for all singers, while also cultivating a unique ensemble sound and identity.

This environment created the foundation for the exploration of music by living composers and composers historically excluded from the choral canon. The other important component was making professional choral concerts affordable to all in the community. As a result, Concinnity's mission transformed to connect with the community through exquisitely crafted, living choral music that fosters inclusion with innovative and collaborative programming, explores representation in choral music, and ensures affordable access to quality performances and programs for all. But, it all began with creating an equitable space for professional singers.


The current model popular with a number of professional chamber choirs is to have a large roster of 40+ singers from which the artistic director draws for specific concerts to create a chamber ensemble (usually 20 or so singers). Although this model ensures that any concert date chosen will be "staffed," it means that some singers will not get the opportunity to perform (i.e., get paid). It also suggests that the overall sound of the ensemble is dictated only by the director, regardless of the vocal colors/timbres of the singers present because the ensemble rarely has the exact same singers.

On the other hand, there are also chamber choirs with a set roster that rehearse weekly. While this model maintains an ensemble identity with a consistent roster of singers, it excludes some singers from participating, especially those who are also parents for which weekly commitments are difficult. Thus, Concinnity was conceptualized as a set-roster chamber ensemble that was accessible to all professional singers with only a few rehearsals prior to a performance. This concept could be accomplished because each singer studies the music on their own time prior to attending rehearsals that fit into everyone's schedule. Concinnity was thought of as an experiment of inclusion and we think it is going really well.

It began with creating an equitable space for professional singers.

Why "Voices of Concinnity"? The word “concinnity” is defined as the skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something. One aspect of ensemble singing we wanted to explore with Concinnity was a singer-focused model, rather than director-focused, to foster inclusion. This model would allow the musicians to sing with their own free tone and contribute to the overall music interpretation. In fact, prior to the pandemic, Concinnity often performed without the artistic director conducting the ensemble. The singers relied on eye contact, facial cues, and breath to communicate; all of which the wearing of face masks has inhibited. But, even singing in masks at their last in-person performance in December 2021, one of the audience members, John, shared: "It was obvious, to me, that each choir member was in tune with one another." We have received other kind comments on the overall sound of the ensemble, which means this experiment in concinnity is thriving.

Voices of Concinnity is a 12-voice professional ensemble of dedicated, seasoned choral artists from diverse backgrounds who strive to cultivate the art of chamber ensemble singing in Connecticut sponsored by Consonare Choral Community. To learn more about this ensemble and see what is next for Voices of Concinnity, please visit: https://www.consonare-sing.org/voices-of-concinnity


Written by:

Sarah Kaufold

Artistic Director

Consonare Choral Community

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