On Being Grateful

Dear Friends,

photo of san francisco girls chorus executive director melanie smith

We’re about to enter that “most wonderful time of the year,” and for many of us, that means lots of long rehearsals, enormous lists of detailed to-dos, serious schedule juggling, and commuting in heavy traffic, all to a sound track of holiday carols, often performed and recorded (commercially) with questionable artistry.

Sounds fun, right?  But here’s the thing—at the SF Girls Chorus, all of the above can be very joyful, because we’re doing something extraordinary in this most wonderful/busiest time of the year—we’re making great music, we’re helping young girls to truly find their voices, we’re building deep and lasting memories, and we’re making history!

We truly re-created and made history earlier this fall in our beautiful concerts with TENET (watch a few select videos from the performance here), bringing together one of New York’s most exciting performance ensembles with our own magnificent singers. (If you missed it, you really missed it!) Now we’re about to take the stage at Davies Symphony Hall with one of the world’s leading sopranos, Deborah Voigt, who will perform with all 350 girls in the SF Girls Chorus and Chorus School, and share some fun surprises with us. And that’s just the beginning of December. A couple of days later our oldest choristers will again perform two concerts at Davies Symphony Hall, this time with the San Francisco Symphony and wunderkind conductor Teddy Abrams, whom we met and worked with last summer at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. The SF Symphony performances are followed by a four-concert tour of the greater Bay Area with renowned violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, plus clarinetist and Klezmer artist David Krakauer. Who in the world (literally!) gets to sing and experience all of that in one month?? Our young artists do!

One of my favorite quotes right now is from American author John Irving, who writes:

“If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to LIVE it.”

I feel extraordinarily lucky this season, and incredibly grateful that I have the opportunity to spend my days helping girls learn to make beautiful music, to perform as serious artists, and to meet and work with some of the finest musicians in the world. And you, our extended SF Girls Chorus family, are also helping to make it all possible. Thank you.

This next month is going to be intense and wonderful, sometimes requiring a measure of tenacity and courage. And it will all be worth it, for the music that is made, and the lives that are touched and enriched by hearing and performing this music. I hope you will join me in feeling incredibly fortunate to be part of this organization, and share in the true joy of the season!

With gratitude,

Melanie Smith Executive Director