Alumnae Spotlight: Sarita Cannon

Dear Friends, It’s hard to believe that 30 years ago this fall I auditioned for the San Francisco Girls Chorus. I had always enjoyed singing, and thought that joining the Chorus would be a fun extracurricular activity. I had no idea that the next eight years would provide the foundation for my musical and personal growth.

When I was six years old my father died, and as my grandmother said, something inside of me stopped blooming. Singing in the Chorus eventually reversed that. As I moved through the program and auditioned into the professional ensemble, my commitment to the Chorus intensified. In exchange for the hard work I put in, I had the chance to sing with the San Francisco Opera, and to perform works by composers such as Johannes Brahms and Antonio Vivaldi, and contemporary composers like Elinor Armer and Lisa Bielawa (now Artistic Director of SFGC). I also toured to Shanghai, China.

The Chorus will launch another important tour this June, traveling to New York City to perform at the New York Philharmonic Biennial at Lincoln Center. This opportunity was only offered to one non-New York ensemble—the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Like many choristers, I would not have had these experiences without the support provided by donors like you, and I am deeply grateful.

I ask you to ensure that these opportunities are possible for this generation, by making a gift today. Gifts may be made online, or by contacting the SFGC office at 415-863-1752.

As a teenage girl who struggled with insecurity and self-doubt, I found few arenas where I felt that my voice mattered. The Chorus provided that space for me, and as an English professor at San Francisco State University, I now have the pleasure of creating a learning environment where young people can discover and nurture their voices. In addition, I can say without a doubt that the strongest friendships I have today were forged at the Chorus, and this support network remains one of its most precious legacies. The development of strong musicianship and language skills have also served me well in my life since the Chorus, singing everything from Bach arias to American roots music in my current position as cantor at All Souls Episcopal Church in Berkeley.

The Chorus showed me what is possible when young women from a wide range of backgrounds come together to dedicate themselves to musical excellence. It showed me the value of my voice during a period in my life when I often doubted that I had anything worth sharing. The SF Girls Chorus continues to promote the development of young women who will be tomorrow’s leaders.

I invite you to give as generously as you can, to support this vibrant organization that helped me to bloom.


Sarita Cannon, ‘92

P.S. Your generosity will resonate for this and the next generation of young women.