Colla Voce of the Sierra - A Non-Profit Organization in Auburn California
Colla Voce of the Sierra—a non-profit arts organization in Auburn, California—started in 2005 as an adult group of chamber singers under Founding Artistic Director, Janine Dexter. The goal was to bring professional standards of performance of choral music to the foothills. The group developed a large following and has received glowing reviews.
In 2009, Dexter, McGregor and their team expanded the vision of the organization from a group of chamber singers to an organization that “Creates Opportunities for Engagement in the Arts” with the intent of contributing to the continued development and expansion of the arts culture in the greater Auburn community.
The second chapter of Colla Voce opened in the Fall of 2009 with the launching of the Children’s Chorus program for ages 5–12. In 2015, under the leadership of Director, Anne Vaaler, the chorus expanded to include ages 5–18.
In 2011, Colla Voce received a grant to purchase a curriculum and implement a music docent program in local schools. Each semester CV trains enthusiastic parents and community members and through multi-media lessons, and these volunteers bring classical music and related activities to 1000 children in 9 local schools.
The story continued in the Spring of 2011 with the beginning of the Family Choir, a non-auditioned, multi-generational chorus ages 6–96, “where everyone has a voice.”
In the Spring of 2014, Colla Voce partnered with McConnell Music Therapy to create Crescendo Music Therapy for people with neurological impairment and their families/caregivers.
Crescendo provides a place to experience music through singing, playing and moving, while supporting communication, cognition and movement abilities for these participants.
Colla Voce of the Sierra, Inc. is guided by a singular vision. It is expressed in a simple equation:
(Experience + Education + Adventure) x Dialogue=Transformation.
Chapters of the Colla Voce story evolve from that equation:
Experience happens in the concert setting as a musically centered interactive collage of various combinations of art forms including music, visual art, video, photography, story telling and poetry. The Crescendo Music Therapy groups—serving people with neurological impairment—support communication, cognition
and movement abilities through music related experiences. Other groups on the horizon include a Joyful Noise Choir for adults with mental disabilities, a Seniors Choir, and a yearly BIG SING where the audience and singers rehearse and perform together.
Education takes place in the rehearsal setting for every ensemble as well as in the music docent programs currently in 9 schools. A year-round community-supported instrumental program and a creative arts high school are on the horizon.
Adventure includes national and international choral exchanges, festivals and cross-cultural relationship building.
Dialogue—reflective ongoing conversation—takes place with inter-active media during concerts, in-between concert experiences, among collaborating artists, in workshops, through social media and between other arts organizations.
According to Dexter, Transformation is the result. “Experience, Education, and Adventure—when steeped in Dialogue—transforms the lives of individuals and communities leading to openness to unlimited possibility, expanded world view, lives enriched, and the increased human capacity for love. This vision has opened up unexpected possibilities. An ironic example is that the financial crisis of this state is presenting us with a blessing in disguise: We have a prodigious opportunity to reclaim, redevelop and fully implement the arts in our schools and community rather than settling for the minimal programs to which we have become accustomed.”