Lift Every Voice

Bethesda, MD, October 20, 2023 – Cantate is pleased to announce the creation of Lift Every Voice (LEV), a paid fellowship for four-pre-professional BIPOC (Black Indigenous, and People of Color) choral Scholars. These artists will join Cantate Concert Choir to provide skilled support to each of the sections while receiving professional-level training and first-hand experience in the performance of varied choral repertoire. In the program’s pilot semester (Spring 2024) each of these fellows will receive additional support and opportunities from Cantate’s community of seasoned arts professionals: resume consulting, vocal coaching, and an oratorio masterclass open to the public. Fellows will emerge from their residency with Cantate better prepared to advance their musical careers in the choral field.

LEV is the evolution of Cantate’s Young Artist of Color (CYAC) residency. Launched in 2021 the CYAC – now LEV – aims to address the widespread racial inequity in the field of classical music by providing mentoring and performance opportunities to exceptional young BIPOC artists who show promise as singers, composers, or conductors. In the program’s first season, Cantate featured baritone Anthony Anderson, who will return to perform with Cantate as a soloist in December. Composer Ronald “Trey” Walton has just completed his residency with a recital of his works on Saturday, October 28, 2023. Each extraordinary young artist worked with advisors throughout the Cantate programming year to refine his craft and prepare to present his polished works.

Applications to the spring pilot of LEV are currently open to pre-professional singers – those pursuing a career in music but not yet subsisting on income provided by performing or teaching in the field. Vocational singers age 30 and under without professional representation will be considered. Live auditions will be held on Monday, November 20, from 7:00 – 10:00 pm at Bethesda Presbyterian Church. An accompanist will be provided at no cost. Alternatively, applicants are also welcome to submit video or audio recordings of contrasting style for equal consideration. Please prepare to perform or submit two contrasting pieces of solo repertoire, one in English and one in another language. We ask that at least one of these two pieces be an aria from opera or oratorio. Oratorio selections do not need to be memorized. The deadline for online submissions is Sunday, December 3, 2023. The application form can be found HERE.

One choral scholar will be selected for each voice type: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. LEV Fellows will be expected to attend Sunday evening rehearsals at First Baptist Church of Silver Spring from 7:00-9:30 on the following dates: February 25, 2024, March 3, 10, 17, and 24; and April 7, 14, and 21. Concert week calls at the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center include rehearsal on Wednesday, April 24, 7:30 – 10:30, Friday, April 26 7:00 – 10:00, and a 3:30 call on April 27 for a 5:00 concert. Fellows will be compensated at a rate of $75 per rehearsal and $125 per performance. Each fellow will also receive a one-time $75 travel stipend to help relieve the cost of transportation to and from rehearsals. Resume consultation, vocal coaching as appropriate, and masterclass participation shall be provided to LEV fellows free of charge.

Additional questions about the program may be addressed to Cara Schaefer, Cantate’s Executive Director, at

Cantate, a nonprofit corporation under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County government and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Maryland State Arts Council, and The Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.
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