Gala Choruses and Festival

About GALA Choruses, Inc.

Founded in 1982 by fourteen choruses, GALA Choruses has become the leading international association of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied choruses. The mission of GALA Choruses is inspiring and strengthening member choruses to change their worlds through song. By fostering the artistic and organizational development of member choruses through a wide variety of programs and services, GALA Choruses produces choral festivals, educational conferences and several publications. We engage in advocacy, provide grants for the commissioning of new choral works, facilitate networking within the Association, and serve as a resource center for choruses and individual Associates from around the world.

Since its inception GALA Choruses has produced nine international festivals, provided more than $40,000 in matching grants for commissioned works and has provided more than 25 conferences and vocal training workshops. GALA Choruses supports more than 120 choruses singing to audiences totaling more than one million individuals. GALA Choruses’ holds the vision of Our Voices Win Freedom.

For more information about GALA Choruses and its programs, call 412-999-4489 or visit www.galachoruses.org.

About GALA Festival 2020

Every four years GALA Choruses celebrate with a Festival where more than 6,000 diverse singers from over 100 choruses and ensembles from around the world perform. In 2020, this celebration will take place in downtown Minneapolis.

Between July 4 and July 8, 2020, there will be concerts and related festivities held in the Orchestra Hall, the auditorium in the Convention Center and Central Lutheran Church.

From GALA’s website here are statements regarding the effect of COVID-19 on Festival 2020.

Statement 23 March 2020
Dear GALA Choruses Community,

We know that many of you are wondering how Festival 2020 could be held in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, given the current public health recommendations from several states and the federal Center for Disease Control. This coupled with the financial issues that have been created have given way to unprecedented challenges. The impact of this virus on community gatherings and national policy is far-reaching and the situation is changing day by day. The GALA board and staff are working to develop contingency plans. As you can imagine, the hundreds of planning details and agreements that go into creating the world’s largest LGBTQ+ performing arts event are enormously complex.

We continue to develop contingency plans including potentially rescheduling during the Summer of 2021. The options are promising and we will announce them as soon as we are certain. If this happens, choruses and singer registrations will automatically transfer and be guaranteed at current rates. We thank people in advance for not proactively asking for a refund if at all possible, so that we may focus all of our staff resources on managing the challenges related to scheduling in light of COVID-19. For those delegates that may not be able to commit to new dates yet or for financial reasons need a refund now, please know that a refund process will be forthcoming. We are grateful for your patience and support as we figure out the best way to make the Festival experience as rewarding as ever while maintaining our organization.

In addition to producing Festival, GALA Choruses’ mission is to support the choruses in our movement and we are ramping up our efforts to find ways to help our choruses through the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 crisis. The GALA blog and our Google discussion groups have some tips for weathering the storm, including some practical resources for fundraising and for remote rehearsals.

The coming weeks will be filled with great challenges for all of us. As resilient people, we remain optimistic that we will get through this international emergency together. Please stay safe and healthy, and imagine the joy we will all feel when we are able to sing together again

Statement 9 March 2020
The full Board of Directors and staff of GALA Choruses is deeply engaged in thoughtful oversight and planning for Festival 2020. We want to keep you up-to-date with the most accurate and current information we have about COVID-19 and give you a transparent view of our thought process about Festival 2020.

Current State

If your experience has been anything like ours this past week, then you have been barraged by a ton of information. At the same time, very little is clear at the moment, particularly beyond the short term.

What is certain is that the next few weeks will be highly challenging with each of us engaging in an array of social strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19. We know many of you are currently experiencing cancellation of local rehearsals, concerts and fundraising events. Beyond that, quite honestly, it is hard to know if by summer we will return to relative normality, or if there will be continued disruptions – both large and small – to our lives. Like you, we will try to distinguish between facts and fear and figure it out as we go.

Festival Plans as of Now

The power of Festival to bring us together as a community and as a platform for our stories and songs is something we don’t take lightly. As LGBTQ+ people, we have often had to face risk with resilience and intelligence.

In this time of uncertainty, our collective thought is to maintain hope that in July we can safely and effectively produce Festival. We are also working to understand what options might be available to us if necessary. We are actively reaching out to chorus leadership across the country to understand what choruses are experiencing and how we can make good decisions in partnership with you. We are committed to making a decision about Festival 2020 no later than May 15.

Next Steps

So what’s next? We are staying up-to-date on medical advice from health care professionals such as the CDC and local government authorities. We are also monitoring the evolving decisions of the many partners with we have contractual obligations, including, but not limited to. hotels, performance halls, etc. At GALA Choruses we will make decisions that promote everyone’s safety and well-being while also working to provide the inspiring Festival experiences you want this summer.

Our commitment to you

We will ensure your trust and well-being and keep you updated.
We will create the empowering Festival experiences you’ve come to expect.
We will follow our core values and act in collaboration with you as catalysts, harmonizers, listeners, and leaders.
One of the things we love most about choral singing is that the process of singing together helps us to create strong, smart, and enduring community bonds with one another. As a part of our GALA Choruses family, we will work through these short term challenges with you and we look forward to lifting our voices together soon.

GALA Choruses is closely monitoring the COVID-19 coronavirus situation to ensure that we can produce a Festival that is safe and rewarding for our delegates. Festival 2020 is currently expected to go forward as planned unless there were to be a finding in effect by the Center for Disease Control or the Minnesota Department of Health advising that it is unsafe to travel and gather by the time of Festival. We are following the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health websites and our leadership team will provide further information as the situation develops.

We have been working with our venues in Minneapolis regarding preventive measures being taken to ensure that delegates are safe. Below, we’ve outlined important measures Meet Minneapolis is taking, as well as CDC recommendations regarding the Coronavirus:

Working with the City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC), Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport and others on updates and information.
The Minneapolis Convention Center has hand sanitizing stations in every public lobby and is disinfecting high-touch areas more frequently (such as door handles, water fountains and bathroom fixtures)
MSP Airport’s cleaning contractor was already using a product that kills a wide variety of viruses, including coronavirus. Managers of the cleaning crews have re-emphasized the importance of carefully cleaning high-touch items such as handrails, doorknobs, elevator buttons, etc. MSP is screening international arrivals for the virus.
Requesting that all visitors to Minneapolis evaluate their own health and that of people they’re in close contact with and to contact Meet Minneapolis if they have concerns about visiting.
Encouraging visitors to follow the guidance of the CDC.
In the event that cancellation of Festival is required, we are exploring contingencies to reschedule the event for the summer of 2021. We are working with our performance hall and hotel vendors in Minneapolis to identify available dates.

We recognize that our member choruses are already having to make difficult decisions about upcoming spring concerts. We encourage you to utilize our existing member discussion groups to share approaches and concerns about upcoming concerts and rehearsals. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this complicated and fast-changing situation. We will do our best to ensure that our voices are heard and that our singers can safely enjoy the important sense of community and inspiration that Festival provides. We will continue to keep open lines of communication with chorus leadership and our registered delegates as needed.

For more information about the Festival and links to the Festival venues plus information about Minneapolis, visit GALA Choruses 2020 Festival. You’ll also be able to look at highlights of Festival 2016 Denver.

Past Festivals:

1983 New York
1986 Minneapolis
1989 Seattle
1992 Denver
1996 Tampa
2000 San Jose
2004 Montreal
2008 Miami
2012 Denver
2016 Denver