Sopranos and Altos
The Renaissance City Women’s Choir was born in January 1995. A tremendous turnout of over 60 women responded to the first audition call, and several of the choir’s current members sang in the inaugural season.
Our membership includes women from many professions, avocations, and musical backgrounds. Susan R. Haugh was the founding director of the RCWC and served as the artistic director until January, 2006. Andres Cladera assumed the position of RCWC artistic director in August 2006, beginning an exciting new era for the choir.
There have been many highlights in the choir’s history. Our premiere performance was to a standing ovation at the Benedum in Pittsburgh for the Gala 10th anniversary celebration of the Renaissance City Men’s Choir.
In 1999, the women recorded their first studio CD. Ferron headlined at our Womenfest in 2000. In 2001, we joined with RCMC in hosting a weekend retreat with Ysaye Barnwell, a founding member of Sweet Honey in the Rock and one of our favorite composers. We premiered “I Look Like a Girl” the first commissioned composition by Susan R. Haugh in 2002. It was part of our first concert for children and families on a double bill with “Oliver Button is a Sissy” performed by RCMC. Read RCC’s timeline to get more perspective on RCWC’s roots.
Although our major concerts get most of the publicity, the choir is just as passionate about our performances at community events: for the Thomas Merton Center, Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays Pittsburgh Chapter, the Women’s Resource Center, the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Arts Festival and more. In 2004, the RCWC toured local universities, performing at California University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro University, and Penn State’s Fayette campus.
In 2013, as an effort to be more welcoming to transgender individuals whose voices may not match their gender identity, we began referring to the two sections of our Renaissance City Choir as the Tenors/Basses and the Sopranos/Altos. In this way and in all ways, we hope to be welcoming to all who wish to find community with us and join in song.
Throughout the many seasons we have brought to our members and our audiences the power that comes with making music together. We look forward to continuing to grow in our core values: musical excellence, respect for diversity, and community. And we look forward to continuing our mission affirming and celebrating LGBTQ identity through the unifying power of music.