FUTURE CHORUS is a vocal ensemble made up of over 25 artists, musicians, and friends who sing a repertoire of original arrangements and unexpected cover songs for the political moment at scheduled and impromptu public and cultural spaces throughout the Bay Area. Our material doesn’t necessarily fall into the category of traditional protest music, but is chosen for its poetic connection to the current socio-political landscape. Together, we sing songs that are incantations to the forces that bolster transformative resistance movements, songs that call upon love, resilience, imagination, inclusivity and determination to fight for a better future.
FUTURE CHORUS initially formed as a collaboration between Bay Are artist Lena Wolff and musician and performance artist Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs to generate a performance for Wolff’s residency at the de Young Museum in San Francisco in 2017. From the start, the collaboration was approached as an opportunity to bring a larger group of people together to respond to the political moment through art and song.
A small group of friends began to gather at Wolff’s house weekly in the summer of 2017 over regular potlucks and backyard fires to sing and develop material. The project quickly grew and gained momentum. Vocalist and musician Claire Plumb of Little Mission Studio joined the chorus in mid-summer to lead the group as Choral Director, while Riggs continued to share ideas, arrangements and original material from her own resistance project, Community Chorus based out of Los Angeles. Kate Sweeney of Magic Magic Roses played a key role in the development of the chorus early on, and became the assistant choral director in the summer of 2018.
The FUTURE CHORUS repertoire currently includes music by Solagne, Bjork, the Flaming Lips, Chumbawumba, Bauhaus, The Dog Faced Hermans and the LA based punk band X, along with original material by chorus members Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, Kate Sweeney and Gee Hahn.
Our largest performance to date, The Song is Love, took place on December 2, 2017 at the de Young Museum as part of Wolff’s fall residency. The piece began with a prelude by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs in the outdoor James Turrell Skyspace, followed by a procession into the Koret Auditorium with audience participation and a final set of 10 acapella songs sung by the full chorus. The Song is Love included hand-made costumes by choral members using a collaborative print made by Erica Tanov and Lena Wolff for a special 2017 collection, and the chorus was accompanied by five dancers choreographed by Oakland based artist and dancer Lauren Benjamin.
Into 2018, we continue to expand and perform in a wide range of free public spaces – at cultural spaces and during public demonstrations to add our voice to the resistance.
FUTURE CHORUS acknowledges and appreciates the many choruses around the country and abroad who are actively singing songs of resistance that offer uplift and reflection in the face of rising nationalism and xenophobia, including Community Chorus, The Resistance Revival Chorus, Thrive Choir, Windborne and the Commoner’s Choir based out of the UK. Many thanks to our friends and family who support us in taking time out to make this project happen and special thanks to our friend and project advisor Boff Whalley of Chumbawumba and director of the Commoner’s Choir out of the UK for offering material and advise as FUTURE CHORUS formed.
Heartfelt thanks to any and all who are actively fighting the good fight for a world of equality, healthy communities and ecosystems, for real justice and a better future for all - to everyone out there making phone calls, writing letters, protesting in the streets, organizing, making art and running for office. We see what you're doing and we love you.