The Board’s Corner: October 2020 Update

The MCC’s Board of Directors hopes that all our families and friends are enjoying a safe, healthy fall season.  With fall, comes the start of a new Milwaukee Children’s Choir season. At the MCC, we made big changes for the 2020-2021 season to provide an environment where our kids can come together to make great music safely.

On September 8, our choristers began virtual rehearsals and moved to in-person rehearsals on September 15. Singers meet in-person on a bi-weekly basis, attending virtually on off weeks. However, some members continue to attend only virtually. Safety is our first priority for our choristers and the hybrid rehearsal model provides singers with the flexibility to choose what’s best for them. For singers meeting in-person, rehearsals have been reduced to a maximum of 10 children per room, plus masks must be worn at all times, keep a distance of 6′, and maintain all additional safety protocols. The result is the same as in prior years – the MCC singers making great music AND building key skills like teamwork, professionalism, self-esteem, and adaptation to their environment.

As you can imagine, it is challenging for arts and nonprofit organizations to manage operations and fund missions as they navigate through the COVID-19 environment. The MCC is no different. Adjusting programming, adapting virtually, purchasing safety equipment and expanding mission are just a few ways in which we have conformed to our “new normal.” However, there are barriers still ahead of us.

Cancelled performance contracts, sponsorships, and concerts, plus decreased tuition and ticket sales resulted in significant debt at the end of the 2019-2020 season. This has had a serious impact on our 2020-2021 programming. This includes the Emily Crocker Scholarship Fund. Named after MCC’s founder, the fund supports tuition and fees for disadvantaged youth. Unfortunately, scholarships have been notably reduced. Pre-COVID, approximately 24 singers received an average of $8,000 in scholarship funding each year. However, these funds are critically diminished with only $1,500 to distribute in scholarship for families in need. Especially when more families need support than ever before.

The truth is, we will continue to see a loss in revenue from contracts, concert ticket sales, sponsorship and tuition this season. However, putting a hold on our season and choral music education is not an option as so many school music programs and performing arts organizations have done. The pandemic is creating a hole where the performing arts and music education once were. The MCC is prepared to help fill this gap and is committed to helping keep music alive.

We are working with partners and friends to support the unexpected expenses caused by COVID-19. However, it’s not enough. We need your help to keep our kids singing. Whether it is your first gift to the MCC, or you are a long-time donor, now is the time to give. Please consider supporting the MCC with a donation of any amount by visiting our website. You can make an impact for Milwaukee youth and the performing arts by contributing to the MCC’s financial well-being.

We are so excited to share our music with you in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for being part of our MCC family and for your unswerving support of our singers.

With warm regards,

Joe Ciancaglini
Board President
Milwaukee Children’s Choir