A Strategic Plan

Invite • Elevate • Steward


Through music, a more equitable and connected worldwide community.


We create transcendent musical experiences for all people in a space of beauty and community.

Despite the many unknowns around the immediate and long-term future for arts organization due to the Covid-19 pandemic, choral music continues to play an important role in our communities: 1 in 10 people in the United States sings in a choir, making choral music our nation’s most participatory art form. When the pandemic ends, there is every expectation that this level of participation will continue.

When the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the regular operations of the Cathedral Choral Society in March 2020, the organization took steps to fundamentally reexamine the business model of the organization, with particular attention paid to the impact and reach of the chorus across many communities.

Time away from rehearsals and performances also provided space for the development of a reinvigorated vision and mission that reflect new leadership and evolving community priorities while not losing sight of the impressive history that still defines the Cathedral Choral Society as one of the musical pillars of the Washington, DC region.

This plan is a reflection of all of these things: a closer look at the chorus’s community impact, the changing business model of arts organizations nationwide, and a renewal of the chorus’s nearly 80-year commitment to musical excellence are all present herein. And, while the plan detail includes a number of tactical decisions, it is the overarching initiatives of inviting, elevating, and stewarding that will serve as the cornerstones of CCS’s operations in the years to come.

As the Covid-19 pandemic plays out and, hopefully, soon draws to an end, this plan will empower the Cathedral Choral Society to explore new channels, work towards equity in the sector, build educational programming, and identify new ways of creating a positive impact in our local, national, and worldwide communities. It is intentionally a fluid guide that allows for adaptation to what is a rapidly changing world while adhering to a clear set of core goals and values.


As we undertake our mission, we adhere to the following values. In everything we do, we strive to be:


A CCS performance, whether online or in person, is more than a concert. It instills awe in performers and audience members alike. We believe that’s something everyone should see, feel, and hear.


We are custodians of the past and the future of our art. We honor our remarkable history as we boldly explore new ground. Regular commissions and partnerships help us to elevate and champion new voices.


We believe in the uplifting power of choral music and are committed to improving equity in our art. We foster a fair and just community in which people from all backgrounds are provided support and opportunities.


Diversity begets excellence.

The creation of awe-inspiring art is only possible when artists understand the needs and desires of the complete community. To do this, we will practice empathy, and we will use our voices when and where we see social and racial injustice. We will elevate voices that have been silenced. And, as we strive to better serve our community, we will:

Improve Access

CCS will recognize and work to overcome real and perceived barriers to access and to create robust pathways to the organization for singers, staff members, audiences, and community members.

Invite Diversity

CCS will create and foster an institutional and artistic culture that inspires conversation, learning, communication, and understanding within and across a broad constituency, and work to ensure that minoritized voices are represented in all facets of organizational life and decision-making.

Promote Inclusion

CCS will work to co-create a culture in which all feel welcomed and valued for their gifts and talents, all feel invited, and people can bring their whole selves. To achieve this, CCS will work to dismantle racism and other biases – explicit and implicit, individual, and institutional – both within our organization and in the broader community.

Strive for Equity

CCS will build a community in which people from all backgrounds are provided support and opportunities and experience fairness and justice. This is a community where outcomes, accomplishments, and success cannot be predicted based on one’s identity.



CCS will be a leader in finding innovative and awe-inspiring ways to engage with the worldwide and local communities, particularly those that have traditionally been left behind or left out.


    1. People new to the art of choral music feel invited and welcomed on their own terms.
    2. The singers, staff, board, and patrons of CCS reflect the makeup of the DMV region and the racial diversity of the nation, but our reach is worldwide.

Collaboration is used as a tool for learning, for engagement between people who might not otherwise meet, and to create artistic partnerships that result in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.



CCS will lead the field in musical excellence and innovation.


  1. CCS is recognized worldwide as a chorus of the highest artistic quality that champions American music and draws attention to musical voices that have been left out or deliberately silenced.
  2. CCS creates beautiful experiences that inspire awe. Concerts are conceived as holistic experiences that challenge expectations and amplify important voices and ideas.
  3. CCS works closely with the National Cathedral on a shared vision for the presentation of world-class musical experiences.



CCS will commit resources to the future of the art form by creating learning opportunities, fostering emerging voices, demonstrating that choral music is for everyone, and by building a strong and sustainable organization.


  1. CCS creates meaningful, lasting choral music experiences and learning opportunities where they are needed.
  2. CCS has a diversified revenue stream that can withstand an economic downturn or change in funding and reserves that allow for adventurous programming, commissioning, or other activities. CCS has a strong relationship with the National Cathedral.
  3. Decisions at CCS are made by stakeholders from many backgrounds and with a broad diversity of personal characteristics.


The body of music available to choirs is vast and represents more than 1,000 years of human history. The CCS programming process builds on the important tradition of performing choral masterworks at the highest standard, so that audiences have the opportunity to experience the beauty of great music in a place such as Washington National Cathedral.

Over the course of a four- or five-concert season, there exists ample opportunity to strike dynamic variety in programming: to include a multitude of traditions, to foster new voices, and to continue the performance tradition of works that are beloved and well-known to CCS audience.


While it is clear that the entire arts ecosystem has been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, what is not yet clear is exactly what changes will last beyond the wide dissemination of a vaccine. It is as yet unknown to what extent people will even feel comfortable participating in events with many people, making the planning of a regular concert season difficult at best. And, the very concept of a regular concert season – as we have understood it – may have changed as well.

Most important, however, is that we continue striving to be a place where everyone’s voice is heard and where all people can come together to experience beauty in a communal setting.

For nearly 80 years, the Cathedral Choral Society has provided just such a place. With the hard work and dedication of the board, staff, and singers, we will renew our commitment to this important goal.

Strategic Planning Committee

Gabriela I. Calderon
Patron & Donor Manager, Cathedral Choral Society

Walter Doggett
Senior Vice President, Arvest Bank

Christopher Eanes
Executive Director, Cathedral Choral Society

Steven Fox
Music Director, Cathedral Choral Society

Peter Lee
Vice President of Strategic and Corporate Development, MicroGEM

Canon Mike McCarthy
Director of Music, Washington National Cathedral 

Kumea Shorter-Gooden
Consultant, Shorter-Gooden Consulting

Megan Sullivan
Design Manager, United States Mint.

Stanley J. Thurston
Artistic Director, Heritage Signature Chorale


This plan was presented to and approved by the Cathedral Choral Society’s Board of Trustees on November 18, 2020.