The Denyce Graves Foundation's Shared Voices initiative builds on the longstanding connections between historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and conservatories to create a classical vocal arts landscape that reflects the diverse world in which we live. The program is a consortium of schools that are committed to learning with and from each other.
Shared Voices centers on providing exchanges between students — and possibly faculty as well — from both conservatories and HBCUs to further enhance the learning opportunities for all. This initiative amplifies the foundational music training provided by HBCUs and offers conservatory students an opportunity to learn from the rich HBCU musical heritage. Each program year, Shared Voices, along with administrators and faculty, will facilitate student exchanges in the fall and spring semesters with a selected cohort of students from participating institutions. Prior to the exchange, students will connect with their cohort virtually, learn about the school and music program they will be visiting, and attend rehearsals and activities virtually.
During the exchange, visiting students will attend classes and rehearsals with students from the host school. In addition, Shared Voices will develop a Consortium Calendar of rehearsals, events, and classes that will be made accessible for Shared Voices students to attend.
The goal of this initiative is to foster meaningful connections between consortium members — students, faculty, and administrators — that result in a greater awareness of the diversity within the classical vocal arts and culminate in a meaningful musical collaboration. In harnessing the unique histories of both conservatories and HBCUs, students will expand their cultural horizons, develop networks, and gain new insights into potential opportunities for a fulfilling career.
Shared Voices will launch in fall 2022 with a pilot exchange in Baltimore, MD.