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Member Spotlight

ANNA Crusis

Large choir singing at a concert in colorful vests

Tell us a little about your organization!

ANNA Crusis is the longest-running feminist choir in the Unites States, founded in 1975 by Dr. Catherine Roma. When deciding on a name for this new choir, Cathy liked the play on words that the musical term anacrusis (upbeat in greek) lent to itself. By adding another “n” and making it a woman’s name, her small start-up group had immediate personality and warmth. ANNA is unique in that there have only been 4 directors in its 45 year herstory: Cathy Roma, Jane Hulting, Jackie Coren and currently Miriam Davidson. ANNA’s membership embraces diversity of age, ethnicity, and gender identity. Our music repertoire reflects the rich spectrum of human lives and struggles, shedding light on issues facing immigrants and refugees, young people, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and others.

We sing to celebrate the diversity of our lives and culture; to find communion; to nurture and sustain; to comfort and to heal; to open hearts and minds, and to struggle together for a just and compassionate world.

“Music is the currency of hope.”-Dr. Catherine Roma

Quartet of women singing in a concert

How have you grown as an organization?

Today, ANNA is a widely recognized vocal ensemble in Philadelphia and beyond with 80+ singers, committed to musical excellence and promoting social change.

ANNA’s board and membership are currently working diligently on continually:

  • creating a harmonious and supportive community
  • seeking to honor and respect the unique lived experience of every member
  • striving to be welcoming and inclusive of marginalized people; and
  • recognizing that inclusion is measured not only by intention, but also by the impact of our actions.

Singers dancing and singing in concert

What made you want to join the Cultural Alliance and/or What do you value the most about your Cultural Alliance Membership?

ANNA continues to value the Cultural Alliance because the alliance offers helpful workshops and seminars to guide our organization and continue our mission of social justice. Their mission speaks to us. It speaks to our work. It speaks to our community and we want to share that widely: “We lead, strengthen and amplify the voices of a cultural community that ignites creativity, inspires people and is essential for a healthy region.”

Soloist in front of a microphone

What are you most excited about for this season/that is coming up?

This season, ANNA is very busy preparing for More Than Ever, an evening with Holly Near! Tammi Brown, Jan Martinelli, Tory Trujillo with special guests Crys Matthews & Anna Crusis Women’s Choir will join Holly Near in this poignant performance. Holly Near has been singing for a more equitable world for well over 50 creative years. She is an insightful storyteller through her music, committed to keeping the work rooted in contemporary activism. One of the most powerful, consistent, and outspoken singers of our time, her concerts elevate spirits and inspire activism. A skilled performer, Holly is an outspoken ambassador for peace who brings to the stage a unique integration of world consciousness, spiritual discovery, and theatricality. This is a show you don’t want to miss! Join us for a combined musical experience that will make for an evening of affirmation, empowerment and hope.

March 25th at 7:30pm. First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia 19103. Tickets at https://annacrusis.org/events/

This season also marks ANNA’s 45th Anniversary concert, Hear Us Roar. ANNA will be premiering a special piece, commissioned by a consortium of choral ensembles from GALA Choruses, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and a call to protect the emblem of equality: THE VOTE. This poignant choral piece was masterfully composed by Joan Szymko and will be featured this summer at GALA Choruses Festival 2020 in Minneapolis, MN.

Join us at Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 19103 on Saturday, June 6th @ 7:30pm & Sunday, June 7th @ 4pm. 

More information at annacrusis.org.