Greetings From the Board Chair and Executive Director

By J. Mark Holcomb and Steven Sunderman


Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Administration, welcome to the 2019 May Festival and the City that Sings!

This season has been planned and prepared to deliver dynamic concerts, feed the mind and soul with inspiring programs, and bring people together for a diverse array of unique musical experiences like only a festival can. The season is testament to our mission to engage, energize and connect our community with the highest quality performances of great choral music.

We are indeed fortunate to have acclaimed Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena and legendary Director of Choruses Robert Porco leading the Festival artistically. For 2019, they are joined by two Creative Partners: vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, which has taken the music world by storm, and one of the most highly respected and in-demand composers in Sir James MacMillan. By design, both Creative Partners bring unique perspective and sensibility that make the 2019 Festival like no other.

Of course at the very heart of our organization is the May Festival Chorus. Robert Porco skillfully leads an ensemble of phenomenal volunteer singers—people from all walks of life—that plays an integral role in our region’s celebrated cultural vibrancy. While the Chorus’ main concentration of activity is this month, these singers work throughout the year preparing and performing in a variety of settings and serve as the official chorus for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops. They are the artistic core of the Festival, and we applaud their tremendous commitment and artistry.

Looking to the future, we also applaud our wonderful May Festival Youth Chorus, led by Matthew Swanson. This ensemble presents high school students from around the region with opportunities to participate in choral music-making at a level worthy of the professional stage. For anyone fortunate enough to have heard the Youth Chorus perform at the Basilica on April 14, you witnessed how remarkable this group, and our May Festival Chamber Choir, truly are.

We are also delighted to have the May Festival Community Choir back in action for 2019, as well as an appearance by the Vocal Arts Ensemble, as part of the Festival. We welcome our fellow choirs from around the region who will perform in the free “Sounds of the City” concert on May 19, demonstrating the incredible breadth of choral talent in the City that Sings.

It takes a village to put the May Festival together each year—tremendous time, talent and resources. We’re grateful to the many guest artists, the Festival’s Board of Directors, our volunteers, generous sponsors and donors, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra musicians and staff.

Lastly we want to thank all of you. Whether you have been subscribing for decades or this is your very first May Festival experience, we are glad you are here. If you happen to be a long-time May Festival attendee, please welcome new friends, and enjoy the performance!


Melanie M. Chavez, Chair, Board of Directors Steven Sunderman, Executive Director