Welcome back, maybe?

Hello, Quire Members and extended family!

It is that time of year where, under normal circumstances, we would be gathering again for another year of music, community, and continuing our long tradition of being over-eager in greeting the new people who come to our first rehearsals. Alas, the scourge of the novel coronavirus continues to make such gatherings difficult, so we are having to take a different approach this year. The Board, however, remains committed to building an experience which still connects us all throughout this year, which will include musical elements, social elements, and even opportunities to push forward a central part of our organization’s mission — fighting for (and learning about) justice in our communities!
With that in mind, I re-start these announcement emails with a few opportunities and some notes for the Membership to keep in mind. Please read and reach out if you have any questions!

Leadership looks good on you! 

The work of The Quire is made possible by volunteers like you! This year, we have two Board committees which could use your expertise and insight. Committees will meet once a month via Zoom to push forward the various topics that will generate proposals for the Board to consider. Committee work like this is not only a great way to have a direct impact on how The Quire works, but is also a way to get involved in leadership that may be more accessible for folks who have been interested in serving in leadership in the past, but felt it was a daunting opportunity. The current committees are:

  • The Finance Committee, chaired by the Board Treasurer, will be the driving force for the financial well-being of The Quire. This committee will be handling both the formal budgeting and financial recommendations for the Board, and will also be key to the fundraising discussions in the organization. No formal background in financial work is needed, but it may be helpful. Anyone interested, please reach out to Amanda Schneider, Board Treasurer, at amanda@thequire.org.
  • The Membership Committee will be focused on engagement this year — ensuring Members have adequate social opportunities, meaningful connections to the larger organization and within their sections, and the organization’s connections to the larger community! Planning of socials, organizing volunteers, and brainstorming ideas for engagement will be a major part of this committee’s work. Anyone interested, please reach out to Emily Jasper, Board Vice Chair, at emily@thequire.org.

 So… what is this season going to look like? 

The Quire’s 2020-2021 Season is, like much of the world, going to look unlike anything we have experienced before. The Board is continuing to formulate what we can reasonably achieve, in combination with the Artistic Staff and other supports. As a tentative outlining of changes to the season, the Board is considering:

  • Holding back on a full Winter Concert and instead trying to evaluate the possibility of an alternative performance, whether recorded and debuted or presented in curated live segments. Either option requires significant planning to present something that highlights the skills and message of The Quire.
  • Hosting casual, socially focused Zoom gatherings and — when appropriate and open to those who are comfortable — in-person gatherings to continue our sense of connectedness and community.
  • Presenting Zoom-based discussions and workshops around various topics featuring local and regional facilitators.
  • Evaluating if a 25th Anniversary Celebration will truly be feasible for the Spring Concert, or if we will need to hold off again to ensure the wonderful commissioned work gets the appropriate spotlight.
  • Focusing specific energy around fundraising to ensure our financial foundation is well-maintained for whatever the future presents to us — whether GALA Festival in 2021, internal investments in music or staffing, or other opportunities which a healthy financial position would make possible.

 How to stay engaged 

The Quire is full of opportunities to stay engaged with what’s going on — some of it hands on, some of it just easy viewing!

  • Board Meetings have resumed on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, from 4:30 – 6 PM. Link to this information can be found on the Chorus Connection Home Page, and can also be found here. These meetings are open and anyone is welcome to call in to listen to the Board at work.
  • Volunteer opportunities are available to support The Quire. Currently, The Board is seeking:
    • Development Assistant, who will help track donor information, donations, and help acknowledge the wonderful donors who support our work. This position can have multiple people involved, and will likely be working closely with the Treasurer and other Board Members.
    • Social Media Support, who will help post and generate content for the social media platforms utilized by The Quire. This will be a light-duty volunteer role, but will require some previous experience using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
    • Music Librarian, who will be the point-person cataloging, distributing, and collecting the music made available to singers. This role is likely to be a little heavy to get started in, but a new person will have plenty of support from the Board and Artistic Staff — and once the role is familiarized, it should be a generally limited ask on someone’s time.
  • Please email Emily Jasper, Vice-Chair, at emily@thequire.org if you are interested in volunteering in any of these roles!

We, as the Board, are also open to feedback, concerns, and ideas about the upcoming season. Recognizing that this will be unlike any other year, it is important that any ideas be given the chance to help us make the best of oddball of a year. Please consider lending your thoughts, your time, your energy, or other support to The Quire to make this 2020-2021 Season just as memorable as those in years past.

Yours in song,
Nolan Petersen (he/him/his)
Chair, Board of Directors, The Quire
C: 319.853.8619  |  nolan@thequire.org

2020 Annual Membership Meeting

For the first time, The Quire held a virtual voting and membership meeting due to the circumstances of novel coronavirus/COVID-19. This screen recording not only will serve as the record of the meeting but will be available for the public to see how we work!

Learn more about us here, at TheQuire.org, where you can also donate to our organization — the longest running LGBTQ+ focused nonprofit in Iowa City and the only formally organized LGBTQ+ choral organization in Eastern Iowa.

Slideshow for the meeting can be accessed here.

1:32 — Introductions
21:13 — Year in Review
~~ 25:27 — Financial Review
32:05 — Year Ahead
43:30 — Election and Bylaw Amendment Results
50:20 — Closing Announcements
~~ 54:45 — Gratitude & Acknowledgments
1:02:20 — Good for the Welfare

Music (and other items) Amnesty

The Quire is calling all singers, friends, family, neighbors, strangers…. whomever you may be! Do you have music from The Quire? Perhaps a folder that you borrowed and didn’t get returned? Maybe even some outfits that are taking up space in your closet??

It’s the Quire’s Musical (and other items) Amnesty! With no judgement, no shame, and no negative vibes at all, The Quire humbly requests you to take a quick look through your files and see what bits and pieces might need to be returned to us. Then hop onto this form and let us know, tell us how you’d like to return them (by mail, by pickup, or by delivery), and we’ll be in touch!

If you have items that perhaps were in your possession but seem to have found… other homes… we just ask you to consider making a donation to help cover the cost of replacing those items. Donations can be made right here, on thequire.org, and will go toward supporting the work we have been doing for 25 years!

We are asking everyone — current singers, past singers, guest singers, visitors, and more — to return any and all property of The Quire so we have can do a full inventory! This may includes items such as:

  • Music
  • Folders
  • Equipment
  • Outfits (concert attire or otherwise)
  • Event materials
  • Paperwork or documents

We are also looking for photos, articles, videos, and more to help populate our (future) archive of Quire history — a recording of the work that has been done for the last 25 years and how we will aim to sustain the work for another 25 years and beyond!

25 Years of The Quire!

Since 1995, The Quire has been serving the Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Eastern Iowa as the area’s only LGBTQ+ choral group. Starting in June 1995, The Quire first performed publicly at a talent show hosted during Iowa City Pride. This year, as we honor our 25th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of Iowa City Pride — and sadly miss out on celebrating both due to the novel coronavirus pandemic — we remain resilient as one of the only LGBTQ+ organization in the area that has survived through all of these year, and we look forward to continuing on for more than the next 25 year.

Thank you for stopping by our website to learn more, whether that’s finding out when the next rehearsal is, finding out where you can see a performance, or inquiring how you can support the work we do so we can continuing building community through song for many years to come.

A Statement from The Quire in Support of Black Anger & Protest

“A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Black Lives Matter. In songs we have sung, in actions we have taken, in the stories of our Members, in the solidarity we seek — Black.Lives.Matter. The Board of The Quire respects and supports the actions of Black folk who are pushing back against a system of oppression, white supremacy, and police brutality, and condemns the ongoing violence being committed against Black people by militarized police departments, vigilantes, and white supremacists in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. The Board supports the acts of resistance taken to save lives, to stand for justice, and to defend the right to protest, and we call on anyone reading this to engage with these struggles however you can. With guidance from Black people, white and non-Black people of color can stand in solidarity in ways which advance the fight for justice, without causing further harm or erasure to Black voices and Black lives. 

As an organization that also has historically been primarily populated with non-Black members, the Board of The Quire also acknowledges the ways in which The Quire has, intentionally or unintentionally, contributed to the oppressive environment and white-washed artistic expressions that can often come from musical groups with primarily white membership. The Board of The Quire recognizes that creating an inclusive environment is not just about being friendly, but about critically asking how we — as leaders, members, staff, and community — can proactively resist the white privilege and covert white supremacy that exists within the well-intentioned work we do. The Board remains committed to listening to our Black members, the Black community in and around Iowa City, and to the voices of Black people across the country as we continue gathering in song to sing for justice, as we have done for 25 years

The Quire, as a space built by and for LGBTQ+ people, is directly linked to the riots that gave rise to many of the advances in LGBTQ+ rights we see today — the riots at the Stonewall Inn, the riots outside healthcare institutions during the AIDS crisis, and the civil disobedience that was present during the fight for marriage equality. In short: The Quire’s leadership understands that justice doesn’t always come quietly, and rarely does it come without resistance. In the wake of these disturbing deaths, as communities across the country have responded to the hurt and anger that is the result of generations of violence primarily against Black and Brown bodies, it becomes essential for us to stand for the promise of justice, equity, and equality that remains unfulfilled to so many in this country.

In solidarity,

The Quire Board of Directors

A square graphic with a rainbow background, a circle filled with the colors of the transgender flag, and a raised fist with varying shades of brown similar to skin tones.

Meet The Quire’s new accompanist!

two-pianistsWhether tonight is your first concert, or you’ve been a fan and supporter for years – there will be something new besides our music!

Leslie Hyland joins us as our esteemed accompanist, and she’s pretty great.  If you would like to know more about her, keep reading.  And be sure to say hello to her if you get the chance!

Are you originally from Iowa? If so, where? If not, where did you grow up?
I am originally from Wisconsin. My family then lived in Arkansas and we moved to Iowa at the end of my sixth grade year. We lived in Swisher and I graduated from Prairie High School. I have been living in Iowa City for the last 4 years.

How long have you been involved in music? Have you done anything else musically besides your current focus?
I’ve been playing the piano for almost 25 years. I also play the oboe and English Horn and am trying to teach myself the saxophone. Additionally, I have been teaching drumline for the past few years, focusing on working with the front pit ensemble. So lots of music!

What’s your favorite kind of music (or your favorite artist)?
It would be really hard for me to pick one favorite kind of music or artist. One genre I really enjoy is Bluegrass/Folk and one of my favorite artists in that style is Sarah Jarosz. I also listen to a lot of classical music (especially at work) and like anything that is fun to sing along to (musicals included)!

How did you get connected to The Quire? How long have you been in your current position with the group?
I actually remember very distinctly seeing a poster advertising the group on one of the city buses a few years back. I was very interested at the time in finding a way to be a part of the group. After meeting with the director, and hearing her talk about inclusivity and building bridges, I am excited to be a part of the group!

What’s your favorite thing about being connected to the group?
Other than the fact that I love being involved with music, I think it’s going to be a group full of people I want to know! I’m also glad to be connected to the LGBTQIA community in this area.

What’s the location of your favorite vacation spot to date? Name one place you would like to go.
I would say that my favorite place to visit (other than going to see family) is Washington, D.C. since I love museums and US History. There isn’t really anywhere I wouldn’t go, but Italy and New Orleans are definitely high up the list.

Do you know any other languages or would you like to learn one?
I took German throughout high school, and a little French, Italian, and Latin in college. But I haven’t really retained much to be honest! Mostly it’s just helped me with pronunciation.

If you could share one final thought (favorite quote, life lesson, etc.), what would it be?
Always treat others the way you would like to be treated, and always treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend.

Call for Singers!

The Quire is gearing up for our new season – and we’d love it if you would join us!  If you’ve ever thought about singing with us, feel free to attend one of our first three rehearsals.  Hope to see you soon!

Recruitment Poster - Fall 17

The concert is on!

Hello everyone!

Although it is snowing away outside, we still have songs in our heart and want to sing.  The concert (tonight at Zion Lutheran, 7:30 pm) is still on – and we hope you can join us!

If you decide that you can make it, please drive carefully!  See you soon!

Meet Gayle!

This Fall, Gayle Hartwig joins The Quire as our new director, bringing with her over 45 years of music education and experience!  I talked with Gayle recently, and she shared some information so that we could all get to know her better.


Are you originally from Iowa? If so, where? If not, where did you grow up?

I grew up on a farm located along the banks of the Wapsipinicon River. My home town is Olin – Jones County, Iowa.


How long have you been involved in music? Have you done anything else musically besides your current focus?

My career in music started in Greene, Iowa where I taught K-12 vocal music for 2 years. During college, I spent summers working at several summer camps. Those were the days of playing the guitar and singing around the campfire. It was after teaching for several years that I became involved with the “Iowa Mountaineers”. I was able to do some traveling with them, climb mountains during the day and play my guitar and sing around the campfire at night.

It was these early experiences that eventually led me to be a part of the Iowa Arts Council where I developed programs for schools and community events, several of the programs were: “Songs from an Iowa Front Porch”, “Steam Heat, Gas Lamps, Hot Wieners and Opera”.

I don’t remember a time that I was not involved in music in one way or another. My mom and dad and extended family would sing for personal entertainment on the front porch of our home. Olin is a small community and we were quite proud of the music programs, both vocal and instrumental, that were offered in our school. There are an amazing number of professional musicians in the world today that are products of the Olin, Iowa school system. We were blessed with amazing teachers.

What’s your favorite kind of music (or your favorite artist)?

I have taught at the college level, maintained a private voice studio, directed church and community choirs, and most recently taught Music Appreciation and World music to non majors at the Centerville, Iowa campus of Indian Hills Community College. I really enjoy all kinds of music and want to keep learning new genres of music. I do enjoy “story songs”.

How did you get connected to The Quire?

I became connected to The Quire through friends who sing with the group and through friends who support the group. I am so looking forward to working with The Quire! This will be a new and invigorating challenge for me. My goals include working to continue the excellent musical sounds that The Quire is known for and growing together as a group in the community and beyond. I can’t wait to get started creating sounds together.

What’s the location of your favorite vacation spot to date? Name one place you would like to go.

My husband recently retired. We purchased our first home which is such a dream come true. I love our home so much and love working in the yard so much – It’s like a vacation home to me!! 🙂 That being said, I do want to travel to Schleswig-Holstein Germany, particularly I want to visit Heide and do some ancestry research. I do speak a little German.

What or who inspires you?

I enjoy having a glass of wine with good friends and good conversation. I am inspired by people I meet! I love to hear their stories and learn from them.

music notes

If you would like to know more about Gayle, singing members or The Quire in general, feel free to join us at our first rehearsal – this Sunday, August 28th, at Zion Lutheran Church (310 N Johnson Street, Iowa City) at 6 p.m.

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