Thank you for supporting local nonprofits and retailers that have been featured in Little Village’s 2021 Give Guide. As you may be less familiar with The Quire, we’re doing a little extra introduction of who we are and what we do! If you are familiar with us and have a donation already in mind, click the donate button below!
Founded in 1995 by Director Rick Yramategui, The Quire debuted at the Iowa City Pride talent show in June that year, followed by the first winter concert in December 1995.
Every year since, The Quire has worked to maintain the sense of community, the musical experience, and the idea that singing loudly and proudly can be an act of defiance all its own. In a time when LGBTQ+ folks faced even more stigma than many do today, simply being part of The Quire took no small amount of courage. Gathering as a group and singing music that was, at times, obviously and intentional themed around LGBTQ+ and social justice narratives was a way of bringing music to the battle for equal rights for LGBTQ+ folks.
In service of this goal, The Quire most recently supported the commission of a choral work on the life of Bayard Rustin, in addition to a work highlighting the Stonewall Uprisings.
Learn more about The Quire’s milestones over the course of its first 25 years –> click here!
Learn more about the Gay Choral Movement — the musical cultural shift that continues to influence the LGBTQ+ community and the performing arts community –> click here!
The Quire returned to rehearsals in September 2021 after 18 months apart due to COVID-19. During the long hiatus, The Quire produced its first virtual choral piece, The Virtual Quire Project, which tested technological and artistic boundaries across the organization.
The Quire also joined in virtual Pride celebrations, celebrated the life of a longtime volunteer, and bid farewell to its second longest serving Director. Along with continuing to fundraise, providing a sense of community for Members, and fulfilling the organizational necessities, The Quire’s leadership also initiated and completed a search for a new Artistic & Choral Director, in cooperation with the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City.
As The Quire returns to rehearsals, these new skills and new leadership build the firm foundation established in recent years. Through music and community engagement, The Quire continues to learn and teach about justice and equity, using music as its primary tool, while also ensuring the space we have built to make music remains open and accessible to all who affirm the humanity of our Members — and the LGBTQ+ community broadly.
For 25 years, The Quire has remained a space for music and queer community to thrive in the Iowa City area. While the organization has seen better times and harder times, it has remained active since its founding in 1995. That commitment has laid the foundation to envision another 25 years of music and activism that extends beyond Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and may even extend beyond just one chorus making music.
Such goals, however, are tempered by reality — a reality that nonprofit work is not easy and often underpaid, and that even deeply loved and needed organizations can suffer from a small period of poor leadership or a change in community engagement.
As such, The Quire remains committed to serving our current mission to the best of our ability, while not losing sight of longer term goals that will require significant financial investment, meaningful development in organizational management, additional staff who are paid a fair and livable wage, and confronting some of the uncomfortable truths of being a primarily white, cisgender organization that seeks to engage in conversations of justice and equity in helpful and holistic ways.