APPROVED OCTOBER 2021
Seraphic Fire is devoted to fostering an inclusive environment where the enjoyment and benefits of the vocal art form are accessible to the entire community, and where all voices are listened to and valued. We commit to increasing diversity of our audiences, fostering more accessible and equitable education programs, increasing engagement with institutions of higher learning and community partners, deepening and diversifying our artistic roster, performing works that represent the rich tapestry of composers throughout the world, and recruiting and cultivating a more inclusive Board and staff that is representative of the communities we serve. Our work is not done until every member of our community, audience, students, supporters, ensemble, Board, and administration can point to Seraphic Fire as an organization that sets a high standard, is deeply rooted in the community we serve, and lives by the values we embrace.
Current Work on DEI
Throughout the 2020-21 Season, the Seraphic Fire administration has met monthly to discuss ways in which the entire organization can meaningfully and earnestly incorporate DEI efforts to affect change encompassing all constituencies – staff, Board, artists, students, audiences, and supporters. The work included an assessment of our audience and student demographics as compared to the Miami-Dade community at large, to better understand how we currently reflect the community we serve and so we can measure our progress and effectiveness over time.
In March of 2021, artists and Board members joined the staff in a conversation facilitated by the Aspen Leadership Group. Following this session, the administration developed several initiatives, aligned with the four pillars of our Strategic Plan, to focus Seraphic Fire’s work on DEI. These initiatives are currently under review by the Board and will be voted on in Spring 2022.
Seraphic Fire endeavors to focus on action tied to measurable goals so that we can share concrete evidence of our work with our community.
Historical Assessment & Artistic Goals
ENSEMBLE MEMBERSHIP & REPERTOIRE
At the founding of Seraphic Fire, 50% of founding artists were individuals of BIPOC backgrounds, and 50% also identified as LGBTQI+. Over the course of its history, the organization has prominently featured ethnically/ culturally diverse soloists and composers (both historical and contemporary commissioned artists) in a variety of repertoire. Similarly, Seraphic Fire commissions and performs works by women composers and those composers who either self-identify or have been identified through a historical lens as LGBTQI+.
In looking towards our future, Seraphic Fire aims to offer 50% of new roster positions to individuals who are underrepresented in Western classical music. Similarly, Seraphic Fire aims to offer 50% of new commissions to composers who are underrepresented in Western classical music.
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
The Seraphic Fire Youth Initiative has, for the past decade, served a population that is almost exclusively BIPOC youth. Through participatory choral programs, in-school education programs, and free concerts, Seraphic Fire has built long-term relationships with Miami-Dade County Public Schools to bring choral music to youth regardless of economic or cultural background.
The Professional Choral Institute (PCI) at the Aspen Music Festival and School is working, through both scholarships and mentoring, to increase access to training for BIPOC students for careers in professional choral music. Through PCI, we have worked directly with the Aeolians at Oakwood University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University). Seraphic Fire aims to increase scholarships at PCI for BIPOC students and those who are at an economic disadvantage.
SFM RECORDING CATALOGUE
Of the 16 recordings in the Seraphic Fire catalogue, 12 feature compositions, commissions, and soloists from communities who are underrepresented in Western classical music, including BIPOC composers and soloists, and women composers. Seraphic Fire aims to continue using its recording catalogue to highlight composers and soloists from communities historically underrepresented in Western classical music.