From Founder and Executive Director, Vanessa Grose:
In the spring of 2018, I found that I had a music-shaped hole in my heart. I started browsing around the Seattle choral scene looking for a singing home that would fill it. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. I was looking for a singing community that would:
- Create beautiful music
- Be LGBTQ-friendly and open to all genders, especially trans and nonbinary singers
- Embrace inclusion and diversity of all kinds
- Use their musical platform to lift up marginalized voices and promote social justice
- Do all of this with warmth, heart, and kindness
By any measure, our first season was a huge success. We opened with two sold out performances of our holiday show, Snowflakes, and grew from nothing to over 100 singers in our first year. We presented two main stage shows and performed as a musical guest for Sandbox Radio, reaching over 1,300 patrons with our musical message of inclusion and kindness. And we finished our first season in the black — an incredible feat for a brand-new nonprofit organization!
We kicked off our 2019-2020 season with our most ambitious and successful production to date, Feast, presented to over 600 guests. During this period, we also had the opportunity to perform at KEXP’s Death + Music at Town Hall Seattle. We started 2020 with a cabaret concert to raise money for our singer scholarship fund and had just launched rehearsals for our spring production when the pandemic hit.
In March 2020, we quickly transitioned to virtual operations to keep our singers and our community safe. Unable to return to the stage for our planned spring concert, we released our first virtual chorus piece instead — One Voice.
For our 2020-2021 season, we re-worked our operating plans to deliver a full complement of virtual music including an irreverent song to help get out the vote; a saucy, silly, sublime holiday cabaret; a New Year’s celebration number; a hope- and affirmation-filled spring concert; and a joyful piece in honor of Pride.
In 2021, our Founding Artistic Director, Eric Lane Barnes, stepped down to focus on other creative pursuits. In early 2022, we hired a new Artistic Director, Miriam Anderson, who will be setting the creative vision for Puget Soundworks as we begin to recover from the pandemic and return to singing in person for the first time in two years. We cannot wait to be back on the stage later this year!
Throughout our short history, we have been blessed with an amazing community of singers, patrons, and friends who have supported our work. Thank you to all who have shared their time, talents, resources, and voices with us these last three years. Because of you, we can make the world a kinder, more inclusive place, one song at a time.
What’s in a name?
- We are fortunate to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and the name of the organization reflects the larger Puget Sound region we serve – not just Seattle
- Sound is a wonderful play on words with many relevant meanings – our beautiful waters, the music we make, our enduring strength
- A soundworks is like a steelworks, taking raw materials and transforming them into something strong and necessary and beautiful
- Works captures our service to the community, holding safe space, striving toward social justice