New York City Labor Chorus
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In The Spotlight

Read about one of our Tenors, Luis Roman.

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We've featured other chorus members in the past. View the archive for our previous spotlights.


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Enjoy group singing? Enjoy stirring music that honors the past of peoples' struggles and encourages change for a better future for all? No sight-reading needed! Keep in touch to find out about auditions for 2015. Click here for details.


Please contact us to have the Chorus sing at your picket line, rally, meeting or other event.

New York City Labor Chorus
email: info@nyclc.org
212 929-3232
NYC Labor Chorus c/o CWE
275 7th Avenue, Suite 1800
New York, NY 10001


history | our conductor | our accompanist | board of directors | Staff | our unions | quotes| members


"Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation"
Coretta Scott King
1927 - 2006

The New York City Labor Chorus, with 75 members representing over 20 labor unions and District Councils, was founded in 1991. Our Chorus promotes union solidarity by expressing through song the history and ongoing struggles of workers for economic and social justice. Our dynamic repertoire combines the power and culture of union music with the great gospel, jazz, classical and folk traditions.

 

History and Purpose

Organized labor, united with its community allies, is an irrepressible social force. This is the message of the New York City Labor Chorus. The Chorus, with 75 members representing over 20 local unions and District Councils, was founded in 1991 for the purpose of bringing the message of workers' history and struggles for social and economic justice through song to people everywhere.


The Chorus has a national and international reputation as the premier multi-cultural and multi-generational labor chorus in the United States. It is a powerful cultural tool in the arsenal of workers. Wherever the struggle for people's rights is being waged, the Chorus will be there.

We stand ready to perform on picket lines, at union conventions, union rallies and shop steward meetings, as well as at community events, churches, colleges, and schools.

Our repertoire represents the great legacy of U.S. labor music. The repertoire includes songs of labor struggles, protest, and social significance. It also includes a rich diversity of music from the cultures of all working people: songs in the gospel, jazz, classical and folk traditions.

In 1997, we travelled throughout Sweden. We were hosted by two Swedish unions, LO, a union of several million blue collar workers, and SAS, the Scandinavian Workers Song Association. The Chorus performed at a five day festival in Uddevalla, along with thousands of chorus members from throughout Scandinavia. The Chorus also sang at Carnegie Hall in 1998 as part of a Tribute to Paul Robeson; in 1992 at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park at the Roots of American Music festival, and is featured on the 1998 Peter, Paul and Mary album, "Around the Campfire." Other performances include the 1992 Democratic Party National Convention, South Africa Solidarity Day and the International Workers Memorial Day at the United Nations, and annual performances in New York City's Labor Day Parade.

Our Conductor

Jana Ballard
The chorus hired Jana Ballard as our new Musical Director and Conductor in Spring, 2010. Jana's story is featured in "In the Spotlight".







Our Accompanist

Dennis Nelson
Keyboardist and songwriter Dennis Nelson is a native of Brooklyn, New York. He studied music at the Brooklyn conservatory of Music and is a graduate of Hofstra University. He has performed and toured with such artists as Felicia Marion, Valerie Boyd and Paul Fleming, and has been a member of contemporary gospel recording groups such as New York City Family and The New Hope Ensemble. His songs have been recorded by singers Valerie Boyd and, most recently, Desiree Coleman-Jackson ('Dez') on her latest project, "Sing For Me." He was co-musical director wit the gospel musical productions of "Gee Whiz! God Is!" and "Promises Of Gold." He served for many years as organist and choir director for Trinity Baptist church in Brooklyn, and is a music teacher in a New York City public school. Dennis resides in Brooklyn with his wife, Loretta, and their daughter, Kara.


Our Board of Directors

Barbara Bailey, President and Co-founder
Robert Greenberg, First Vice-President
Betty Reid, Treasurer
Susan Zugaib, Secretary
Ann Gael, Associate Treasurer
Jana Ballard, Music Director
Jeffrey Vogel, Public Relations
Ione Foote, Membership Chairperson
Alan McGowan, Grant/Fundraiser Chairperson
Donna Reid, Uniform Chairperson
Rona Armillas, Concert publications
Velma Hill, Fundraising
Lincoln Bonner, Union Liaison
Terry Weissman, Senior Center Liaison

Our Staff
Dennis Nelson, Accompanist
Ronnee Schier David, Office Manager

Unions Represented by NYC Labor Chorus Members

American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 1000 American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Postal Workers Union (APWU)
Communication Workers of America (CWA), Local 1101
Communication Workers of America (CWA), Local 1180
Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA)
District Council 37 (DC37)
DC 37, Social Service Employees Union (SSEU), Local 371
DC 37, Local 375
DC 37, Local 1251
DC 37, Local 1549
District Council 1707
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture
Operators of the US and Canada (IATSE), Local 52
New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
National Writers Union (NWU)
Professional Staff Congress (PSC)
Public Employees Federation (PEF)
Retail, Warehouse and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 108/29
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1199
Union of Needle, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE!)
United Auto Workers (UAW), District 65 Retiree Division
United College Employees of Fashion Institute of Technology (UCE of FIT)
United Federation of Teachers (UFT)
United Radio, Electrical, & Machine Workers Union (UE)



Quotes

"Inspiring" Pete Seeger

"The New York City Labor Chorus is a marvelous concept, and the members should be proud of the beautiful and passionate music they make. It's an essential recording for fans of political music, union songs or choral singing."
Live '93 - JM Sing Out! Review

"Magnificent CDs and tapes - I love the spirit of the future - you have me wanting more."
John Randolph

"A Chorus that tells us the story of our fondest hopes and dreams; real, moving, passionate and salt of the earth. Bravo!"
Peter Yarrow - Peter, Paul and Mary

"The NYC Labor Chorus sings history alive to build a better future, remembering the power of organized labor and giving harmonious voice to our best hopes for tomorrow. The Chorus is a Class Act."
Charlie King

"CWA Local 1180 has been a strong supporter of the New York City Labor Chorus since its inception in 1991. Their music speaks to and inspires the labor movement." Arthur Cheliotes
President, Local 1180 CWA