“We come together so that we can collectively create something of more lasting value and beauty than we could ever manage as individuals.”
– Conductor Robert Shaw
Berkshire Choral International (BCI) was founded in 1982 to provide amateur singers with professional level choral immersion experiences. To accomplish this goal, BCI provides weeklong singing experiences in the United States and internationally where singers study, rehearse, and perform choral masterpieces under the direction of world-class conductors with professional symphony orchestras. BCI also offers educational and scholarship programs for young music professionals and college students. In 2019 BCI’s weeklong excursions will visit Boston, Richmond, and Prague.
A typical BCI week attracts choristers from 25 to 30 states and at least five countries, making it a truly singular experience. Intensive rehearsals, classes, sectionals, and workshops are complemented by opportunities to socialize, explore, and make new friends. The week culminates with a public performance, accompanied by a symphony orchestra and renowned soloists. BCI is known for offering performances that challenge the chorus, attract outstanding conductors, and draw an appreciative audience. Recognized for its welcoming atmosphere and commitment to participant satisfaction, many choristers return year after year for a week of collaboration and shared passion for the joy of making music with the BCI family.
BCI’s educational programs offer world-class choral experiences to professional track undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students may apply to the Berkshire Scholar program, where they can receive a full scholarship to sing and study with BCI conductors and singers. Additionally, graduate music students may apply to the Berkshire Apprentice program. In this program, students can study and rehearse choral works with eminent conductors, travel to the season’s various locations, and receive benefits such as stipends and paid room and board. The BCI faculty members who teach workshops and classes are all career music professionals with advanced degrees, training, and performance experience. Additionally, a dedicated professional conductor works with the choristers in each of the season’s locations.
BCI is governed by a 14-member national board of directors, led by Chair Peter Sargent. The President oversees an artistic, production, and administrative staff of five employees as well as a 30- to 40-person seasonal staff. The current fiscal year includes budgeted revenues of $1.5 million, with 90 percent from program services and the remainder from contributions.
Sheffield is one of the 30 towns and two cities that make up the Western Massachusetts region known as the Berkshires. Known for its rich cultural offerings in a rural setting, the Berkshires offers a highly desirable lifestyle. Just a scenic few hours’ drive from Hartford, Albany, New York City, and Boston, the region features bucolic surroundings with access to many larger city amenities.
Historically an agricultural economy, the Berkshires’ growing healthcare, educational services, and tourism and hospitality sectors, as well as its strong creative economy, have attracted both entrepreneurs and investors. The Berkshires has long been a home and an inspiration to artists and arts lovers. Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art offer world-class experiences.
Berkshire County appeals to year-round residents and vacationers alike. Its award-winning healthcare system and providers are recognized among the nation’s best. The Cancer Center at Berkshire Medical Center was recently ranked among the top 1 percent in the country. The local public school system and the nearby Williams College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts offer strong community partnerships. There are also highly rated private college preparatory schools, including Berkshire School and Miss Hall’s School. A culinary mecca with some of the best farm-to-table dining in the country, the Berkshires features innovative restaurants, breweries, and wineries that draw sophisticated diners from all over the country. There are also plenty of outdoor recreational options, including biking, kayaking, and exceptional skiing. The glorious Mount Greylock provides more 70 miles of designated trails, including an 11.5-mile section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
The President will provide leadership and direction for all programming, strategic planning, board relations, and management. Developing a vision that inspires and enriches chorister involvement, the President will partner with the Music Director to determine the highest quality repertoire, venues, conductors, soloists, curriculum, and faculty. The President will be responsible for planning, developing, and overseeing implementation of marketing and development strategies in a way that meets strategic key performance indicators, with a vision toward building and expanding enrollment capacity and program opportunities.
Roles and Responsibilities
Program Development and Innovation
Foster and leverage BCI’s strong reputation as an extraordinary organization to develop future opportunities for expansion and growth, specifically with the goal of increasing participant enrollment.
Identify and promote innovative programming and offerings to expand and energize the organization’s impact.
Engage and collaborate with national and international leaders in the arts and culture sector to develop strategic and collaborative partnerships that expand programming, education, and cultural tourism opportunities.
Embrace entrepreneurial approaches beyond traditional business models.
Create inventive programming that allows participants to have memorable experiences that leave a legacy on their future growth, personal development, and social interactions.
Participant, Partner, and Audience Engagement
Ensure the highest level of programs, services, and facilities that meet the needs of the participants.
Partner with BCI’s Musical Director to select unique performance locations.
Review and revise all systems and policies to ensure BCI is delivering the highest level of participant care and satisfaction in collaboration with strategic partners.
Create avenues for participants to share feedback and suggestions about program offerings, services, touring, and performance experiences.
Refine and develop programs and benefits that enhance the experience for existing participants and attract new and diverse participants.
Leadership and Financial Accountability
Deliver positive and collaborative leadership and maintain a culture where teamwork, diversity, and inclusion are paramount.
Oversee all daily operations to ensure the organization runs smoothly with expert management of time and priorities.
Recruit, support, and retain the highest quality artistic and administrative staff.
Coach, mentor, and develop staff, providing ongoing feedback and training as appropriate.
Ensure organizational policies, systems, controls, and procedures are in alignment with BCI’s mission and regularly reviewed for efficiency and effectiveness.
Monitor organizational performance and critically review all areas of resource management for original solutions that maximize operational efficiencies.
Maintain effective short- and long-term financial sustainability with accountability for overall operating and capital budgets for board approval.
Evaluate technology needs and work with staff to find the best systems to support operational needs.
External Relations and Philanthropic Support
Provide organizational leadership in all aspects of development, marketing, and overall external relations.
Serve as the primary spokesperson for the organization in articulating its mission, vision, values, and impacts.
Guide marketing, branding, and public relations to achieve earned income goals while enhancing BCI’s brand awareness.
Collaborate with the board to cultivate existing donors for ongoing support while seeking new prospects to ensure a robust and diversified funding base.
Create advanced strategies to ensure strong ticket sales and community support for BCI performances.
Represent BCI in the larger choral music community by participating on local and regional boards, committees, and commissions.
Board Development and Governance
Regularly communicate and establish a strong working relationship with the board, encouraging all members to be active participants across the organization.
Assist in board prospect identification, cultivation, and recruitment, focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Utilize industry standards and engage board members to implement best practices and structures.
Provide support to best utilize the talents and resources of the board and work closely with board members to ensure strong fiscal health and effective governance.
Traits and Characteristics
An engaging leader, the President will be clearly established as a primary decision maker who also seeks input and collaboration from others. Highly results-oriented, the President will exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit and skill in evaluating risks and potential return on investing in appropriate human, financial, and technological resources.
Other key competencies, communications, and motivations include:
Planning, Organizing, and Priority Management – The acuity to establish relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and amount of time needed to deliver extraordinary results.
Stakeholder and Participant Focus – The capacity to build rapport and effectively communicate and listen to a wide array of engaged stakeholders who sometimes have differing opinions and priorities.
Problem Solving – The agility to respond quickly to change with minimal resistance and optimistically but intentionally move toward solutions.
Leadership – The dexterity to prioritize strategic initiatives while creating a sense of direction embedded in the active participation of a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of five to seven years of related senior management experience are required. Expertise in programming, organizational development, finance, and team building is necessary. A successful track record in best practices within the nonprofit, education, or music field is needed. Qualified candidates will have a passion for choral music and participant service as well as enthusiasm for growing an organization’s commitment to excellence, equity, diversity, and access. Residency in the Northeastern United States and a commitment to frequently working in the Berkshires office are required, as is the ability to travel nationally and internationally as necessary.
Compensation and Benefits
BCI offers a very competitive salary commensurate with experience. The benefits package includes vacation and holiday time; medial, vision, dental, life, AD&D, long-term disability insurances; and a 403(b)-retirement plan.
Application and Inquires
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and demonstrable earned and contributed revenue accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to: