Founded by Jane Clark, Juliet Jackson and Cindy Sohn in 1993 to be a chorus with a message, CHARIS Chorus started out as a lesbian chorus, open to all women.
Our members are women and nonbinary people across various ages, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, and abilities who share a goal to seek musical excellence, voice messages of social justice, and create a fun and supportive space for all.
We are led by Dr. Stuart Chapman Hill (Artistic Director of CHARIS since May 2017) and Michaela Cruse (Assistant Artistic Director since August 2021).
CHARIS prides itself on the diversity of its membership, program, and audience. We are 40 to 60 people strong, varying in age from 16 to 70, and represent a variety of ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, economic situations, abilities, and disabilities.
Our programs include a wide repertoire including pop, classical, spirituals, and world music, as well as Broadway reviews with full choreography and scripted performances for Women's History Month with historical and contemporary roles played by local Equity actors.
We've also collaborated with other choruses, individual guest artists, and other community arts and social services organizations. In the past, we've created concerts for families to include children in our performances, collaborating first with Stella Maris Early Childhood Center, and later with Family Tree, a support group for lesbian and gay parents.
CHARIS regularly performs cabaret-style concerts with accomplished guest artists, including Denise Thimes, Kim Massie, nationally known singer and activist Holly Near, and comedienne and entertainer Lisa Koch among others.
We market ourselves to the entire St. Louis Metropolitan community and choose venues that are accessible and easy to reach by public transportation.