SEATTLE, August 2, 2022 — The Board of Directors of Seattle Choruses announces today that Craig Coogan will join the organization as its Interim Executive Director. He will assume the role on September 1, 2022.
Coogan brings over 25 years of experience, including a track record of building fiscal and operational infrastructure that is grounded in organizational values, transparent communication, and collaborative decision-making in service of delivering artistic excellence to culturally diverse audiences. Most recently, Coogan served as Executive Director of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) where he oversaw pre-pandemic increases in annual ticket sales, expanded the singing membership from 175 members to 320, and grew individual, government, and foundation giving. During the pandemic, when BGMC went on a two-year hiatus from performing, the organization retained its entire staff while also adding new positions. During his tenure, Coogan deepened the organization’s commitment to racial and gender diversity by growing BIPOC membership by 28 percent and audience by 15 percent, while welcoming gender diverse choral members to the organization.
“We’re thrilled to have Craig as our new interim executive director. Within the LGBTQ choral movement, his reputation as a leader and artistic innovator is unparalleled,” said Brooks Glenn, President of the Board of Directors. “Our board, artistic staff and our members are excited to work with him to grow our organization and expand our reach as we continue in our mission to transform society through innovative and entertaining programs that build community, illuminate the experiences of LGBTQ people and their allies, expand inclusion, and inspire justice.”
Priorities for Seattle Choruses’ Interim Executive Director include creating and sustaining the conditions through which choral music of the highest quality that also shares stories of the LGBTQ+ experience can be performed for culturally diverse audiences throughout Seattle and beyond.
“My passion is creating systems that make is possible for artists to do their best work. The commitment of Seattle Choruses to artistic excellence, equity, and visibility is foundational to its ability to deliver on and expand its mission,” Coogan said. “I’m incredibly honored, excited, and proud to be joining Seattle Choruses at a time when the life-changing moments of understanding that can be created by music are needed now more than ever.”
“Craig is a visionary leader whom I am proud to call a friend and thought partner. GALA Choruses is fortunate to have him as a dedicated change agent in the LGBTQ+ choral movement. Today, raising our voices in song in the face of unrelenting anti-LGBTQ attacks in state legislatures and by right-wing activists has never been more important” said Michael Tate, president of GALA Choruses’ Board of Directors. “We wish to congratulate him on his new position with the Seattle Choruses. Be it in Seattle or Boston, we’re glad he will remain a part of the GALA Choruses family.”
Coogan is a seasoned nonprofit arts leader who substantially increased BGMC’s profile locally, nationally, and internationally through innovative, enterprising programming and marketing. He launched BGMC’s YouTube presence which has nearly 500 videos that have been seen 11 million times. BGMC’s music is now available on iTunes and Spotify and has over 300,000 downloads. During his 10-year tenure with BGMC, Coogan facilitated more than 30 commissions and other investments in artistic product, including developing multiple new works by living BIPOC and transgender artists. He conceived of and raised funds for BGMC’s historic Middle East and South Africa tours, which resulted in international media attention and “Cultural Ambassador” recognition from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and three Massachusetts mayors.
Prior to BGMC Coogan was the first-ever full-time Executive Director for One Voice Mixed Chorus, the highly regarded LGBTQ chorus in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1997-2007, Coogan served as the inaugural Treasurer for Vox Femina Los Angeles, the renowned women’s choral ensemble.