After a 4-month intensive search, Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus (SMC/SWC) are pleased to announce the selection of Karen Lane as their new executive director. Lane follows the previous executive director, Steve Smith, who left the organization in July for a new professional opportunity as President of Berkshire Choral International. SMC/SWC selected Lane after a national search led by a team of current board members, chorus representatives, staff, and community leaders.
“We are very excited to have Karen taking on the role of the executive director of the organization,” says Kevin Maifeld, the Board President. “Karen brings to the job an exceptional combination of energy, sensitivity, and proven leadership to the organization. Both the board and staff are impressed with her extensive knowledge of the nonprofit performing arts sector and her strong management skills. We expect Karen to build on the solid foundation of this forty-year old organization and to work with Artistic Director Paul Caldwell to continue to lead the LGBTQ+ choral movement in innovative and exciting work.”
Karen Lane joins SMC/SWC after serving as Director of Development since April 2018 and as Interim Executive Director since July 2019. Prior to joining SMC/SWC, Karen had a long tenured arts management and executive leadership career in the theatre community.
“I am honored to be entrusted with the leadership of the choruses at a time when our mission is more important than ever. We sing to transform society through entertaining programs. We will continue illuminating the experiences of LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized people, demonstrating a renewed commitment to inclusion and justice. I am heartened by the commitment of the Board of Directors to this work and I am thrilled to be able to work in partnership with Artistic Director Paul Caldwell,” says Lane.
"Karen is the ideal leader for our choruses," says Artistic Director Paul Caldwell. "She is an experienced arts executive. She understands the unique trajectory of our musical efforts, both past and present. And she has been a tireless advocate for LGBTQ and other underrepresented people. I congratulate our Board of Directors for selecting her. Organizational transitions can be tricky. But with Karen at the helm, our choruses won't miss a beat."
The renowned Seattle Women's Chorus and Seattle Men’s Chorus together make the largest community choral organization in North America and stand out among the largest LGBTQ-identified choruses in the world. As one of the Pacific Northwest’s most vibrant music organizations, the Choruses perform for an annual audience of more than 30,000 patrons across the Puget Sound.
The mission of SMC/SWC is 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. The vision is to create a more harmonious world that celebrates the unique identities and talents of all people.