remembrance and joy
Welcome to Conpsirare Christmas! To view the videos below in full screen, press the red play button, then click the square on the bottom right-hand side of the video. You can also use this link:
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Conspirare thanks Per Stirling for sponsoring Conspirare Christmas.
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Meet the Artists
Peter Jurski, Treble Soloist
Meet our Featured Ambassador
My journey with Conspirare began in late 2016 when I interviewed for and accepted the Production Administrator position. This was a role unlike any other I’d taken in my career, and I was so excited to work alongside my mom, Kathy Leighton (Conspirare’s House and Ambassador Manager), and feed my soul with non-profit work.
In the nonprofit world, it is often “all hands on deck” across the board, and one thing I truly enjoyed was working with our Ambassadors. They became my friends and the folks I knew I could call on for extra support! My favorite interactions were meeting them in our office on Wednesdays to get their help with clerical work, preparing CD packages when we had big releases or pre-sales, and just getting to know them as people and patrons. After 5 and a half wonderful, loving, and insightful years working for Conspirare, my time there came to an end to pursue other dreams at the beginning of 2021. But…I couldn’t stay away (not just because Kathy wouldn’t let me!). I started “ambassador-ing” right away during the pandemic helping out with front-of-house ushering, making patron thank-you calls, and being an online concert usher. I feel so lucky to get to nurture the friendships I made with the singers, staff, and volunteers!
Growing up, I sang in the choir in middle school, played various instruments, and have always had a special place in my soul for music and performance. Craig’s choices in programming are inspiring, thought-provoking, and spiritual in a way that we often forget to nurture in our daily lives. Alongside the music, Kathy has developed and grown a strong and nurturing volunteer program that truly speaks to the joy that is Conspirare. It almost feels selfish being a volunteer – I feel like I’m making a difference while also getting to be a part of history and music-making. While not on staff anymore, being a part of Kathy’s team as an Ambassador and in life is one of my greatest joys.
To learn more about our Ambassador program, click here!
Joel Brauer: Inspiring a Legacy of Inspiration, Unity and Abiding Love Through Music
Joel Brauer enriched and blessed the lives of those who knew him. As a fifth-generation pastor, Joel Brauer followed the family calling with a ministry that focused on compassion, forgiveness, and love. When Joel passed away recently, his family created a fund in his honor to enable Conspirare to create new choral works that reflect the values they share. In this way, they hope his legacy of acceptance, love, and community continues through new choral works that express the beauty and potential of our world.
One of Mary’s favorite memories of her brother was the summer of 1970 when she toured Europe singing with the St. Olaf Choir and Joel, a post graduate student at Cambridge, was able to come along. He attended every concert, “persuading” her to press his sport coat each evening and providing nightly unsolicited performance critiques.
“Joel believed in the power of music to move people,” Mary recalls. “He particularly understood the potential of combining text with music as transformative in nature. Choral music brings Joel’s memory to life for me.”
A favorite memory Mary Delk and Sarah Brauer, Joel’s daughter, share is when he visited Austin in 2016 to see Sarah sing in Conspirare’s world premiere of Considering Matthew Shepard.
Sarah recalls of her father: “He was a good listener. I’d tell him about the spiritual discoveries I was having as I sang that work,” she says. Once he told her: “Singing is your ministry. What you’re preaching through your voice is love.”
“Joel was vibrant and fully engaged in the presence of another,” Mary adds, “and he had a deep appreciation of beauty.” Audiences will benefit greatly from the new music that Conspirare will bring to life thanks to Joel’s family’s thoughtful generosity.
A Few of Joel Brauer’s Favorite Things:
- Golf with close friends (though he fought with his clubs weekly)
- Family gatherings (especially meals)
- Books (poetry and history especially)
- All things British (Anglican cathedrals, hiking in the Lake District, Helen Mirren)
- Conspirare’s recording of “Sure on This Shining Night”
Friends and Foundations
Anonymous • Marvin J. Brittman • Fran & Larry Collmann • Danna & Crutch Crutchfield • Lynne Dobson & Greg Wooldridge • William Fivecoat • Lara & Robert Harlan • Richard Hartgrove & Gary Cooper • Tina & Dale Knobel • Gail & Jeffrey Kodosky • Wendi & Brian Kushner • Gayle & Mike Roche • Eva & Marvin Womack Foundation
Conspirare is funded and supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, Texas Commission on the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.