057: Giving through song. Music Director Allan Friedman and SONAM contribute to our community.

In the last 7 years, SONAM has given benefit concerts for more than 20 nonprofits from veterans organizations, to organizations that assist with food insecurity, young musicians, refugees, and more. Dr. Allan Friedman is the founding director of SONAM, Singers of New and Ancient Music, a chorus committed to creating high-quality sacred and secular music and giving back to the community. Their mission is to make excellent choral music that supports local non-profits through benefit concerts. SONAM makes music accessible, relevant, and a force for good for our community. We talk about why SONAM works, what kinds of music you might hear at a SONAM concert (which is based thematically on the nonprofit they feature) and more.

SONAM invites you to their Winter 2018 concert on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 7:30PM at First Presbyterian Church of Durham. The concert will benefit Book Harvest, a non profit serving children in central NC by supplying books and literacy support and will feature music of lullabies and dreams primarily from composers of the Baltic Basin.

Click here for  more information on that concert and other upcoming SONAM concerts.

Dr. Allan Friedman is the Music Director at Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, the Artistic Director of Women’s Voices Chorus, and the founding director of SONAM, Singers of New and Ancient Music.  From 2004 to 2012 he served as the associate conductor of Duke Chapel Music, directing the Duke Vespers Ensemble and the Duke Divinity School Choir. Friedman is also an active composer and a music educator of people of various ages throughout the Triangle.

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio. Artist Soapbox theme music by Bart Matthews. Additional audio editing by Merrybelle Park Productions.

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Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Allan’s bio.

[2:19] Allan’s mission to make music more accessible for everyone

[3:39] Sing-Shaming: The emotional, psychological, and physical effects, and how Allan plans to combat this with accessibility

[7:45] The moment Allan knew what he wanted to do with his life

[9:04] Allan’s advice for people who want to sing, but are apprehensive for whatever reason

[11:07] Why Allan founded SONAM (Singers of New and Ancient Music), its goals to give back, and why the singers volunteer their time

[14:48] Why SONAM tends to focus on ancient and new music (and why they skip the music from “in between” )

[17:15] How SONAM partners with nonprofits and uses their causes to inspire concert themes and music selections

[18:30] Allan describes the planning process for SONAM’s themed concerts

[20:29] How has SONAM evolved over it’s seven year history?

[23:39] Allan talks about his favorite concert experiences

[26:40] How might SONAM evolve as time goes on

[28:31] The makeup of SONAM’s audience, and how the nonprofits they partner with effect that

[29:37] Allan’s dreams for  SONAM

[31:23]  Allan reflects on why he thought this endeavor would work, and the leap of faith it took.

[33:37] SONAM’s upcoming concerts

[35:29] The origins SONAM’s name

[36:07] Allan shares about other upcoming projects and events outside of SONAM (including a Broadway pop-up chorus!)

[37:34] Thanks and sign-off

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  • We’re taught from a very young age in this culture to hide your light under a bushel, don’t sing out, don’t express yourself through music, when we know it’s so natural
  • I was taught when I was young that the two greatest motivators in the world were fear and money and I decided early on that that was not going to be something I wanted to do as a conductor – and so we motivate each other through respect, love, and respect for the music.

Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, live events, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Jesus Pancake, Declaration of Love, Food for Thought, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

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Jesus Pancake

Jesus Pancake is the newest scripted audio fiction series from Artist Soapbox. Nine episodes of zany dark comedy.


The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.


Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.


Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”


Food for Thought

Three pilot episodes of new scripted audio fiction series inspired by the prompt Food for Thought.


ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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