Honoring the centennial of the most momentous achievement during the struggle for women’s rights in American history, Classical Movements’ 10th annual Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival (June 30—July 6, 2020) will again look globally with “World Voices for Women: Pioneers, Progress, Purpose”—inviting vocal ensembles of all kinds to celebrate the many international triumphs that women have achieved, while acknowledging how much more remains to be accomplished. 

Our own Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program will commission female-identifying composers to write brand-new choral works celebrating the legacy of six key suffragists.

The latest in our ongoing, conscious efforts to amend the canon by giving voice to composers too long excluded from the repertoire, with the 2020 Serenade! Choral Festival’s “World Voices for Women: Pioneers, Progress, Purpose,” we look forward to what higher mountains we will climb, deeper rivers we will cross and future glass ceilings we shall shatter.

Choirs will get to work with guest conductor, Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

For more detailed information on Classical Movements’
2020 Serenade! Choral Festival, please call or email:
(+1) 703-683-6040



Serenade! 2020 Will Be Celebrating the Legacy of the Following Suffragists:

Mary Church Terrell

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) was an educator, advocate for civil rights and the founding president of the National Association of Colored Women. Terrell began campaigning for suffrage during her undergraduate studies at Oberlin and continued to be active in the National Association Woman Suffrage Association, where she befriended Susan B. Anthony. Throughout the years leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Terrell pushed for the involvement of black women in suffrage advocacy. In the years after, Terrell continued to draw public attention to injustices, particularly those faced by black Americans.

“What a reproach it is to a government which owes its very existence to the love of freedom in the human heart that it should deprive any of its citizens of their sacred and cherished rights.”


Crystal Eastman

Crystal Eastman (1881-1928) was a lawyer, founder of the ACLU and a lawyer and an active supporter of a range of progressive social causes, including workers’ rights and women’s suffrage. She was a founding member with Alice Paul and others of what would eventually become the National Woman’s Party. Even after the passage of the 19th Amendment, she continued to advocate for women’s rights, drafting with Paul the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment.

“What is the problem of women’s freedom? It seems to me to be this: how to arrange the world so that women can be human beings, with a chance to exercise their infinitely varied gifts in infinitely varied ways…”


Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee (1896-1966) was an activist, writer and religious leader, particularly known for mobilizing support for women’s suffrage among New York’s Chinese immigrant community. Lee was outspoken in her support for women’s rights throughout her undergraduate and graduate career; Lee became the first woman to receive a PhD from Columbia University and soon after assumed leadership of the Baptist mission in Chinatown, to which she dedicated herself for the rest of her life.

“…the feministic movement is not one for privileges to women, but one for the requirement of women to be worthy citizens and contribute their share to the steady progress of our country toward prosperity and national greatness.”


Alice Paul

Alice Paul (1885-1977) became a leader of the American women’s suffrage movement after her initial experience in Britain’s suffrage movement and was central to the efforts to pass women’s suffrage in the United States. At times criticized for her aggressive tactics and repeatedly willing to brave arrest and brutality, Paul was responsible for some of the most visible and memorable demonstrations, including the Silent Sentinels who protested outside of the White House.  After the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Paul continued to campaign for women’s rights, encouraging support of the Equal Rights Amendment and for the protection of women in the Civil Rights Act in 1964. 

“There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”


Mary Burnett Talbert

Mary Burnett Talbert (1866-1923) was a lecturer, educator and activist, involved in a range of causes and particularly committed to voting rights – for both women and African-Americans. Talbert earned a university degree at a time when that was still exceptionally rare for black women and dedicated her considerable talents as a writer and speaker to lecturing persuasively in support of social causes, including suffrage. She served as president of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs and was involved in the short-lived, but influential Niagara Movement.

“It should not be necessary to struggle forever against popular prejudice, and with us as colored women, this struggle becomes two-fold, first, because we are women and second, because we are colored women.”


Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) was a groundbreaking journalist, whose investigative reporting exposed some of the most egregious injustices faced by African-Americans. Wells’s campaigning for women’s suffrage was deeply tied to her continued efforts towards the rights of African-Americans; Wells founded the Alpha Suffrage Club in 1913 and was fiercely critical of racism within the broader suffrage movement.

“I am not taking this stand because I personally wish for recognition. I am doing it for the future benefit of my whole race.”


“The most genuinely international ensemble I’ve ever heard, apart from the Olympic Games.”

“The goal is to educate both the singers and audiences about different cultures.”


It was a very special pleasure for us to have been involved in Serenade! It was an enjoyable, instructive and educational experience for us all. The physical, cultural and psychological distance travelled by the women and men of the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir from the dust of Central Australia to the world’s most powerful capital and its prestigious stages was monumental, mind stretching and historic, expanding their horizons, enhancing their skills, and widening their friendship circle.

“Absolutely magical…you have created something truly special with the Serenade! Festival.”

Grant Gershon | Artistic Director, Los Angeles Master Chorale

“Laced with precision, care, passion, variety and excitement,
Classical Movements is the go-to company to organize a festival such as Serenade!”

Madras Youth Choir (India)

“The high-class of [Serenade!] is exceptional.”

Philippe Ostiguy | Artistic Director, Les Voix Boréales (Canada)

“With all the many different musical experiences we had,
it is impossible to put into words how amazing Serenade! was.”

Laura Jēkabsone | Latvian Voices

“Serenade! is the best choral event I have ever attended.”

Jim S., audience member