SF Boys Chorus leadership criticized

June 13, 2012 11:32:05 PM PDT
San Francisco's internationally renowned Boys Chorus is on the verge of a crisis. Some parents are questioning whether to send their children to the organizations summer camp next month and others may not rejoin in the fall.

The dispute has nothing to do with the boys' beautiful voices or those who train them. It's over management of the organization, which parents call non-responsive.

The San Francisco Boys Chorus is one of the city's jewels. The Grammy Award-winning ensemble was founded in 1948 and sings all over the world. But now the organization has hit a sour note. More than 100 parents have signed a petition expressing dissatisfaction with the board of directors.

Parent Fif Ghobadian says the board is shutting them out.

"We just want to have a voice on the board, simply want to be involved, simply to engage the parents," Ghobadian said. It'll help with fundraising and strengthen the organization."

But on the administrative side, parents accuse what one calls an "unbelievably disrespectful" board of directors for chasing away most of the staff and refusing outside input.

"It's clear the board is way out of step," San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said.

Brown pumps $25,000 each year into a scholarship he created to add racial diversity to the chorus. He says some board members have tried to kill his program and are not functioning the way a non-profit should...

"When you exclude the public and refuse to have sunshine and light on what you're doing, you clearly are running it as a very private club," Brown said.

Brown's daughter Susan is on the board, and parents like Ghobadian have singled her out as a supporter who believes they deserve more say.

"Why would you resist help from your parent community if it wasn't about power?.")) Fif Ghobadian

Brown says the state attorney general should look into the management of the chorus.

No comment from members of the board Wednesday. The artistic director made a statement thanking them for supporting his vision for the past 16 years, but, again, the art component is not what has parents upset.


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