Central Pennsylvania Womyn's Chorus
- HOME - -News- - About Us - - Concert - - Other Events - - Join / Support - -Music-
-Find- - Directions - - Photos - - History - - Members - - Links - -Print-
rainbow spacer

Fall 1998 Concert

(Program Notes follow the list of tunes)

Alissa P., Artistic Director
Catharine R., Accompanist

  • Encore: Big Legged Woman
  • Program Notes: Welcome to Our Celebration!

    We had a wonderful time brainstorming what we want to celebrate with you tonight. We had lots of ideas, and managed to incorporate most of them.

    We celebrate heroic individuals, and the vibrant community of which we are all a part. We celebrate particular anniversaries, and an ongoing struggle for basic human rights. We celebrate the joy of making music together, and those who are now silent.

    We celebrate our families, the human spirit, and love in all its wonderful manifestations.

    Seneca Falls, 1848

    One hundred fifty years ago, the first Women's Rights Convention was held, at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19 and 20, 1848. Three hundred women and men attended the Convention, including Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass. At the conclusion, 68 women and 32 men signed the Declaration of Sentiments drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. That declaration makes powerful reading even today, and can be found at the world wide web site of the Women's Rights National Historical Park.

    Hildegard of Bingen, 1098 – 1179

    Hildegard of Bingen was a remarkable woman, a "first" in many fields. At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, known as "Sybil of the Rhine", produced major works of theology and visionary writings.

    When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones.

    She is the first composer whose biography is known. She founded a thriving convent, where her musical plays were performed.

    Her story is an inspirational account of an irresistible spirit and vibrant intellect overcoming social, physical, cultural, gender barriers to achieve timeless transcendence.

    This brief sketch is taken from a web page written by Kristina Lerman.

    Dr. Lerman continues, "Music was extremely important to Hildegard. She describes it as the means of recapturing the original joy and beauty of paradise. According to her before the Fall, Adam had a pure voice and joined angels in singing praises to god. After the fall, music was invented and musical instruments made in order to worship god appropriately. Perhaps this explains why her music most often sounds like what we imagine angels singing to be like.

    "Hildegard wrote hymns and sequences in honor of saints, virgins and Mary. She wrote in the plainchant tradition of a single vocal melodic line, a tradition common in liturgical singing of her time. Her music is undergoing a revival and enjoying huge public success."

    Bernard W. Scholz, in The American Benedictine Review, wrote "She castigated a pope for his timidity and an emperor for moral blindness. She taught scholars and preached to clergy as no woman before her had ever done.... She claimed that now woman rather than man -- obviously Hildegard herself -- was to do God's work. It is difficult not to see in her visionary experience and activism, as well as her claim for the mission of woman in a male-dominated age, a gesture of protest, the reaction of an intelligent and energetic woman who chafed under the restraints imposed on women by the culture in which she lived."

    Hate Crimes

    Ten years ago, Rebecca Wight and Claudia Brenner were stalked and shot on the Appalachian Trail, not far from here. Rebecca was murdered, and Claudia was critically injured. Their moving tale is told by Claudia in her book, Eight Bullets (One Woman's Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence).

    One month ago, gay college student Matthew Shepherd was tortured and left to die on a fencepost in Wyoming, and his funeral was picketed by bigots carrying signs like "God Hates Fags." Two weeks later, the police in New York attacked those gathered for a vigil in Matthew's honor.

    Tonight, we celebrate the power of the human spirit to face, challenge, and overcome such hate. We celebrate the spirits of all victims of hate crimes, of everyone who has suffered or died for being different.

    Our Chorus

    In the past year (1998), the chorus succeeded in adopting a mission statement. At times it was hard, and at times it was fun. We had many long, honest talks with one another about our values as individuals and as a chorus. We even came to a consensus on the meaning of "consensus!" (Follow this link for the story and photos of this process.)

    Last summer, our artistic director Tom Tiehel, and our accompanist, Dawn Grib, both decided it was time for them to move on. We celebrate each of them for the time and talent they gave to our little band of souls, and wish them well.

    Their loss demanded that we trust that new leaders could be found so that our chorus could continue and grow. We made a decision to hold this concert even though we had no director or accompanist. Our music committee planned it and crossed its collective fingers. Just when some of us began to wonder whether we were all crazy, Alissa Plant and Catharine Roth walked in.

    With them, rehearsals this fall have been a joy. It is our pleasure now to share that joy with you. We celebrate them, the singers, the board, and all of you who make up our chorus family!

    Email Links:
    Report problems with this site
    Request info