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Sisters & Songwriters

Fall 2006 concert
Nov. 18 Colonial Park United Church of Christ (Harrisburg)

Giesala Collins, Artistic Director (far left, front row)
Anthony Haubert, Accompanist (Piano) (next to Giesala)
Renee Bartholomew, Percussion (next to Anthony)
Chris Purcell, Artistic Assistant (far right, front row)
Patricia George, Bass (far left)

(More Photos)

With special guests, Bobbi Carmitchell and Janie Womack
(bios at bottom of page)

Message from the Director

(published in the program book)

Welcome to our concert "Sisters & Songwriters." This evening is a celebration of female songwriters who forged a new genre of music beginning in the early 1970’s, of how far women have come, and of how much further there is to go!

This music has been called “Women’s Music.” What is women’s music? As Margie Adam has so eloquently described, “It is music composed by women that affirms and empowers women.” Who is women’s music for? She states, “It is for anyone, especially pro-feminist men and women.”

Our concert celebrates three dimensions in recognizing these musical women. The first celebrates the women who forged the path over 30 years ago for feminist and lesbian musicians to perform, write, and produce their own music on the national stage. The second celebrates two local women in the Central Pennsylvania area who perform, write, and record their own music. The third dimension celebrates those women not heard in the mainstream music arena but who seek to find their own voices in singing, arranging or composing.

You may be familiar with some of tonight’s featured songs and songwriters. The list of powerful artistic women is too many to feature in a two-hour concert. So, we have highlighted a few of the key movers and shakers of the musical women’s feminist liberation movement. We hope you take the time to reflect upon where they they started, how far women have come--and how much further there is to go!

May you “Go Forth” from this concert inspired, strengthened, and renewed in spirit as we celebrate our Sisters of Song!

Giesala Collins, Artistic Director



by Harmony Grisman
arranged by Alissa Plant
performed by Marmalade

If You Love Me

by Malvina Reynolds
arranged by Joyce Elaine Eilers
Signing by Kimberly Koester

The Way You Do

by Rachael Hazen

I Ain’t Afraid

by Holly Near
arranged by J. David Moore

Driven Women

by Florence Tarbox

Set by Special Guest Singer-Songwriter Janie Womack

Set by Special Guest Singer-Songwriter Bobbi Carmitchell

Shooting Star

by Cris Williamson
Arranged by Elliot Pilshar, Transp. by Sue Coffee
Soloist: Julie L.

Gravity Blues

by Lisa Koch and Peggy Platt
arranged by Tom Gentry


by Ferron
arranged by J. David Moore

Music In My Soul

by Amy Steinberg
arranged by Chris Purcell
Performed by Marmalade

We Shall Go Forth

by Margie Adam

Song of the Soul

by Cris Williamson

Performed by Janie, Bobbi and the Chorus

About our Sister Songwriters

Janie Womack was born into a musical family and has continued the tradition. She is self-taught on the guitar, though her first love is singing. She has participated in a wide variety of musical projects including musical comedy, choral and ensemble work, and individual performance. Her style is acoustic -- her delivery is straight & true, and her Texas-grown personality is a lot of fun. In the last few years, she has begun a journey into songwriting and continues working on her own compositions. In recent years, Janie was a member of the Central Pennsylvania Womyn’s Chorus as well as being one of the "J’s" in the a cappella quartet "3 ‘J’s’ & a ‘C.’ She was also a member of the local band t.l.o. stone soup, and arranged and performed vocals and played guitar and keyboard for the group. Currently, Janie performs at several local coffee houses, as well as playing local festivals and private events. She is working on her first CD, and hopes to complete it within the first half of 2007.

Lancaster County native Bobbi Carmitchell has performed for more than 25 years all over North America. She was part of the popular trio “Wind and Wood” in the early 1980s and performed with her sister, Anne, as the Carmitchell Sisters. Equally comfortable in intimate house concerts or concert halls, she has a way of involving her audience in every aspect of the live performance. Bobbi has lent her name and voice to many causes over the years and continues to donate her talents to further awareness of issues of personal importance to her: farmland preservation, domestic violence awareness, breast cancer research, AIDS education, Relay for Life, Arts In the Schools program, career days, river town improvement projects. Bobbi also organizes events to gather the community, and produced the first annual Central PA Women’s Music Festival. Her work as a songwriter has been recognized and included in a number of compilation CDs throughout the country. Her latest CD is County Wide. Visit her website at www.bobbicarmitchellmusic.com.

Harmony Grisman (Wings) describes herself as “Musician, Healer, Composer, Producer, Teacher”. She writes “songs, rounds, chants, and rants” which are simple and accessible to all. She is co-director of the women-only From Women's Hearts and Hands Guitar Camp in Mendocino, California.

Malvina Reynolds (If You Love Me) was born in 1900 in California to socialist immigrant parents. She came onto the mainstream folk music scene in the 1960’s and took on the social issues of the day through her music. She addressed civil rights, opposition to the Vietnam conflict, and the right of workers to organize. She has been called a “Berkleyite, organizer, matriarch of the women’s movement and … one of the most influential cultural voices of the last 30 years.” She wrote hundreds of songs and traveled worldwide from Helsinki to Tokyo. Her most famous song is probably “Little Boxes.” She died in 1978 with gigs scheduled on her calendar. The website that her daughter has developed is extensive. Check out: www.sisterschoice.com/malvinamain.html

Rachael Hazen (The Way You Do) is a talented singer, composer, and arranger from the Denver area. She has had several compositions performed by women’s choruses around the US. She has sung in small and large groups alike such as the Denver Women’s Chorus, Take Note, Nothing But Treble, and the Rhythm Method.

Holly Near (I Ain’t Afraid) is synonymous with women’s feminist music. Holly was one of the first women in the early 1970’s to start her own recording company called Redwood Records. Her vision for her recording company was to promote and produce music by politically conscious artists from around the world. She has released over 20 recordings in her singing career. She is known as a singer, producer, actor, author, activist and teacher. Holly is considered to be an outspoken ambassador for world peace, multicultural conciousness, and feminism. For more information on Holly and her activism, go to www.hollynear.com.

Florence Tarbox (Driven Women), CPWC member, has been writing piano music and songs for family and friends since 1977. She has written a number of songs for the Humanist Association in California. This is the second song that she has written for the chorus. In order to write Driven Women, Florence escaped to the Poconos for a private composer’s retreat. Holy cow! A song grew out of this quiet alone time.

Cris Williamson (Shooting Star) conceived of a national all-women’s record company which released her legendary classic “The Changer and the Changed.” This is one of the best selling independent releases of all time. Her vision helped set the stage for women, and specifically lesbians to write, produce, record, and issue their own material. Cris has traveled the world to Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She has performed to sold out audiences in Carnegie Hall three times. Check out www.criswilliamson.com.

Lisa Koch (Gravity Blues) is a singer/songwriter/comedian from Seattle. She has released four recordings and is a past member of the cult quartet “Venus Envy.”. Peggy Platt is a Seattle comedian, voted the best comic nine times by Seattle’s Weekly “Best of the Northwest.” She has opened for Cyndi Lauper, Jay Leno, Randy Newman and Jerry Seinfeld. Lisa and Peggy make up the duo Dos Fallopia.

Ferron (Testimony) was born in Canada as Debbie Foisy. Ferron came onto the music scene in 1977 when she released her first album entitled, “Ferron” from her own record label called Lucy Records. She continues to record presently and has 12 recordings to her credit. She has been called the “Johnny Cash” of lesbian music. If you would like to see what she has been up to in the last 30 years, you can go to her website at www.ferrononline.com.

Amy Steinberg (Music In My Soul) is a classically trained musician on piano with a degree in theatre from the Boston conservatory. She is self- taught on guitar and blends her irreverent humor, musicality and poetry to promote openness, tolerance, and diversity. She has won numerous awards, including Songwriter of the Year by the Songwriter Showcases of America and Best Solo Performer from the Orlando Music Awards. She currently tours and records her original music. CPWC had the great privilege of seeing her perform in San Diego this year. Check her out at www.amysteinberg.net.

Margie Adam (“We Shall Go Forth”) singer, songwriter, composer, and activist, began a 50-city tour to promote her first album in 1977. Her appearance at the National Women’s Conference in Houston Texas allowed her to experience 10,000 women singing her song “We Shall Go Forth” in three-part harmony. This song is now in the archives of the Political History Division of the Smithsonian Museum. CPWC members had the joy of experiencing a performance by Margie in San Diego this past June, combining piano and voice, lyric and melody, an intimate performance style and politically astute commentary. Explore her website at www.margieadam.com.

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