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Spring 2007 concert
May 5 Harrisburg Academy
In Collaboration with the Pennsylvania Immigrant & Refugee Women's Network
After this concert, the following letter was published in the May 29, 2007 edition of the Harrisburg Patriot-News:
There are two organizations in this community worthy of note and support. It was through a friend that I learned of what proved to be a powerful presentation entitled " Land of our Dreams" on May 5 at the Harrisburg Academy.
This was a collaboration between the Central Pennsylvania Womyn's Chorus and the Pennsylvania Immigrant & Refugee Women's Network. Through music, personal stories, images and dance, we learned of women from around the world who have come here.
The courage, hope, hardships and challenges of women who have made the difficult transition from the countries of their birth to this nation were reflected in music magnificently performed by the Womyn's Chorus. This was one of the most eye-opening, inspiring events that I've attended. How heartening that each of the musicians and story-tellers came from our own community.
MARGEE KOOISTRA Harrisburg
Ho-Thanh Nguyen and Giesala Collins
from the Chorus Director
Welcome to tonight’s performance entitled “Land of Our Dreams.” The Central PA Womyn’s Chorus has teamed up with the Pennsylvania Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Network (PAIRWN) to bring you this unique artistic expression of the human condition. Through the use of song, speech, poetry, prose, visual media, and dance, the listener will be guided on a thought-provoking journey that traces the experiences of women who have left their homelands either by choice or force to come to America. The listener will have an opportunity to listen to several women describe their struggles and joys in assimilating into a new culture while holding on to their own unique culture.
from the PAIRWN President
Welcome everyone and thank you for joining us in this celebration, "Land of Our Dreams." We are honored to be part of this concert and to be able to share our stories with you. We thank the Central PA Womyn's Chorus and Jump Street for their support and for helping to create another space for immigrant and refugee women to express themselves.
Celebrating a World of Differences
by Chris Purcell
Akan Playground Song arr. by Felicia A.B. Sandler
Solo: Cathy N.
This is a very popular West African Akan playground song that teaches and guides children to be secure and unafraid of being left alone if their parents were to die. They would not be abandoned a relative or friend would take them in. In this song, an orphaned hawk named Sansa flies about looking for abandoned chicks. Sansa’s aim is to swoop down and carry them away. To the broader community, the hawk is seen as a predator. Though orphaned, the chicks are carried to safety and will never be left to fend for themselves.
Nelsy Acosta from Columbia
by Stephen Hatfield
"The Rain:" based on a folk melody from Ecuador, that is traditionally played on the siku, a double row of panpipes that come from the Andes mountains.
Sarla Goel from India
Words and music by Laura Berkson, arr. by Joan Szymko
Violin: Julia Martinez
Miriam is inspired by the story of Miriam from Exodus. When the Hebrews fled Egypt and faced a long and arduous journey across the desert to their promised land, Miriam was their leader as well as Moses. When their pursuers drowned in the sea while the Hebrews escaped, “Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel (tambourine) in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” It was proper in that culture for refugees to ask their female spiritual leader for a song to inspire the people on such a journey.
based on an Armenian Lullaby
with new words & music by Hope Harrison arr. by Jay Althouse
Solo descant: Laura D.
Belgica A. Jones from Ecuador
( I am Your Witness) a call and response piece based on Balkan vocal music written by Joan Symko. Ja Sam Tvoj Svjedok means, “I am Your Witness” in Bosnian. The composer was moved by the story of a Seattle mental health professional who started a relief effort following the Bosnian war to attend to the needs of Bosnian women who were systematically raped as part of the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign. This piece is meant to be sung as a responsorial between readings or testaments to acts of violence against women in times of war and in the home.
read by author Marica Prozo from Bosnia, between verses of Ja Sam Tvoy Svjedok
words and music by Ysaye M. Barnwell
Would You Harbor Me? asks the question “Would you take in or assist another human being no matter their label or background?”
by Naomi Stephen
Laura D., Adele J., Lee M., Cathy N., Linda M., Susan S., Kim H., Julie L.
Homage A Toi explores the different stages of grief and loss. Many can suffer not only from grieving the loss of loved ones but also from loss of family connections, of culture and language due to assimilation, and of the actual earth herself beneath one’s feet.
Ho-Thanh Nguyen from Vietnam
by Pat Humphfries and Sandy Opatow, arr. by Chris Purcell
with voices of PAIRWN
Refugee is a very rhythmic driving song that describes the life of a refugee and why one becomes a refugee. The song also express the resilient woman who rises to claim her power and identity back by stating “No Longer A Refugee.”
by Pat Humphfries and Sandy Opatow arr. by Leora Zimmer
Guitar: Janie Womack
Soloists: Kim H., Lucy T., Cathy N., Julie L.
Written after September 11, this song brings listeners to the awareness of the invisible undocumented men and women who worked in the Twin Towers day in and day out and also died that terrible day.
by Betsy Rose arr. and added verses by Joan Szymko
This very slow melodic song acknowledges the suffering and anger of all mothers around the world who have lost children due to starvation, war, and disease.
by Ysaye M. Barnwell
Ysaye Barnwell was inspired to write this piece after attending the 1995 United Nations women's conference in China. This very powerful, unifying chant calls women all around the world to action to demand change in their countries.
"Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya"
by Sophia and Heather Seacord, arr. by Joan Szymko
Guitar: Janie Womack Mandolin: Henry Koretzky
Dancer:: Rajat Kaur Thukral from India
This Sanskrit mantra prays that the warriors themselves can find peace within so that the healing of the earth can begin.
Eun Young Won from Korea
by Leon Dubinsky, arr. by Lydia Adams
Sololist: Adele J.
This closing number reminds each of us that there is a part of us that will live on in our children and in generations that follow.
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