The Womanly Song of God – Spring 2016
Sunday, April 24, 2016, at 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church
305 East Main Street, Durham, NC
“I am the God of a thousand names: why cannot one of them be Woman singing?” So asks poet Catherine de Vinck in the title piece of our spring concert, which featured stunning music about powerful women. The first half of the program began with “From Behind the Caravan” by Abbie Betinis, based on the mystical Persian poetry of Hâfez. We were delighted to have Dr. Amir Rezvani with us as a guest artist on this piece, singing the text to each movement and enchanting the audience with his rich voice.
We were also overjoyed to have the Advanced Women’s Chorus of Northern High School perform with us on Sunday. After Women’s Voices finished a triumphant “The Womanly Song of God,” which is by far the most complicated piece WVC has ever attempted, the talented young women of Northern High sang a gorgeous rendition of Maryam Khoury’s “Koowu.” Then they joined WVC for several songs including a stirring arrangement of “Sisters” that had audience members cheering.
The second half of the concert included the world premiere of “Mah Dodech Midod.” This piece was commissioned from Eleanor Epstein by WVC to celebrate Artistic Director Allan Friedman’s recent wedding. Originally, the song was to premiere at our winter concert, but the unfortunate cancellation of that show was a mixed blessing, as the song has more of a spring feel to it! A combined, rousing version of “Stayed on Freedom” brought the concert to an end, and WVC closed the show with a hushed encore of “Grace Before Sleep.”
We have so many people to thank for Sunday’s success. Petra Berenyi, Rick Keena, Les Webster, and Lexie Hallman all provided instrumentation for several of the pieces, and Lexie magnificently sang the solos on “Jocheved” and “Miriam’s Song” as well! Our former accompanist Nancy Whelan helped us tremendously in rehearsals, and our new accompanist Deborah Lee Hollis brought us to new heights with her beautiful playing during the concert. We’d like to thank Dr. Rezvani for gifting us with his time, both in assisting us with understanding Hâfez and in bringing the poetry to life at the concert. And a big thank you goes to the Advanced Women’s Chorus and their director, Rachel Spencer, a member of Women’s Voices Chorus herself.
But most of all, thank you to all of you who attended! We hope you had a great time. Keep watching this website for information about our upcoming summer concert season!