The Womanly Song of God – Spring 2016

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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!

Dr. Amir Rezvani and the Poetry of Hâfez

 

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We had a special visitor join us this week at rehearsal! Dr. Amir Rezvani, a professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, graciously spoke to us about the famous Persian poet Hâfez and his many works.

 

Hâfez is the most beloved poet in Iranian culture. His works are open to many interpretations – and indeed, as Dr. Rezvani told us, many Iranians will often turn to his writing to reinforce their beliefs or to find answers or meaning in their own lives. Born in the 14th century, Hâfez wrote lyrical poems that are called “ghazals.” Ghazals contain rhyming couplets and are usually about love, whether it be love for another person or love for a divine figure. Hâfez’s ghazals are filled with a longing for one’s “Beloved” above all, according to Dr. Rezvani.

 

While he is mainly celebrated for his poetry, Hâfez’s contributions to Persian culture extend to many other areas such as philosophy and politics. He even has his own national holiday, October 12th.  Naturally, Hâfez’s ghazals have inspired many composers throughout the centuries, and one such modern composer to set his words to music is Abbie Betinis. WVC will be performing From Behind the Caravan: Songs of Hâfez at our spring concert in April.

 

We’re honored that Dr. Rezvani took the time to teach us about Hâfez so that we could better understand his words – and it was wonderful to have him work with us on the Farsi pronunciations as well! Thank you, Dr. Rezvani, for sharing an important part of Iranian culture with us!

 

 

Rehearsal Cancelled – Monday, February 15

 

No rehearsal tonight due to inclement weather.

 

Check your email for suggested pieces to practice this week!

Women’s Voices Chorus Mini-Concert

Women’s Voices Chorus Mini-Concert

Sunday, February 7, 2:00 p.m.

University Place

201 S. Estes Dr., Chapel Hill

 

Our winter concert was snowed out, but you still have a chance to hear us sing! We will be performing the a cappella portion of the concert this Sunday, February 7, at 2:00 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. Join us at University Place (formerly University Mall), 201 S. Estes Dr., Chapel Hill. Look for us at the stage near the center of the mall. And bring your friends – this event is free and open to the public! Hope to see you there.

 

Have questions or need more information? Email us at contact@womensvoiceschorus.org.

Bodies in Motion – Winter 2016

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Due to continued icy road conditions in the area, we have decided to cancel our concert Bodies in Motion today, Sunday, January 24, 2016. We are very disappointed, but the safety of our members and guests is of utmost importance.

 

If you have already purchased your tickets, they will be honored at the Spring Concert. Hope to see you then. For information on requesting a refund, email us at contact@womensvoiceschorus.org.

 

Sunday, January 24, 2016, 3:00 p.m.
University United Methodist Church
150 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC

 

If winter seems to freeze you in place, warm up with our concert about people and creatures on the move! This program expands upon our fall offering, adding pieces by contemporary composers like Elizabeth Alexander and Ola Gjeilo. Percussion, guitar, piano, and a string quartet will accompany the chorus, with many works featuring soloists from our own ranks. We also will perform the world premiere of Eleanor Epstein’s “Mah Dodech,” a love song commissioned by and composed for WVC.

 

Tickets are $5.00 for students and $15.00 for adults.  They can be purchased at the door on the day of the concert. All tickets purchased online will be available for pickup at the ticket table in the lobby.


Strobilus Music Series

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Saturday, November 21, 2015, at 3:00 p.m.
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
314 Great Ridge Parkway, Chapel Hill, NC

The Strobilus Music Series showcases local talent in intimate monthly performances. We return this fall with the dynamic program Jumping, Soaring, Spinning, which features jazz, gospel, and classical music about bodies and objects in motion. The concert includes compositions by Rachmaninov, Mendelssohn, and Gwyneth Walker, with an expanded role for the WVC Chamber Choir. Admission is free, but a donation of $10 is suggested.

You can find more about Strobilus Arts, including info about other upcoming concerts in the series, here.

 

 

Welcome, Do I Sing! Videos

Women’s Voices Chorus is proud to announce that we have a new compilation CD, “Welcome, Do I Sing!” This collection features songs from our concerts ranging from 2012 to 2015.  The album can be purchased through our online store for $23. Want a preview of the tracks available on the CD? Here are five of […]

A Visit From Eleanor Epstein

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At our rehearsal on Monday, November 2, we were honored to host a very special guest: noted conductor and arranger Eleanor Epstein! Ms. Epstein is the founder, artistic director, and conductor of Zemer Chai, the Jewish Community Choir of Washington, D.C.  In addition to her work with Zemer Chai, she has served as a guest conductor and artist-in-residence with many choirs across the country.

As an arranger, Ms. Epstein focuses on preserving Jewish folk music. WVC reached out to Ms. Epstein to commission a piece in honor of Artistic Director Allan Friedman’s recent nuptials, and she responded with a beautiful setting of “Mah Dodech Midod” by composer Yedidiah Admon. This classic Jewish folk song features lyrics from the Song of Solomon in which the bride admires her “beloved,” describing him to the daughters of Jerusalem.

Ms. Epstein traveled from the D.C. area to work with us personally, coaching us on proper Hebrew pronunciation and the emotional force of the lyrics. Under her conducting, the act of singing the text became a joyous experience – one that we can’t wait to share with you at our winter concert in January!  We’d like to thank Ms. Epstein for taking the time to teach us about the inspiration for the piece and for working with us to bring her vision to life.

Sympli Trunk Show Fundraiser

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Please join us at Sofia’s Boutique at Carr Mill Mall in Carrboro for the Sympli Trunk Show!  Sofia’s will be donating a portion of its Sympli sales to the chorus to support our tour fund.

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The trunk show will feature the Sympli line, clothing designed to flatter every body type.  The preview sale will be on Friday, October 30, 5:00-7:00 pm, with free wine and cheese, and a 10% discount on all Sympli purchases.  The trunk show will continue through the rest of the weekend.

If you follow us on Facebook, please join our event and invite your friends!

Girls’ Night Out Comedy FUNdraiser

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Looking for a fun night out?  Grab a friend and join professional humorist and “Singing OB Nurse” Deb Gauldin, RN, PMS, for a well-deserved evening of laughter and renewal as she presents “Stretchmarks to Laughlines: A Casual Evening of Comedy & Music” benefiting Women’s Voices Chorus! Tickets are only $20 and that price includes wine, chocolate, and munchies!

Gather together with us on Thursday, September 24th, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Unity Center for Peace in Chapel Hill, for a night full of clean humor with a positive message, wonderful women, and a GREAT cause.  It doesn’t get better than that!

The number of seats for this event is limited – we recommend that you reserve and purchase your tickets before September 21st!

Online ticket sales have ended. Pre-purchased tickets will be held at the door. Registered tickets can be paid for at the door by cash, check, or credit card.  Unregistered, unpaid tickets will be available the evening of the event, as space permits.