The Long Bright – Spring 2014

Friday, May 16, at 8:00 p.m.
Hill Hall Auditorium, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Andrea Clearfield’s cantata “The Long Bright” anchors this concert, which explores the difficult themes of illness and mourning, as well as those of joy and triumph over adversity. Accompanied by a chamber orchestra, we are delighted to bring you “The Long Bright,” along with pieces by a few of our favorite composers, including Lana Walter’s “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” and Abbie Betinis’s “Be Like the Bird.”

Vox Virorum & WVC – Making Beautiful Music Together!


Vox Virorum & Women’s Voices Chorus



On Sunday, March 23, an audience at First Presbyterian Church in Durham experienced an historical event – the first joint concert between Women’s Voices Chorus and Vox Virorum!  Vox Virorum is a men’s chorus ensemble founded in 2012 by director Jeremy Nabors that brings together singers from the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill areas in order to “hone and renew their love of singing, and to provide a home in the choral community.”


“Bogoroditse Devo” conducted by Jeremy Nabors


For the concert, Vox Virorum performed pieces by such American composers as Aaron Copeland, Alice Parker, and Robert Shaw.  Women’s Voices set consisted of songs that were either commissioned for or premiered by us, including Allan Friedman’s “Songs of Radiance.”  At the end of the show, the men and women combined to sing Sergei Rachmaninov’s “Bogoroditse Devo,” conducted by Mr. Nabors, and a tear-the-roof-off rendition of Moses Hogan’s “Elijah Rock” conducted by Allan.


“Elijah Rock” conducted by Allan Friedman

We had an absolute blast performing with such an outstanding group of gentlemen!  And we weren’t the only ones who had a great time.  Harrison Russin, from CVNC, wrote of the concert, “If a region’s artistic potential and commitment were to be measured by the strength of its community music organizations, the joint concert presented by Vox Virorum and Women’s Voices Chorus on Sunday, would make a case for the Triangle’s artistic leadership.”  Read his review here.


Thanks to Vox Virorum for singing with us!  Let’s do it again next year.

Rehearsal Cancelled – Monday, March 3

No rehearsal tonight due to the likely inclement weather.

Check your email for suggested pieces to practice this week!

Finding Our Bright Light at Spring Retreat


Allan with Andrea Clearfield

This past Saturday was our annual Spring Retreat, a chance for us to gather in fellowship and work intensively on our spring concert program.  This year, we were honored to have composer Andrea Clearfield join us.  We will be performing Dr. Clearfield’s cantata “The Long Bright” in mid-May.  Dr. Clearfield was kind enough to make the treacherous journey through ice and snow to work with us for the day and share the vision behind the piece.

Dr. Clearfield, an award-winning composer and former Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, was originally commissioned to write “The Long Bright” by David Wolman in honor of his wife, Anni Baker.  Anni passed away from breast cancer, and David had written a series of poems between her diagnosis and her death.  Using those poems as the text, Dr. Clearfield wrote a cantata for a treble chorus, soprano solo, and orchestra.  Anni had been a coloratura soprano whose singing career spanned from Broadway to opera and beyond, and Dr. Clearfield used these various aspects of her musical history to make the piece a celebration of Anni’s life.  For example, there are snippets of musical theater themes in the “There Was a Time” movement, and a section from Anni’s own folk opera composition is included in the final movement.  There is also a five-note theme that is repeated and varied throughout the cantata.  That short, gentle melody is sung by the chorus to the words “Do not fear the view.”

Hearing the inspiration behind the movements helped us to better understand the cantata and how to perform it.  At first glance, it appears that the piece is about crossing over, the title referring to the light at the end of the tunnel.  But, as Dr. Clearfield pointed out, the “long bright” light can also refer to the undying hope for a breast cancer cure, and to the “bright fierceness of our lives.”

When commissioning the piece, David Wolman wanted to remember that beautiful brightness of his Anni, but he also wanted to raise awareness about breast cancer and funds for the cure.  The cantata premiered in Philadelphia on April 26, 2004, as a fundraiser for breast cancer research.  We are proud to be performing this piece in cooperation with UNC’s Lineberger Cancer Center and the Duke Cancer Center.  Women’s Voices Chorus is dedicated not only to performing pieces that are written by and for women, but also to celebrating the lives of women.  With “The Long Bright,” we aim not only to highlight local cancer research, but also to rejoice in the bright cycle of life in which we all share.

We hope that you’ll join us on Friday, May 16 at Hill Hall Auditorium at UNC as we bring you “The Long Bright” complete with a 22-member orchestra and soprano soloist.  Check the Concerts page for more info, and our Store to buy tickets.  For now, we’d like to thank Dr. Clearfield for helping us to bring her profoundly moving composition to life!

For more information on Andrea Clearfield, check out her website and Facebook page, and to learn more about “The Long Bright” as well as hear several snippets, click here.

Songs of My Sisters – a Smashing Success!

We’d love to thank all who came out to support us at University UMC and First Presbyterian this past weekend for our winter concerts.  The premiere of artistic director Allan Friedman’s The Nine Muses was a hit with audiences – and we loved every moment singing it as well!  As this wonderful review from CVNC states, “[It] is a wonderful piece, filled with lots of variety and good humor. Knowing his singers well, Friedman scored the piece with their abilities and ranges in mind but with just the right level of challenge. … Everyone sang with great heart.”

We hope we’ve inspired you to keep up with us during our 20th anniversary season.  In addition to finding the latest news here, you can follow us on our Facebook page for more updates.  Be on the lookout for more info about our spring concerts, including an upcoming show with Vox Virorum!

Songs of My Sisters – Winter 2014

Our winter 2014 concert was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Women’s Voices Chorus. We proudly support the work of active composers and the concert featured music arranged for or commissioned by WVC, including the world premieres of “My River Runs to Thee,” by Jayne Swank, and “The Nine Muses,” by our artistic director, Allan Friedman, an eclectic piece celebrating the mythic sisters who inspire artists of all kinds.

WVC 20th Anniversary Article from The Daily Tar Heel

Today’s edition of The Daily Tar Heel has a lovely article about our 20th anniversary concerts this weekend.  You can read the article here

We hope to see you Saturday at 7:30 pm at University UMC in Chapel Hill, or Sunday at 3:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church in Durham.  Tickets will still be available at the door!

The Nine Muses in Antiquity

During our rehearsal on October 28, we were treated to a wonderful discussion about the nine Greek muses presented by Carolyn Laferrière!  Carolyn is a PhD candidate in the History of Art Department at Yale University, where she is working on a dissertation entitled “The Complex Sensations of Mousikē in Archaic and Classical Greek Art.”  […]

The music room in the Ospedale in Venice, Italy. Singers would have performed from behind the decorative grill you see here.

WVC Receives WCPE Education Fund Grant

Women’s Voices Chorus is excited to announce that we’ve received a $950 grant from the WCPE Education Fund to support the production of a documentary film about our performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria in D, performed during our Winter 2013 concert season. Vivaldi composed his Gloria for the girls and women of the Ospedale della Pietà, […]

A Summer Success for WVC and Arthritis Foundation

The Women’s Voices Chorus summer concert on July 28 was a resounding success. Our enthusiastic audience of about 150 people contributed generously to our fundraising effort, and we’re proud to announce that we raised $1115 for the Arthritis Foundation!

The program included a diverse array of music: nineteenth-century Shaker music, spirituals, the Yiddish show tune “Ba Mir Bistu Sheyn,” a barbershop classic, and a Zulu marching song arranged by our own Artistic Director Allan Friedman, among other pieces. One concert attendee sent us some very kind feedback:

The concert was exquisite! … There are so many things that I love about your group, including the way that your Director gives context – personal stories, history, translations. And I come home from these concerts saying to my husband ‘How come I never heard this wonderful music before?’

Thank you for coming out to hear us, and make sure to mark January 25 and 26, 2014, down on your calendars as the dates of our Winter Concert, “Songs of our Sisters”!