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“Music She Wrote” concert by Wisconsin Chamber Choir
May 15 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Wisconsin Chamber Choir presents:
Music She Wrote—Singing in our cars to honor music by women
Featuring Grammy Award winner Sarah Brailey
Join the Wisconsin Chamber Choir (WCC) with special guest, Grammy Award-winning soprano Sarah Brailey, on Saturday, May 15 at 7:00 pm for Music She Wrote, a celebration of music composed by a highly diverse group of women from many ages. Choir members will sing from their individual cars using wireless microphones, listening to the sound of the whole choir via their car radios. The audience is invited to listen in live on YouTube and to let us know they are interested by RSVPing to our Facebook event. There is no charge to view the live stream, but donations will be welcome.
The WCC had scheduled a regular concert with an all-female cast of composers for May 2020, which fell victim to Covid-19. As it became obvious that the pandemic would last longer, the WCC started exploring new ways of making and disseminating music. From September 2020, we resumed activity in the shape of the Parking Lot Choir, generating local media coverage from WKOW and Madison Magazine, whose story was headlined “Forget tailgates, parking lots are for choir practice.” The result of this first rehearsal run was the widely acclaimed Car Carols concert in December 2020, whose format is the model for Music She Wrote.
In addition to the Parking Lot Choir, three smaller groups from the WCC assembled at the Edgewood College Amphitheater on Saturday mornings to rehearse in widely-spaced formations, wearing specially designed singers masks. Another such group, made up of our members from southeastern Wisconsin, met in Whitewater on Sunday afternoons. Recordings by those four small groups will be aired during the May 15 broadcast in addition to live singing by the Parking Lot choristers. They will perform the Garden Songs by Fanny Hensel, née Mendelssohn (Felix’s sister), which were intended for outdoor performance, and Ethel Smyth’s March of the Women, the anthem of the women’s suffrage movement in the English-speaking world.
In addition to works by African Americans Ysaÿe M. Barnwell and Rosephanye Powell and by Cuban composer Beatriz Corona, the program includes samples from outside the Western tradition— Lamma Badaa Yatathannaa, sung in Arabic, by Shireen Abu-Khader, who hails from Jordan but received her academic education in the U.S. and Canada, and two pieces by Japanese composer Makiko Kinoshita. Western early music is represented by Italians Raffaella Aleotti and Chiara Cozzolani, who lived in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Finally, there is singer-songwriter Judy Collins with her Song for Sarajevo, composed for the children of the war in Bosnia in 1994 and arranged by her longtime collaborator, Russell Walden (a male—we apologize). For more details, visit https://www.
Sarah Brailey, a native of Wisconsin, studied at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she has just completed her doctorate. A consummate musician and internationally acclaimed soloist, she recently won a Grammy Award in the Best Classical Vocal Solo Album category for her role as The Soul in the world premiere recording of Ethel Smyth’s The Prison. She is familiar to Madison audiences not only as a performer and co-founder of Just Bach but also as the co-host of WORT’s Musica Antiqua show and the Director of Grace Presents. As a graduate student, she joined the WCC for two seasons from 2004 to 2006. We are thrilled to welcome her back! For more information on Sarah, see https://sarahbrailey.com.
Founded in 1998, the Wisconsin Chamber Choir has established a reputation for excellence in the performance of oratorios by Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Brahms; a cappella works from various centuries; and world premieres. Artistic Director Robert Gehrenbeck has been hailed by critics for his vibrant and emotionally compelling interpretations of a wide variety of choral masterworks. WCC members have acknowledged Gehrenbeck for his intrepid conducting in freezing temperatures during Parking Lot Choir rehearsals.