What makes us truly feel at home? Join us as VOX explores the meaning of home in a concert that features a new commission from composer Andrea Clearfield, music from the Romantic-era composer Clara Schumann, as well as a feel-good pieces like "Home" from the hit musical The Wiz. Make yourself "at home” with VOX for an evening of wonderful music!
It is with great pride and joy that we welcome you to VOX’s 26th season! As with many arts organizations, VOX had its share of pandemic challenges, but we have emerged stronger than ever, in large part because of all of you – our patrons, donors and volunteers. We thank you for your generous support. We continue to grow our organization, produce memorable concerts, and bring extraordinary offerings to you. This season, our concert series includes newly commissioned works by Andrea Clearfield, Zanaida Robles and Saunder Choi, composers of note whose music resonates with VOX’s mission. We are proud to deepen our community outreach efforts this season. We have been invited to perform with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Beethoven Symphony #9), Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (I’m With Her) and Pasadena Playhouse (Celebrate Sondheim). We continue to provide community concerts and make guest appearances throughout greater Los Angeles. During the holiday season, we’ll offer video recordings of our “Holiday Grams” to be enjoyed in the comforts of your own home, and this spring we will feature individual singers in our annual Cabaret. We look forward to sharing our music with you in person and online! This season VOX launches a new music education program called the Justice Choir – a 12-week program centered around a songbook of easy-to-sing social justice pieces that are designed to bring communities together. Supported by a generous grant from Chorus America, the Justice Choir cultivates creativity through singing, body percussion, student-led discussions, group creation, and exploration of music through poetry and history. VOX is also excited to introduce its first annual High School Choir Festival, offering high school treble choirs an opportunity to perform for and receive feedback from a panel of adjudicators. VOX’s commitment to giving women voice and singing for justice is more important than ever. Thank you for being with us – for supporting us with your heartfelt applause, your volunteerism and generous financial contributions. We hope you enjoy this season’s concerts! We love singing for you….
Founding Artistic Director
At the end of the 1929 MGM musical The Wizard of Oz, reunited with her Kansas family and friends in her old familiar room, Dorothy joyfully exclaims ”there’s no place like home!” Herbert Stothart’s score underlines the moment with an instrumental quote of the familiar 1823 American song “Home, Sweet Home” (“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home…”). Dorothy’s fantastical journey through the Land of Oz taught her to approach her troubles with courage and maturity, and her connection to home upon her return is enriched and renewed. The Wizard of Oz is one well-known narrative about departing from and returning to a home; tonight’s concert explores a variety of perspectives - drawn from literature, art, folk wisdom, philosophy, and popular song - on what home means. In “Always Coming Home”, Joan Szymko sets text from Ursula Le Guin’s ethnographic, post-apocalyptic novel Always Coming Home. Much like the journey of world-building that unfolds in the novel, Szymko’s setting is a musical-lyrical journey: initially hesitant, then growing into an openness to the potential of experiencing new things. That leaving home to travel can bring something positive for your senses to experience, and you can still embrace this experience while always keeping a mindfulness of home. Clara Wieck was a child of musicians. A child prodigy on the piano, she made her concert debut in 1828, at the age of 9. She started touring Europe at age 11 (with her domineering father micromanaging her career), and was one of the first pianists to perform from memory – a convention that is now standard in concert performance. Against her father’s wishes, she married composer Robert Schumann in 1840 and composed these passionate love songs soon thereafter. Listen to how piano and voice complement each other in these pieces – remember Clara Schumann was a pianist! - and think about how she writes the piano part to tell the story along with the voice. The vocals sing of longing, tears, woodland beauty – can you hear how the piano also works to express this imagery? A new commission for Vox, Andrea Clearfield’s Home in Me ruminates upon the theme of finding home. While trekking to a remote region of the Himalaya to research and help document Tibetan folk music, Andrea Clearfield and poet Sienna Craig developed an interest in “migration, diaspora and questions about the nature of home. In Home in Me, they contemplate these experiences through the experience of the body, and how we resonate with our surroundings in seeking where we belong. Some singers will perform the piece with small stones in hand that they were charged to gather from a place that feels like home, playing them as percussion instruments. The third movement was recently completed and addresses the connection of heart and mind as essential to our humanity. In “The Peace of Wild Things”, composer Sean Ivory sets a meditative poem by Wendell Berry that reflects upon the act of seeking peace and finding refuge from the fear of transience through the beauty of nature. Cello and piano offer sparse counterpoint to the worrying voices, gradually growing in intensity to peak with a twinkling of stars, offering the hope that we can find a moment’s worth of grace and freedom in the presence of wild things. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is an African American spiritual with origins in the 19th century. The lyric trope of crossing a significant River appears as a reference to Biblical imagery—the River Jordan – and also used as a metaphor for an escape into freedom. It was first recorded by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet in 1909. The larger group, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, was organized in 1871 to tour America and Europe with choral arrangements of spirituals as a fundraiser for Fisk University, a historically Black university. In 2014, Vox commissioned “We Are Home” from composer Jenni Brandon. Members of Vox participated in the creation of this piece by offering descriptions of what Vox meant to them. As an expression of a community made up of many different voices, the piece has a recurring musical motif: the energetic repetition of “we are” that builds in texture, layering voices from lowest to highest, only ever ending when voices are at their zenith of strength: in unity. “Always Keep This Close” breathes with the life that a beloved community can bring – your soul is happy to be surrounded by those you love, and the sense of belonging carries you through times when you are apart: “even when you leave this does not leave you.” Colleen Carhuff’s poetry is a deeply personal portrait of community in microcosm: her experience of singing in a choir. Zachary J. Moore’s cinematic setting of these words exudes the easy and familiar joy of a community that has learned to sing together, and through that work of learning, have found more than just song. The Wiz, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz from a contemporary African American point of view, premiered on Broadway in 1975 to great acclaim. At the end of The Wiz, Dorothy bids farewell to the dear friends she has made on her journey through Oz with the song “Home.” Though she is returning home to Kansas and Aunt Em, she has learned that through loyalty, friendship, and love, the feeling of home can be created anywhere. - Holley Replogle-Wong, Ph.D.
Holley Replogle-Wong is a teacher, scholar, and musician. She teaches courses on film music, popular music, American musical theater, and western music history in the Department of Musicology at UCLA, and is the Program Director of the UCLA Center for Musical Humanities. She sings with various Los Angeles-based vocal ensembles, and for the occasional film soundtrack.
No Place Like Home
Nov. 6, 2022 – 3 PM concert
First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
Lisa Edwards, pianist
Always Coming Home
From Sechs Lieder, Op. 13
Ich stand in dunklen Träumen
Sie liebten sich Beide
Home in Me
Mia Barcia-Columbo, cello
Sienna Craig, poetry
Jolie Hughes, Michele Mulidor, Lori Marie Rios, stones
Bethany Encina, soloist
Yuri Inoo, Noriko Yokota, percussion
Commissioned from 2020-2022 by VOX Femina Los Angeles and a consortium of treble choirs
The Peace of Wild Things
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Crossing the Bar
We are Home
Always Keep This Close
Home (from The Wiz)
arr. Stacey V. Gibbs
Zachary J. Moore
arr. Beck and Spresser
Mia Barcia-Columbo, cello
Adrianne Pope, Catherine Outterbridge, violin
Rita Andrade, viola; Mia Barcia-Columbo, cello
Yuri Inoo, percussion
Commissioned by VOX Femina Los Angeles, 2014
Adrianne Pope, Catherine Outterbridge, violin
Rita Andrade, viola; Mia Barcia-Columbo, cello
Ich stand in dunklen Träumen (Heine) I stood as in a dark dream, gazing at her portrait, And, behold, the beloved face mysteriously came alive. A lovely smile played around her lips And her eyes sparkled with tears of sadness. Then tears flowed down my cheeks. Oh, I cannot believe that I have lost you forever.
Sie liebten sich Beide (Heine) They loved each other, yet would not confess to it. They looked at each other like enemies, yet they were melting with love. They finally parted and only saw each other sometimes in their dreams. They had long since died, and hardly knew it themselves.
Liebeszauber (Geibel) Love sat like a nightingale in the rosebush and sang. The wonderfully sweet melody floated through the woods. As it sounded, the perfume of a thousand flowers rose in the air. The treetops rustled softly, and the breezes grew calm; The brooks which had splashed down from the heights grew silent. The deer stood still as in a dream and listened to the lovely sound. Brighter and ever brighter the sun poured its light on flowers, woods and valleys till they were bathed in a golden red glow. As I wandered along my road I also heard the melody, And, Oh, all the songs I have sung since that day have been but its echo.
Andrea Clearfield Bio
Creating deep emotive musical languages that build cultural and artistic bridges, the music of Andrea Clearfield is performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. She has written 160+ works for opera, chorus, orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance and multimedia. Recent compositions are inspired by Tibetan music fieldwork that she conducted in the Nepalese Himalaya. Among her works are sixteen cantatas including one for The Philadelphia Orchestra.
She has been awarded a Pew Center International Residency Award, a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, two Independence Foundation Fellowships and Fellowships at the Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center, American Academy in Rome, Yaddo, MacDowell and Copland House among others. Dr. Clearfield sits on the Boards of the Recording Academy/Grammy’s Philadelphia Chapter and Wildflower Composers, amplifying the voices of women and gender-marginalized young composers. Passionate about creating community around the arts, she is also founder of the Philadelphia Salon featuring contemporary, classical, jazz, electronic, dance and world music since 1986.
For more information or to watch Andrea in conversation with VOX Founding Artistic Director Dr. Iris S. Levine, click HERE.
Home in Me Text
Poetry by Sienna Craig
Movement I - Body When our bodies turn this wheel Crack the vessel, learn what’s real Leave an echo of the self Moment to moment we touch, we dwell, (but still…) When we yearn to feel awake Creature of our boundless ache Limb by limb we make the climb Begin, begun this dance of time Stones in our pockets Wind in our hair Wondering, wandering, welcomed, where? When our bodies feel this burn How do we reclaim, return? Leave an imprint on the skin Moment to moment, we touch, we shed….begin How do we begin to belong? A future seeded in the past This inner landscape, calm at last We live the earth we cultivate How does history resonate? When our bodies turn this wheel Crack the vessel, learn what’s real Leave an echo of the self Moment to moment, we touch, we feel, we molt, reveal, we shed, begin, again… How do we begin to belong? How do we begin? Where do we begin? When do we begin? Feel the pull of home (hands) Hear the call of home (head) Hold the still…of home (heart)
Movement II - Speech What do we carry in our throat? Where lives rage? Release the note Crick and crack of brittle bones Feel the anger, toss the stones Climb the ladder, raise the roof Sound the sirens, shout the truth Strip the bark and burn the tree Drink the air, roar to be free Filled to bursting like a dam Swing wide the doors, hear who I am When our voices cannot sing Hold the sound of everything *** What do we carry in our throat? Song, ache, place What do we carry in our heart? Wound, care, love Grief, joy, loss Breathe, breathe. This too is song. *** What do we carry in our throat? Release, release, release the note Stone by stone turn over words Breathe in stories seldom heard The gloaming is a rush of blood Across the sky – thrill to the flood Will, will yourself to speak Move toward the world you seek Will, will yourself to sing Still, if you are suffering Reckon, reckon, reckoning Release the sound of everything
Movement III - Heart/Mind When the ground beneath our feet Shifts and turns then finds retreat Mind can be a churning sea A rocky shore, the death of me In these moments of despair Recall your heart, those depths of care Shed the skin and root the tree Swing wide the doors of memory What moves us all? The hurt we see The ache we know The taste of love And echoes of the heart And echoes of the heart Heart and mind hold resonance Those multitudes we invent Abide the currents of the self Waves of knowing deeply felt Like time and sky, these feelings rest In the center of the chest Imagine what mountains see Remember, remember the world in me Lift the weight of all we are Swing wide horizons near and far We birth, we cry, we find empathy Recall, recall the home in me Shed the bark and root the tree Remember, remember the world in me What holds us all? The color blue The cast of moon The sear of sun And nothing less than stars And nothing less than stars
First Congregational Church of Los Angeles: Rev. Laura Vail Fregin, Chester McCurry, Reneice Edwards, David Harris, and David Garcia Saldaña
Graphic Design: Kate Jordan
Proofreader: Laurie Fox
Music Librarian: Michele Mulidor
Intern: Victoria Mitchell
Thank you to all our volunteers this afternoon who are ushering, assisting with Box Office, and making this concert a stellar experience for our audience, and to all the freinds and family members who volunteer their services to support VOX throughout the year.
VOX's season is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through
the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture.