About the Common Woman Chorus
ENTERTAIN. INSPIRE. ENLIGHTEN. ENGAGE. ENRICH. ENJOY.
So much can be achieved through the joyful act of making music.
Our musical community was formed by a small group of women in 1983 as a non-profit organization. Eleanor Sableski directed the Chorus from 1983 until 2001, when long-time Chorus member and composer Cindy Bizzell became artistic director, followed by Kristen Stinnett in 2013. Gail Hafley, Abby Modjeska, Lorna Collingridge, Kim Leggett and now Kate Lewis have served as accompanists. Local musicians also join the Chorus onstage for many performances.
Our mission is to
- sing empowering music that highlights the diversity and strength of women's lives and experiences
- share with and educate the community through music
- develop and refine individual and group musical skills through regular rehearsal and performance
- encourage and support discussion, friendship, leadership, and the open exchange of beliefs with each other through regular check-ins, social gatherings, discussions, and rehearsals
- network with other likeminded choruses and support such networks, societies and organizations.
We take our music seriously, but membership satisfaction surveys indicate that what we value most is the community that we create and maintain. The Chorus Social Care Committee organizes events that help singers get to know each other. Biannual retreats include plenty of social time. Individual singers host fun events such as pool parties and campouts. And each rehearsal includes a check-in period when members let others know about major events in their lives.
Some Chorus singers are formally trained musicians with extensive performance experience, but most of us are self-taught singers who share a love of musical expression. We come together as a community to bring our talent, commitment, and enthusiasm to the task of creating the art that we performthe melodies, rhythms, and lyrics that bring hope and insight and moments of soaring clarity into a world that can all too often numb us into dischordant indifference.
Our Music Selection Committee identifies performance themes, then researches, identifies, and purchases thematically related music arranged for women's voices. We purchase some of this music from mainstream distributors, but rely heavily on progressive distributors such as Yelton-Rhodes or Earthsongs and on individual composers such as Joan Symko and Diane Benjamin who belong to the Sister Singers Network and GALA Choruses. We also arrange some music ourselves. Most arrangements are broken out into four partssoprano one (high soprano), soprano two (low soprano), alto one (high alto), and alto two (low alto)and many arrangements include piano accompaniment and other instrumental parts. Our concerts raise awareness about pressing social issues such as domestic violence or breast cancer or marriage equality; some focus primarily on music while others feature skits written and performed by chorus and community members; others present a humorous look at an issue such as menopause or dating; others memorialize our famous and everyday heroes; and others just feature exquisite music that our community enjoys singing. Soloists typically perform in each concert and we frequently host cabarets that include choral and individual performances.