2007. A collection of pieces from Kaia’s spring ’07 show, Roots & Sass. The recording quality is not as good as we or the sound engineers would like, so we made this a limited edition and sell it in person only. We’ll be including some of the tracks from this on our next CD, Get Down, Rise Up!
2006. A live recording of Kaia’s spring show. It’s amazing how much our sound has changed. This is a great snapshot of the time. A good collection of lighter and less intense pieces than we do now. Available for sale at the Kaia website! 🙂
1994. I sang in the chorus in the premiere of Kay Gardner’s seminal work, Ouroboros: Seasons of Life. This is still one of the most memorable experiences of my performance life. The rehearsals were held at the IU music school, which I hadn’t set foot in since leaving 7 years before. The healing power of the music and my sister singers helped me release the bitterness of the past and embrace the present.
We worked with the intensely talented Cathy Roma of Cincinnatti’s Anna Crusis Women’s Choir. None of the singers were auditioned, and the music was quite challenging, so Cathy pulled off a minor miracle by pulling us all up to performance grade in under four days.
Since the performance was going to be recorded, and it was a classical oratorio, the audience (packed to the gills in the Indiana University Auditorium) was asked not to clap. By the second movement, they were desperate to give back some of the energy they were receiving. Some began to make the ASL sign for applause. By the third movement, each pause in music brought a sussurrus of thousands of hands waving in the air, a shimmering field in our vision.
Kay’s piece ended with every singer crooning a comforting song from her childhood. I choose Poor Robin Is Dead, an old Irish Pagan children’s song of death and resurrection that’s a family tradition handed down through my (namesake) grandfather. The overall effect of the hundred-odd whispered songs is unlike anything I’ve heard in music—unforgettable.
The entire production was created and executed by women, down to the stagehands. I’d never experienced such a positive, can-do, committed sisterhood and was my introduction to the power of women’s mysteries. I was intensely proud of our achievement and became attuned to the different energies of same-gender and mixed-gender settings (all of which are good!).
SSA with two soloists and drum. The most powerful piece I’ve ever heard about standing up to domestic violence. I take little claim for the piece; it came to me almost fully formed and I just fleshed it out. It’s a hard-driving critique of violence from all perspectives, centered around the vow itself:
I swear by the Earth and all I hold dear, / I will not stand by and watch this slaughter; / I will intervene, I’ll stand in your way; / You will not strike your sistah, your wife, a-your daughter! /
Must have two power soloists and an ensemble ready to go the emotional distance. Has received a standing ovation at every performance.
One version available on CD: The Indianapolis Women’s Chorus’ To Sing Is To Fly at Amazon.
Five-part, contemplative, gentle piece on open syllables. Minor key, about two-three minutes long, sort of an Enya sound.
SSA. I composed this after the mezzos in the Bloomington Feminist Chorus told me to “write a song around A, we like that note.” The piece is actually killer for the First Sopranos, with leaps and jumps to impossible intervals. The mezzos stay on A throughout the whole thing. A completely discordant piece with almost all the lyrics beginning with “S.” Very silly; it includes various asides to the audience and ends with the last few bars of the Hallelujah Chorus. I dare you to sing this.
SSA with solo lead. Up-tempo R&B piece that everybody can snap along to. The song thanks friends for always being there through thick and thin. This one’s a crowd-pleaser and fun to sing, with a slow burn at the end. Takes a sassy soloist and a funky ensemble to pull off.