Today I did my first solo recital in years! I was able to be a part of the fabulous Music Mondays concert series at the Church of the Holy Trinity (a fabulous church in its own right!). Music Mondays has been offering free summer concerts to the downtown area for 15 years. I did a show there a few years ago, and it was great to be invited back.
My show was called SING OF EVE - SONGS OF WOMEN OF THE BIBLE. I got the idea for it years ago when I discovered that Shubert's Ave Maria was not actually written as a prayer to Mary, but as a setting for a secular poem. It wasn't until later in the tune's life that it became a setting for this holy prayer. So it got me thinking, "If this song wasn't written for Mary, then what songs were? And in that case, what songs have been written for the other women of the Bible?".
I started searching through all my music books - classical, hymns, music theatre, opera, cabaret, etc. - and I found women of the Bible every where! I've collected about 30 songs to date, and today I sang 13 of them in a 45 minute program.
I was accompanied on piano by the ever-talented William Shookhoff, and I also did 2 songs on guitar, and 2 acapella. Bill and I did a version of this show a few years ago, so it was a real pleasure to investigate this music together again.
I tried to include a wide variety of genres, and I only sang songs that either directly told a woman's story or quoted her words. Lots of songs have a passing reference to Mary or Eve, but I wanted to find songs that really teach us about these women and their role in the Bible.
I sang about: Mary the Mother of Jesus, Eve, Susanna, Ruth, Miriam, The Woman at the Well, and Mary Magdalene. For most of them, I just had one song, but I had a little group of songs for each Mary. I arranged these particular songs in an order that would follow the life of Jesus. Before each song of the program, I would give a little background on each woman and her story. I really hoped I might excite people about delving into their Bibles and finding out more about these women.
I would love to do this program again and again. There are just so many great songs to chose from. I did include "I Call Out Your Name", as that was written as a compliment for the book of Susanna. But wouldn't it be wonderful to write some new songs about different Biblical women? Or maybe even to commission people to write some songs? One of the things I've loved about this journey is seeing the different perspectives each writer takes on each particular story. So fascinating!
And I have to say, it was so awesome to be singing in Holy Trinity. What an acoustic! I could sing there all day!