Feminine Melodies

Menomonie Singers to feature compositions by women

Emily Kinzel

“Woman up” with powerful pieces by female composers presented by the Menomonie Singers on Nov. 19 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Menomonie. Enjoy the music as this talented group takes audience members through the centuries from the 1800s to the present. This unique experience will redefine what a choir can accomplish. “This year we are tackling women composers, and we haven’t done that before,” founder Juliana Schmidt explained. Around the Wisconsin area, it’s rare to see a choral program representing only work by women, but “there’s a rich repertoire out there to be had,” she said. Schmidt summarized one of the pieces by Cecilia McDowall, which is based upon the last words of a British nurse who was executed during World War I for aiding both German and Allied wounded. The haunting centerpiece is a lengthy and highly complex piece originally premiered in 1892 by composer Amy Beach. “She can challenge you,” Schmidt said. “Gender divide is there. People will say to female composers, ‘Oh yeah, your stuff is pretty good for a girl.’ I don’t know how Amy put up with it, but she kept writing.” One of the purposes of this program is to stretch audience members’ ideologies and to present them with pieces whose artistry is equal to that of male composers. This program will also include works by current and local composers and singers. Conductor Dr. Jerry Hui will engage with the audience, give small histories of each piece, and truly make the choir performance an event. 

The Menomonie Singers in Concert • Sunday, Nov. 19, 2pm • Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 910 Ninth St. East, Menomonie • $10 suggested donation • (715) 505-3525 • themenomoniesingers@gmail.com • themenomoniesingers.org