Ten Years Strong in 2014!
On May 3 and 17, Voices Rising celebrated all we have achieved through our music and our mission.
It’s hard to believe that we at Voices Rising are celebrating our 10th anniversary this season. During these 10 years, we have performed more than 300 songs: many by women composers, arrangers, singer-songwriters, and many more about women’s experiences, including those experiences in an LGBT context. We have partnered with community organizations to benefit the homeless and survivors of domestic violence, to provide relief to tsunami victims and raise breast cancer awareness. From our inception, we have lent music to important milestones in the struggle for equal rights, consistently performing in Pride events through the years as well as in Open and Affirming celebrations among welcoming congregations statewide.
Our very first performance opportunity came just weeks after we were founded, when Voices Rising was invited to sing at a rally supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage held by the Interfaith Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. That was back in March of 2004. Fast-forward to 2010, when Voices Rising performed at the Sister Singers Network Festival in Chicago as the only chorus in attendance from a state where same-sex marriage was legal.
Now in 2014, as we prepare for the next SSN festival to be held this July, many more choruses and their members have marriage equality on the books, with more to follow in the wake of last summer’s Supreme Court ruling against DOMA. On this issue, we are very proud to have served as examples from the outset. Here and in many other areas of social justice, we look forward to continuing to lead the way, with our music and our message, for our audiences here in Boston and for women’s feminist and LGTBQ-oriented choruses across the United States.
This season, we are celebrating all we have become through our music and our mission. Thank you to everyone who joined us for 10! as we commemorated our first decade of song. Here’s a look back at the last 20 concerts in the last 10 years!
- January 2014: Let it Shine!
- June 2013: A Woman’s Place
- January 2013: Songs for a Winter’s Night
- June 2012: Welcome Out!
- January 2012: In Her Own Words
- June 2011: All the Wild Wonders
- January 2011: The Spirit Moves Her
- June 2010: Shall We Dance
- January 2010: Where the Heart Is
- June 2009: Joy of We
- December 2008: Let Evening Come
- May 2008: WomenFolk
- December 2007: Take Up the Song
- May 2007: Now We Become Ourselves
- November 2006: Song of Wisdom
- April 2006: I Come From Women
- November 2005: Hope is the Thing
- April 2005: Everything’s Relative
- December 2004: Wintersong
- June 2004: Come to the Music
2013: The snowy weather didn’t hit until after we produced “Songs for a Winter’s Night” in January and February at the Congregational Church of Needham and First Church Boston. We continued to serenade Boston’s sweethearts in person on Valentine’s Day, and we made mothers around the world very happy with Mother’s Day singing telegrams. In June, we produced “A Woman’s Place: Songs of Work and Play” at First Church Boston and Grace Episcopal Church in Newton, which welcomed us earlier in the spring for its Open and Affirming service. In Fall 2013, we hosted our second annual Cabaret!
2012: We kicked off a snowy 2012 with “In Her Own Words,” a celebration of women poets, at Congregational Church of Needham and First Church Boston. In June, we opened Pride season with “Welcome Out! A concert celebrating pride, potlucks, and the power of song” at Eliot Church in Newton and First Church Boston. Our Cabaret migrated downtown to Club Cafe for Halloween to become the costumed “Come as You Aren’t” Cabaret.
2011: In May 2011, we pioneered our May Day Cabaret at Bella Luna in Jamaica Plain. We produced “The Spirit Moves Her” in January 2011 at at the Congregational Church of Needham and First Church Boston, and we sang June songs of nature in “All the Wild Wonders” at Eliot Church in Newton and First Church Boston.
2010: In February 2010, our Singing Valentines quartets emerged to spread love and joy across the greater Boston area. Before that, in January 2010, we produced “Where the Heart is: Songs to Carry you Home” at the Congregational Church of Needham and First Church Boston. In June 2010, we produced “Shall We Dance?” at First Church Boston and Harvard Epworth United Methodist Church. In July 2010, we sang at the Sister Singers Network Festival in Chicago with feminist women’s choruses from across North America.
2009: In May 2009, we partnered with Another Octave: Connecticut Women’s Chorus to produce “Love is Here to Stay,” a marriage equality concert at the Unitarian Society of New Haven. Also in May, Another Octave joined us at Temple Israel in Boston for “Five!” celebrating five years of marriage equality in Massachusetts. In June, along with Another Octave, we produced “The Joy of We” at Eliot Church in Newton, featuring Mark Koval’s “We the People: a Musical Exploration of Marriage Equality in America.”
2008: In May 2008, we produced “WomenFOLK: Choral Tradition from Around the World” at First Church Boston and Eliot Church in Newton. In the summer of 2008, we returned to the GALA Choruses Festival in Miami. In October 2008 we sang in “Honoring Survivors: A Service to Reflect on the Impact of Domestic Violence” at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In December 2008, we produced “Let Evening Come” at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center and the Congregational Church of Needham.
2007: In May 2007, we produced “Now We Become Ourselves” at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center and the Congregational Church of Needham, singing “of our bodies’ physical and spiritual triumphs and perceived failings — a musical examination of self image and a celebration of beauty and strength.” In December 2007, we returned to these venues to present “Take Up the Song: Music of Protest and Resistance.” We recorded our first CD. It features “Song of Wisdom” by Joseph Martin (text from Douglas Wood’s award-winning children’s book, OLD TURTLE). We sang for the “Open and Affirming” services of three UCC congregations: Pilgrim Congregational Church in Lexington (January 2007), First Congregational Church in Natick (October 2007), and Pleasant Street Congregational Church in Arlington (February 2008).
2006: In April 2006, we produced “I Come From Women” at First Church Boston and Simmons College. In October 2006, we sang in “Honoring Survivors: A Service to Reflect on the Impact of Domestic Violence” at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In December 2006, we produced “Song of Wisdom” at First Church Boston and the Congregational Church of Needham. A highlight of our 2006 season was performing at Cutler Majestic Theater as guests of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, with whom we continue to build a strong relationship.
2005: In April 2005, we produced “Everything’s Relative” at First Parish Church in Cambridge and First Church Boston. In November 2005, we produced “Hope is the Thing” at Emmanuel Church in Boston and Mount Ida College in Newton, featuring the New England premiere of Diane Benjamin’s “Where I Live” (A Breast Cancer Oratorio), to benefit the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.
2004: Voices Rising was born in February 2004 in a living room full of women who wanted to sing together. We were fortunate to have singers in all vocal ranges, lots of enthusiasm, vision, and many willing people to do the work of starting a new chorus. We began performing as a group at Emmanuel Church in Boston at a rally for same-sex marriage in March 2004, went on to open Boston’s Gay Pride week with a performance at Faneuil Hall in June, and ended that week singing at the Pride Interfaith service at Old South Church. Later in June, we produced our first full concert in collaboration with Another Octave: Connecticut Women’s Chorus. In July, many members of Voices Rising and Another Octave traveled to Montreal where we joined 6000 other singers at the quadrennial international GALA (Gay and Lesbian Association of) Choruses festival.
We’ve continued to grow as a chorus and as a fixture in the LGBT community. Voices Rising has been thrilled to continue performing at Pride events since our inception.