Artemis Singers Presents "Wildest Dreams" Concert Jan. 23 & 24 in Skokie

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 25, 2015 | Go to article overview

Artemis Singers Presents "Wildest Dreams" Concert Jan. 23 & 24 in Skokie


Byline: Artemis Singers

Artemis Singers www.artemissingers.org, Chicago's Lesbian Feminist chorus, will present "Wildest Dreams," Saturday, Jan. 23, and Sunday, Jan. 24, a concert reflecting chorus members' collective dreaming about the environment, social justice, feminism, empowerment, love and passion.

"The lyrics to 'Ella's Song' are as arresting and vital today as they were when civil rights unsung hero Ella Baker spoke them in 1964," said Alyssandra McKaye, concert co-artistic director:

"Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers' sons

Is as important as the killing of White men, White mothers' sonsa

We who believe in freedom cannot rest."

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the African-American women's a cappella ensemble, composed "Ella's Song" to honor Baker.

The "Wildest Dreams" program features songs based on this question, "If we were only limited by our imaginations, where would we go?"

Emily Dickinson's subtly erotic poetry is featured in the song, "Wild Nights." Chicago's McKaye said the text is a fascinating contrast to the popular image of the reclusive spinster.

Artemis Singers will perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 and at 4 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Ethical Humanist Society, 7574 N. Lincoln Ave., Skokie, Ill. (south of Howard St., west of Skokie Blvd.) The 32-member nonprofit chorus, specializing in music written or arranged by women, is celebrating its 35th season.

Artemis Singers treasurer and long-time chorus member Loraine Edwalds of Chicago said that even though same-sex marriage is now legal, it is still a radical act for a woman to love a woman.

"In the early 1980s, when the lesbian community was underground," said Edwalds, "Artemis Singers had the courage to proclaim we were Chicago's lesbian feminist chorus. We've had 35 concert seasons and that is phenomenal."

Edwalds noted that the chorus is a great way to be in a community of women.

On the "Wildest Dreams" program is the evocative song, "Changing My Major," from the 2015 Tony Award winner for best musical, "Fun Home," based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel; "Dream Keeper," with text by Langston Hughes; and "Amazon," by Maxine Feldman.

"These songs speak to strength, freedom and filled and unfulfilled dreams," said McKaye. "Who would have dreamed that this lesbian feminist chorus, which a small group of women created in 1980, would still be going strong today? …

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