Calliope Feminist Choir will celebrate its 30th anniversary with performances on May 12 and 13 that will help support the Athens United Immigration Support Project.
Entitled “Where the Light Begins,” Friday’s performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Both will occur at the Athens First Presbyterian Church, at 2 N. Court Street, Athens.
According to Artistic Director Debra Spangler, “This concert is a collection of songs that evoke community and friendship defined by how we care for, and celebrate, each other. What better songs to share with our community?”
Named after one of the muses in Greek mythology who presided over poetry, music and the arts, Calliope is a treble-voiced Athens-based community choir that currently has 33 members from Athens and the surrounding counties.
Heather Cantino has been a choir member for 22 years. She described the group as “a group of people who love to sing, and who value feminism, saving the earth, and believe in the power of hope.”
The choir also maintains a policy of sliding scale tickets and dues so that anyone can participate regardless of their ability to pay.
Longtime former choir director, Nancy Pierce, will accompany Spangler. These concerts will feature local guest artists Becca Lachman, Kelly Madewell, Greg Bikowski, and Heather Scott.
The program includes songs by local composers Lachman and Elise McMath in an arrangement by Pierce. Another piece is Elizabeth Alexander’s “Sue Loves Butter.”
Alexander is a Portsmouth native who composed the musical, “Split Hickory,” set in Central Appalachia and was recently workshopped at Shawnee State University.
The Athens First Presbyterian Church has an accessible entrance on Washington Street, and the concert space is accessible by elevator. ALS interpreting will also be provided.
However, masking will be required to protect the singers and audience from potential viruses in the community, and seating will be limited to 60% capacity.
Cantino explained that the choir has an open policy toward accepting new members. She elaborated, “In the fall, anyone who wants to join the choir can contact the Artistic Director, Debra Spangler. Then, we have open rehearsals where people can come and audition.”
According to the Calliope Feminist Choir’s values statement, “Our feminism is also reflected in our valuing inclusivity and accessibility for singers and performers.”
The choir will share part of the concerts’ proceeds with the Athens United Immigration Support Project. This group turns care into action for those who find themselves having to flee their homes.
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