Saturday, December 10, 2022 at 8 pm
Wanting More Memories
Joel Chapman, Interim Artistic Director
Daniel McDavitt (b. 1979)
Locus Iste (I Feel…)
Meredith Monk (b. 1942)
Other Worlds Revealed from Atlas
Eric Tuan (b. 1990)
Displacement (Movement V)
text by Tony Robles
Tonia Ko (b. 1988)
text by Italo Calvino (1923–1985)
Imogen Heap (b. 1977)
Hide and Seek
Ysaye Barnwell (b. 1946)
Rosephanye Powell (b. 1962)
Still I Rise
Gwyneth Walker (b. 1947)
I Thank You God
text by e.e. cummings (1894–1962)
Carly Simon (b. 1943), arr. Craig Hella Johnson
Let the River Run
About the music
Come in, take a load off, take a deep breath, take a look around. Welcome to this December set: Wanting More Memories. This is not a Christmas concert. But, just as the holidays roll around each year with imminence and predictability, presenting a framework on which we create memories—the traditions, the family, the friends, the carols on the radio, the evenings with books by a roaring fire, the marshmallows that float atop hot chocolate, the pine needles that prick and prod and smell like December, the laughter, the myths—so too do we hope Musae provides a space to create memories, for both you and the singers. From your choosing to share an hour with us at this concert, to our choosing to commit to weekly rehearsals and weekend retreats, this is a space to be with one another, to be present in the moment, and to create memories together. Welcome.
We start today’s program with Daniel McDavitt’s Locus Iste, a Latin gradual typically sung to dedicate a new space. Translating to “This Place,” we—you, me, Musae— have an opportunity to think about where we are right now. The text reminds us that whatever place in which we reside has history; it has a reason for existence; it has stories untold; it has secrets; it has hope for the future. This Place could be a building, or a city, or an institution, or a state of mind. This Place is temporary. No matter where we come from, and no matter where we are going, we remain grateful to This Place, but we also honor the bountiful growth that emerges when we approach This Place with a healthy dose of iconoclasm. It’s okay to raze and renew again. When the traditions get tired; when the carols are old; when the book becomes boring; when the marshmallows grow stale; when December turns bitter and laughter becomes bickering; when the myths make no sense; it’s wise to reimagine This Place. Daniel McDavitt’s unique setting of Locus Iste includes English text in addition to the Latin, taking responses from a survey sent to the Brigham Young University Women’s Chorus with the prompt “I feel…”. Today, we hear Musae’s own word choices in that section, finishing the phrase “I feel…” with whatever particular thing the singers hope and feel for the future of the group, and for This Place.
Sprinkled throughout the music today is a celebration of the individual voices that make up Musae. From the self-generated text of Locus Iste through Meredith Monk’s Other Worlds Revealed, we can recognize that choral music, though indeed a group art, does emerge from the individual contributions of each and every singer. Meredith Monk’s work, from her opera Atlas, has a very simple premise: the melody starts in the back of the ensemble and is “passed” to the next person. As the pulsating texture builds, we hear a semblance of harmony and chord structure, all the while focusing on the individual characteristics of each entering voice. It’s a stunning moment of meditation and reflection.
We move next to local composer Eric Tuan’s Displacement. This is a multi- movement work from which we will sing the fifth. Featuring poetry by housing activist Tony Robles, this piece is a lament for those in San Francisco pushed out by gentrification. This Place has a story. This Place is more than what remains.
Through Tuan’s piece, and Tonia Ko’s, and Imogen Heap’s, and Ysaye Barnwell’s, the program shifts to a theme of memory, which is an integral element of any institution looking ahead into the future. Musae, in its moment of leadership transition, is in such a process, and this concert is in a way reflective of the many questions a group in such a transition may be asking itself. In the words of Imogen Heap: Where are we? What the hell is going on? Who are we? What do we hold onto? What have we forgotten about? Do we still recognize This Place? How do we expand our circle of welcome? What do we shed ourselves of? Like a caterpillar turned to goo, are we melting to an amorphous primordial soup in order to rise again? Are we listening to individual voices? What can we learn from our memories?
“I am sitting here wanting memories to teach me to see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.”
We end our set looking ahead—through three pieces of perseverance, thankfulness, and newness (Rosephanye Powell’s Still I Rise, Gwyneth Walker’s I Thank You God, and Carly Simon’s Let the River Run). May we all hold the past in one hand and the future in the other as we journey forward to create more memories.
About the musicians
Musae is a treble vocal ensemble based in San Francisco. The group takes its name from the original “ladies of song,” the classic nine Muses of Greek mythology. Since its founding in 2004, Musae has performed diverse and accessible music throughout the Bay Area, and continues to stretch the boundaries of traditional repertoire for treble voices. Musae functions as a musical collective in which each singer identifies as a leader and soloist contributing actively to the artistic process. The group’s singers are trained in the choral tradition, but not bound by it. Each singer may sing a range of voice parts based on the aesthetic demands of the music, and the group performs largely without a conductor.
Joel Chapman (he/him) is a San Francisco-based songwriter, bass-baritone, and conductor. With backgrounds in choral music, accessibility advocacy, musical theater, and comedy, Joel brings fresh spins and improbable ideas to the forefront of his art and leadership. Though he loves old, pre-existing works that have stood the test of time, Joel’s true passion is in new works development: he sings with the acclaimed new-music ensemble Volti, and he is co-creator of Gravity, a New(tonian) Musical, seen in workshops and performances throughout the Bay Area and Los Angeles and a finalist for the 2017 O’Neill National Music Theater Conference in New York. Joel writes music, even though he once wrote a song called I Don’t Write Music. Recent commissions as a composer include a live-streamed audiovisual creation for remote singers called Interdependence (Volti), an electric and earthy score for a 20-minute dance in the 2020 premiere of Charles Mee’s Utopia (RAWDance, Cutting Ball), and six art songs for The Young Activists’ Songbook. A music director, singer, and actor, recent credits include At War with Ourselves (chorus, Kronos Quartet), A Grand Night for Singing (actor, 42nd Street Moon), Fefu and Her Friends (music consultant, American Conservatory Theater), A Christmas Carol (music director, American Conservatory Theater), and Tinderella (music director/orchestrator, Faultline and Custom Made Theatre). Joel is on faculty at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, and University High School, and he is the music director for the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo. Joel is an avid Go player, enjoys cats and dogs equally, and loves public transit. | joelchapmanmusic.com
Thaddeus Pinkston (he/him) has been a member of the YC and Studio A.C.T. faculty for 12 years. Thaddeus was musical director and co-composer for Saint Tous which premiered at La Mama along with Broadway Legend Andre De Shields. He also toured with and was musical director for the Fifth Dimension’s rendering of Ain’t Misbehavin and served as musical director for The Color Purple’s Benefit Concert in San Francisco. He has accompanied a host of stellar performers and ensembles for American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Telluride Jazz Festival, Jazz Legend Stan Getz, American folk singer Joan Baez, Maurice Hines, and Jennifer Holiday.
Allison Lynk (she/her) kickstarted her musical passion by yearning to play Mary in The Secret Garden on Broadway. While that particular dream never came true, she spent her youth in New Jersey and New York singing in many school, church, and community choirs and theater productions. She made her way to San Francisco nearly 12 years ago and has been singing second soprano in Musae ever since. By day, Allison works as a product marketer for Twilio Segment, and also enjoys reading, painting, and dreaming up travel plans. Allison’s dream invention would be a robot that would brush your teeth, wash your face, and do your bedtime routine for you if you happen to fall asleep on the couch before bed.
Amy Strauss (she/her) grew up singing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and continued to sing with various choral groups in college and beyond. She joined Musae in 2021. Besides singing, she is passionate about science literacy and works as a science educator and STEM research mentor to high school students. Amy is looking forward to the day when a functional system for reusing/composting all of the materials we produce and consume has been invented. Trash cans and landfills will be a thing of the past!
Anjali Jameson (she/her) sang with the San Francisco Girls Chorus in her youth, touring with both SFGC’s Chorissima and Virtuosi groups. She is a trained classical pianist who now only plays when helping her kids practice! During the day, Anjali leads product management and design at One Medical, a primary care organization located across the country. She has been singing with Musae for six years. Anjali wishes for a George Jetson-style meal maker in the future so that she can just push a button for a healthy delicious dinner instead of staring into the fridge at 6pm hoping leftovers appear.
Barrie McClune (she/her) sang with the San Francisco Girls Chorus from age seven to eighteen. In her three decades of choral singing, she has only spent one season singing a part other than first soprano. True to stereotype, she is not a strong sight reader and often confuses “pianissimo” for a tempo marking. She loves to learn and chose a career in organization development so she could learn alongside her clients as they navigate uncertainty. Outside of work she enjoys being a beginner at piano, a novice deadlifter, and a thoroughly confused, self-directed student in complexity science and chaos theory. She serves as a singer rep on the Musae board of directors. Barrie hopes there’s an invention that allows you to stop time in order to take a nap, read a book, make dinner–it would be illegal to use it for work though!
Becca Blume (she/her) has sung with Musae since 2016. Previously she studied vocal performance at Whitman College and sang with the Seattle Girls’ Choir from the ages of 8 to 18. By day she works as in-house counsel at a tech company. She also moonlights in interior design and enjoys cooking and baking in her spare time. She lives in Oakland with her husband and their two-year-old daughter, who is her proudest accomplishment. Becca would like someone to invent a robot that does all the household chores.
Caitlin Cobley (she/her) is in her second year with Musae. Born and raised in San Francisco, Caitlin spent 12 years singing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus developing a love for choral music from a young age. She currently works at night as a labor and delivery and postpartum registered nurse, growing her knowledge and passion for caring for birthing families of all backgrounds. After dabbling in the land of altos last year for the first time, she is overjoyed to be back in her comfort zone singing the crunchy higher harmonies as a second soprano. Caitlin would like someone to invent a time warp machine so nobody ever has to work night shift.
Christine Rojas (she/her) grew up in Austin, TX and has been a vocalist her whole life. She’s so excited to be sharing music with Musae! A chemical engineer by schooling with a passion for design and user experience, she runs Product and Innovation at a nutrition start-up. She loves cooking, baking, hiking all over the bay, playing with her dog Pepper at the beach, and hosting bbq’s in the backyard. She and her husband just got their first home, a fixer, and most of her spare time is spent re-enacting the movie “The Money Pit.” Christine would love a translation device so we know exactly what babies and animals are actually thinking and trying to say!
Colleen O’Hara (she/her) has been singing for as long as she can remember, and a member of Musae since 2005. Musae and music-making have alway been sacred to Colleen, providing her with a creative outlet and bringing balance to her life. During the day she leads account and relationship management for a CRM, ticketing, and fundraising software company. She currently lives in Berkeley with her husband, and their pets, where she loves to hike and enjoy the wonderful green space throughout the Bay Area. Colleen wishes for a way to understand what her pets are thinking, both when they are in need or pain, but also when they are being totally silly and happy.
Danielle Schickele (she/her) joined Musae in 2018 when she moved to San Francisco after spending a couple years on the East Coast. Originally from Davis, CA, Danielle became increasingly involved in choir in high school. She went on to sing in the Pomona College Choir and Pomona College Glee Club for four years. Musae is a welcome break from her job as a vice president at Amity Search Partners, a boutique executive search firm. Danielle wishes for an invention that tells you exactly what you’re craving to eat.
Erin Ichimura (she/her) is a private piano and voice teacher. She loves working with young students and creating a safe space for playing and creating music. She also loves sewing and finding new music to enjoy on Spotify. After nine years of singing with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, she earned a bachelor of arts in vocal performance, and continued singing every day in many of her college’s choirs. This is her second year with Musae. Erin would love a special way to make our dogs, cats and other pets live much longer.
Katie Innes (she/her) joined Musae in 2007, after four years with the Whitman College Chorale and eight years in the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Currently a stay-at-home mom to Brynjar (3rd grade) and Freyja (preschool), Katie spends her free time cooking, watching women’s soccer, and listening to a wide variety of podcasts. Always an alto of some sort, Katie is delighted to be back on the bottom line singing the low notes, looping and repetitive bass lines, and parts originally written for male voices. Katie wishes for a device that would allow people to fly like birds. Wouldn’t it be nice to always travel “as the crow flies?”
Kim McClain (she/her) is a music and movement teacher and board member at Synergy School in the Mission where she practices Orff Schulwerk with her preschool, elementary, and middle school students. She also teaches piano lessons, and she lives for those magical moments when learning happens. Kim has been singing with Musae since 2013, and she now also has the pleasure of serving as Musae’s administrative director. Kim would like someone to discover how to build wormholes so we can travel from one place to another in the blink of an eye.
Kirstin Cummings (she/her) grew up in the Bay Area singing in the San Francisco Girls Chorus. She has been with Musae since its inception and is also the Musae board president. After a career in technology after college, she now helps rescue cats in Oakland and the East Bay with a particular focus on spaying and neutering, education, data collection, and community support. Kirstin is excited for the day when nothing needs wires and cables. Or at least the day when all devices can use the same one. No more box in the closet full of random electronic cables!
Lauren Schwartz (she/her) joined Musae in 2009 at which time she apprehensively made the leap from second soprano to second alto and has never looked back. She has been lucky to sing with many of the talented women of Musae since she was seven years old in the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and she’s thrilled to introduce her 1yr old daughter to the magic of women’s voices this season. When she’s not singing, Lauren works as vice president of enterprise sales at Fivetran, a tech company in the Bay Area. Lauren would like someone to invent a cure for all currently incurable diseases.
Michela Macfarlane (she/her) thrives most in settings where gorgeous harmony abounds. For the past 25 years, she has sung professionally anything from medieval, baroque, and Broadway to jazz, folk, blues, and pop music. Michela joined Musae in 2010 and her Gold Country-based cover band Cantamos two years prior to that, where she continues to relish the harmonies and deep human connection through live performance. Her days are spent on long walks with her dog, cycling through new and old recipes, and riding the ever-changing family dynamic with two teen boys. We are but a mere blip in the spacetime continuum, so perhaps through a DNA mutation effective immediately, Michela wishes that all humans develop a heightened sense of compassion and empathy through which all actions are realized, saving ourselves and our planet from further destruction.
Sabrina Adler (she/her) is the vice president of law at ChangeLab Solutions in Oakland, where she works on legal and policy issues related to public health and health equity. Growing up, she sang in the San Francisco Girls Chorus (with several other Musae singers!) for 10 years. She joined Musae after graduating from college – and before it was known as Musae – and is one of two current singers to have sung with the group since its inception. For the first 10 or so years of Musae’s existence she also served as administrative director, a role she has gratefully passed along since her formerly free time has been devoured by her two young children. Sabrina’s life would be revolutionized by a device that could read her children’s minds, use that information to determine what they will actually happily consume for any given meal, procure the necessary ingredients for said meal, and then prepare, serve, and clean up that meal. If only.
Teresa Newmark (she/her) grew up singing and studied vocal performance and conducting as part of her undergraduate degree. Her interest in voice and vocal production led her to pursue a career in speech and language pathology, and she currently owns and runs a private practice that supports children working on various aspects of communication and feeding. After a long hiatus, she rediscovered her love of music when her daughter began piano lessons, and in 2017 joined Musae where she is thrilled to be singing with some of the very people she performed with when she was her daughter’s age. Teresa wants to be able to walk around with a trash zapper that transforms trash on the street into something beautiful or useful: a flower, a bicycle, a snack.
Valerie Moy (she/her) spends her workday hours writing code for Pinterest while occasionally getting distracted by the hummingbirds outside the window of her home office in the Mission. In her spare time, Valerie enjoys going on walks around the city, searching for perfect bites, and of course singing, both with Musae and the International Orange Chorale. She first joined Musae in 2010. Valerie hopes someone will invent a Star Trek-style transporter!
Musae Board of Directors