- “The Juba Dance” from Symphony in E Minor, 1931, by Florence Beatrice Price, the first African American woman composer to have her work performed by a major symphony orchestra.
- “Festive Huapango” and “Pyramid of the Sun,” pieces by Alice Gomez, a contemporary composer who was resident composer with the San Antonio Symphony and whose works celebrate her Mexican heritage.
- “Symphony No. 3 in G Minor,” 1847, by Louise Farrenc who was on the faculty of the Paris Conservatory—the only woman in the 19th century to hold a chair of such rank. She also compiled a 23-volume anthology of 17th and 18th century keyboard music.
- “Initiate,” 2016, a commissioned work by prolific African American composer Mary Watkins, who also performed a solo concert later in the festival. “Initiate” had three movements: “Trepidation,” “Dawning,” and “Conversion.”
There was also a film about Barbara Bordon and a performance by this phenomenal drummer, whose work has taken her to Yugoslavia and Zimbabwe in times of civil strife, and to Siberia for shamanic initiation.
In addition to the Festival Orchestra, there is a Festival Drum Chorus led by Wahru, a Festival Folk Orchestra led by Kiya Heartwood, and a Festival Chorus led by Rhiannon.
And comedians like Marga Gomez and Vickie Shaw. And Andrea Gibson, poet and activist. And the Sarah Bush Dance Project. And me, with my one-woman show.
The Festival is all about building legacy, nurturing younger women, creating and sustaining a culture by, for, about, and celebrating females. They honor an “Emerging Artist” every year. They give awards. I will never forget receiving the Janine C. Rae Award for the Advancement of Women’s Culture. They recognize women’s achievements in philanthropy, in women’s music, in social change, in technical skills, and more!
The Festival is held at a Marriott hotel outside of Madison, with a variety of motel and hotel options within walking distance. It’s a great venue with a saltwater pool and hot tub, and an affordable breakfast buffet for attendees.
It’s not too early to clear your calendar for 2017. July 6-9. Bookmark their website! I will see you there!