Everything old is new again

I first met Kathy McTavish more than 30 years ago. We were part of a group of women musicians talking, listening, and thinking about feminism in relationship to classical music. She played cello in a performance of my college honors project. In those days I was very engaged with the music and ideas of lesbian and gay experimental composers like Pauline Oliveros, John Cage, Lou Harrison, and Harry Partch.

Kathy has always had a mind that incorporates innovation, thought, experimentation, and lesbian representation. Lately she is working with multi-media art in collision with computer programming. Her current installation Chance at Duluth’s Tweed Museum of Art, is a powerful testament to an artist’s careful attention to the voice within.

Chance is a synergetic installation that combines code, image, and sound to create a cross-sensory, polyphonic experience. A landscape of painted walls and multi-channel sound encloses the viewer. Choreographed by code, a circle of machine quartets investigate chance, emergence, friction, resonance and change.”

When Kathy approached me about bringing Sing! to this piece, I knew immediately that I wanted to do it. It has been a wonderful gift to hear what Kathy is thinking and how it is expressed in her art.

The chorus recorded some tones that will be incorporated into the soundscape of the installation. Then we’ll show up to sing live in the space. Expect a dreamy, atmospheric, flow of song fragments in response to the sound and sights of the room. We’ll be performing Tuesday, March 13 at 6:30pm at the Tweed Museum.

These days experimental music composition is very far from my normal means of expression. And this has certainly been a new experience for the singers; we’re working quite outside of our usual mode of music-making. It feels good to stitch together some of my past with a piece of my present.

About Sing! A Women's Chorus

Founded in 1999 by director Mags David, Sing! A Women’s Chorus is based in the Duluth Public Schools Community Education program. This ensemble is open to all registrants. Music is learned through the oral tradition, allowing singers at all levels of experience to participate. We sing traditional music from the U.S., Europe, and West Africa, and original songs written for the chorus by Mags David.
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