SHU Celebrates Women Composers

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 BY Kristin Burnell

Co-A&E Editor

On March 25, The University Band and Human Journey Colloquia Series presented their concert “A Celebration of Women Composers” in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. 

The event featured the Wind Ensemble, the Blended Hearts chorus, the Women’s 4-Heart Harmony choir, and the SHUpermen. 

Each piece performed was composed by female artists to highlight the talents of women musicians.

“This is a concert we have been wanting to give for a long time,” said Band Director Keith Johnston. “Tonight’s concert is about celebrating the great music contributions that all these women have made.”

Choir members appreciated the female only pieces performed throughout the event. 

“Being a part of a concert with pieces composed by women only was very inspiring,” said junior SHUpermen member Kevin Gillotti. “Growing up with a lot of aunts has showed me how women can do anything a man can do. Especially when it comes to composing music in a male-dominated field, they can still create beautiful compositions such as the male figure.” 

The first three numbers were played by the Wind Ensemble and featured upbeat, dynamic pieces. 

“The opening number was a great start to the concert. I was very impressed by how the band sounded right from the beginning,” said junior audience member Mary Magilozzi.

The second piece performed was titled “Spring Festival” and composed by Chen Yi. “Weigala,” written by Ilse Weber, was the third song performed during the night, an audience favorite. 

“I enjoyed the third song the most because it was played so beautifully and there were more soft sounds throughout the piece,” said senior audience member Julia McLaughlin. 

 The Blended Hearts and 4-Heart Harmony Women choirs then joined the Wind Ensemble for a group piece entitled “The March of the Women.”

The SHUpermen joined the groups with the powerful number “Malala.” The message of this song made it special for some choir members to present.

“My favorite piece in the concert to perform was the wonderful piece about the story of Malala,” said Gillotti.

According to the program notes for the concert, “Malala” is a song that is based on the book “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by The Taliban,” by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb. 

Youzafzai was born in Pakistan and used her voice to speak against the Taliban’s ban against girls going to school. She was shot in the head in 2012 when going home from school and survived. She continues to fight for justice. 

“The powerful story of Malala and her determination to have equal rights for women in the Middle East and the consequences she had to overcome I feel is so powerful and more people should learn her story,” said Gillotti. 

Dr. June-Ann Greeley served as a narrator throughout the song, giving background information about the message of the musical piece. 

“I had not heard about Malala’s story until listening to the song inspired by her. The song was emotional and opened my eyes to the issues women face in other countries,” said McLaughlin.

The last three musical pieces featured just the Wind Ensemble with their renditions of “Women of the Podium March,” composed by Virginia Allen, and “Rhythm Stand,” composed by Jennifer Higdon, as well as “Crown of Thorns,” written by Julia Giroux. This last piece showcased instruments individually and as a group to build loud and soft tones. 

“My favorite song of the night was the last one. It was very intense but remarkable,” said Magilozzi. “The band did not miss a beat and I truly enjoyed listening to them perform!”

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