Winnipeg, Man. – Founded in 1994 by artistic director Patricia Rabson, Women of Note is a community choir composed of 70 plus women who perform in three ensembles. With several lifelong members and many choristers who have been with the group for over 10 years, walking into a rehearsal often resembles a boisterous chat among good friends – because that’s just what it is.
“There have been more than 500 women who have sung with Women of Note over the years,” says Rabson. “The women who sing in the choir have continuously awed me throughout my tenure. They are an amazing group of ladies. They are not only talented musicians they are also generous and loving humans who, although busy with their families and jobs are always ‘there’ for each other.”
Each year Women of Note hosts a regular Christmas and spring concert drawing audiences of approximately 2,000 people annually. In addition to these events though, the heart and personality of the choir really shines during their limited Xpress performances done at Christmas and early spring.
“The Xpress programs are near and dear to us,” Rabson shares. “This annual project for the choir allows us to share mini concerts for people who are unable to attend our formal events and provides us with an opportunity give back to the community.”
It was this desire to continue connecting with the community and Rabson’s reflections on the power of women and their connections that inspired the theme for Women of Note’s spring concert.
“Our gala anniversary concert is a tribute to the members of Women of Note and all the women in our communities and our lives that make it a better place. The songs we’ve selected reflect the circle of the lives of women in the choir; each of them individually; their families; their communities; their accomplishments in good times and in bad.”
The choir is especially excited to debut their newly commissioned piece titled “The Ancient Ones” that was written by a fellow women’s choir director, U.S. composer Joan Szymko.
“As we started talking about commissioning a piece for our 25th anniversary Joan’s name was at the top of our list,” says Rabson. “She has a choir very much like ours and we have always enjoyed the music she writes. The topic of murdered and missing Indigenous women is something that is near and dear to us as Manitobans, and so intertwined with the theme of our concert. I knew we could work with Joan to create a really special piece to honour this. We can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
The work will be debuted as part of “Still I Rise – Celebrating Women, Building Bridges to Our Community” hosted at Manitoba Hydro Place on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 8:00pm and Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 3:00pm. The 25th anniversary gala concert is a free event open to the community. Tickets are required for entrance to the event and they are available on the choir’s website.