A residency by Cecilia's Circle can be compiled from numerous components (interdisciplinary performance events, master classes, workshops, lectures, and of course, concerts by the ensemble), and can last anywhere from two days to two weeks (or more). We have been hired for residencies, in conjunction with scheduled concerts, at several Penn State schools, at the University of Idaho, Boise State University, Luther College, Salem College, Carthage College, Elgin Community College, and Mary Washington University. In addition, members of the ensemble have presented individual workshops, master classes, and lectures at no less than 200 colleges throughout the U.S. Attached you will find a detailed description of some proposed residency activities (new ideas are always welcome), and enclosed are materials documenting our experience in this area. We'd like to draw you attention especially to the poster from our 1997 residency at Luther College. This project best represents our efforts to draw together the many disciplines, departments, and student groups of the school into the discovery of an inspiring, neglected part of our history.
The Luther College residency was also and excellent example of the way in which funding for such a project can be pulled together from many sources: music departments, ensemble budgets, lecture & fine arts funds, Women's studies, National Women's History Month event funds, language departments, theater & dance departments, history departments, local arts councils, etc. We are happy to do some of the legwork in contacting various departments and individuals involved, if pointed in the right direction. A residency of this kind can be a deeply unifying undertaking in a school, and can bring together elements which have otherwise had very little contact. Please note that we have also made public school presentations in conjunction with our college residencies, in the interest of engaging the community and the children, our future artists, scholars, and listeners.
Voices from the Medieval Abbey: a performance/exploration of the powerful work of 11th and 12th century nuns, focused especially on the mystical chant and woman-centered writings of Hildegard von Bingen, and the texts of Frau Ava, the first recorded female theologian. Cecilia's Circle singer Janet Youngdahl will perform and lead a women's vocal ensemble in renderings of Hildegard's song, while students and faculty from Religion and German provide readings, enactments, and explication.
Salon des Dames: a replication of the 18th century Parisian salon, one of the most fruitful venues for female artists in earlier times. This setting could be modeled on the renowned salon of composer and harpsichordist Elisabeth Claude Jacquet de La Guerre. whose career flourished under the patronage of Louis XIV. Feature "entertainment" would include a full staging of one of the composer's dramatic cantatas, with choreography and coaching provided by Cecilia's Circle Baroque dance specialist Julie Andrijeski. Poetry and oration, presented by students and faculty of French, would be integral to the program, creating a true collaboration of that department with Theater, Dance, and Music.
Portraits of Women in English and American Poetry and Song, 1650-1850: A presentation highlighting female figures and female voices in some of our own country's roots—the Sapphic poems of Katherine Phillips; Henry Purcell's musical depiction of Queen Mary (his patroness), the Virgin Mary, Bess of Bedlam, St. Cecilia, and suicidal Dido; the sharp-tongued sung commentary of Elizabeth Turner, Purcell's unrecognized contemporary; approaches to musical setting of Emily Dickinson's poetry; and messages to be drawn from the popular songwriters of early America's ladies' journals. This event is conceived of as a collaboration between Cecilia's Circle, who would provide vivid musical examples, and the host's English Department.
Singing Hildegard: A Choral Workshop led by Janet Youngdahl, specialist in the music of Hildegard von Bingen, introducing choir members (male and female) to the style, notation, and performance practices of Hildegard's extraordinary chant.
Women Making Music: A women's Studies or History Class Visit or freestanding presentation, guided by ensemble researcher Vivian Montgomery, focusing on examination of the circumstances under which women have been free to create music in the 12th through the 19th centuries, as well as the the shining examples of those who broke the rules.
Performance Masterclasses and Demonstrations: Early vocal performance (chant, troubadour interpretation, Italian, English, and French baroque practices) Harpsichord (The instrument, technique, and basso continuo) Early String Instruments and Techniques (viola da gamba, vielle, and baroque violin). Historical Dance (renaissance and baroque)