In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
The Anna Crusis Women's Choir is recognized as both an agent of social change and a premier performing arts group in the greater Philadelphia region. The Choir is committed to reaching diverse audiences, including people who have little access to the arts, and it supports the work of other progressive social justice organizations by singing at benefits and fundraisers.
Much has changed since Anna's founding in the 70's, when one of its primary objectives was to provide a safe haven for both gay and straight women to find their voices. Anna grew out of the grass roots feminist movement characterized by the local group "Wine, Women and Song. " Formed by songwriters/musicians Judith Palmer (who still sings with Anna) and Wendy Caplan, they composed much of their own music since little about women's lives - from a feminist perspective - was available. By 1975 Anna Crusis was a full-fledged choir, founded by Dr. Catherine Roma, who also served as music director. Over its 35 years, Anna Crusis has had only three artistic directors; Cathy Roma was succeeded by Jane Hulting, who led the choir for over twenty years. Anna Crusis is currently under the direction of Jacqueline Coren, who earned a BA in Music from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters in Music/Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College in Princeton.
As the years passed, Anna's vision and voice have expanded to support social justice for all and to illuminate important issues of the day affecting women, youth and disadvantaged populations. What haven't changed are Anna's eclectic repertoire and commitment to supporting original compositions by, for and about women. To date, Anna Crusis has commissioned nineteen musical works and has performed the original works of many others.
Anna Crusis is a celebrated member of the international organization GALA Choruses, which fosters the continued artistic and organizational growth of its gay and lesbian member choruses through festivals, workshops and ongoing networking and administrative support services. In addition to its two public concerts held each year in Philadelphia, Anna Crusis performs at a variety of community and outreach events.
The choir's unusual name has its origins in the Greek word "anacrusis," a word used in music to describe an "upbeat" or "feminine" entrance to a phrase. Physically, it may be described as the precise moment of anticipation and exhilaration which occurs as a singer takes a quick, deep breath before vocalizing. The choir finds the phrase fitting for the purpose of defining ourselves in relation to music, a philosophy of feminism and the joy of performing.
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Review: The Philadelphia-based, 33-strong Anna Crusis Women's Choir has been pleasing audiences for over 25 years now. 'Spaces Between the Stars' is a lyric from Track 12, 'what I want,' and it was chosen to honor departed member Pat Lowther, as a spiritual metaphor for the span of women's lives here on earth. 14 songs, some favorites: 'Kaval Sviri,' the traditional 'My True Love's Hair,' a jazzy arrangement of 'How Do I Love Thee,' 'Crushes,' 'Kore Evohe,' the rhythmic 'Chompilche,' 'Warrior' and the final cut, 'Higher Ground.' Some light accompaniment, and lyrics and information in the large liner notes booklet.
Songlist: Dilika Town Hall, Kaval Sviri, My True Love's Hair, How Do I Love Thee?, Crushes, Finally Here, Menopause, Kore Evohe, Put Vejini, Corazon Coraza, Chompliche, What I Want, Warrior, Higher Ground