EAST WING SONGS (Volume 1) for mezzo-soprano and piano (PREMIERE)
|Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn, mezzo and Elizabeth Avery, piano|
|October 14, 2022|
|Christ Presbyterian Church, 530 Tuscarawas Street West|
Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn (mezzo) and Elizabeth Avery (piano).
Classical song literature has often presented women as they relate to men. This is not an issue exclusive to music, but has been discussed energetically in theatre, cinema, and literature as well. The same may be said of the First Ladies of our nation. East Wing Songs seeks to humanize the first ladies of the United States through song and to use music to share their stories and memorialize their achievements and challenges as women.
We were inspired by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian and began the project to provide song for the other amazing women often overlooked historically. In our first volume of songs, we’ve asked composer Leanna Kirchoff to select women that span time, age, political party, and approach to their role within the White House. Texts have been adapted from primary sources when possible, including letters, speeches, biographies, interviews, and diaries. For women who were more reclusive, or destroyed their correspondence and personal effects, we have created a “historical fiction” dialogue as the text based on what we know from first-hand accounts of the women as witnessed by their families, friends, president spouses, and the staff of the White House.
Volume I will include songs for Martha Dandridge Washington, Margaret Smith Taylor, Frances Folsom Cleveland, Ida Saxton McKinley, and Rosalynn Smith Carter and have its world premiere in collaboration with the First Ladies National Historic Site and Library in Canton Ohio. Our lecture recital for 2022 will include the Heggie set as well as a lecture recital format in the presentation of the East Wing Songs. The performers, Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn and Elizabeth Avery are long-time collaborators committed to sharing interesting art song, collaborating with living composers, and creating art that educates and inspires. Volume II will be composed by Linda Lister and will premier in the Spring of 2023.
(Program note by Ann Marie Wilcox-Daehn)