Women to sing for peace in new work

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‘PEACE is not merely the absence of war. Peace is the nurture of human life’, said Jane Addams, President, of the 1915 International Congress of Women.

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With this in mind, local composer Glenda Cloughley, advised by Judith Clingan, has created a new work to be performed by Canberra choir “A Chorus of Women” under the musical direction of Johanna McBride during a newly-devised conference.

Described as a “choral drama,” the work draws on the classical tradition of oratorio to create a form of community participation in issues of the time. In poetry and song, the chorus of 80 Canberra women and children plan to sing about the spirit of 1300 women who gathered for the 1915 International Congress of Woman in the very same week as the Anzacs’ Gallipoli landing.

With drama directors Craig San Roque and Miriam Pickard, A Chorus of Women will be joined by   Arawang Primary School choir directed by Lynne Kowalik. Soloists will be Louise Page, Christina Wilson, Margaret Sim, Angela Giblin, Jenny Sawer, Judith Clingan, Maartje Sevenster and others and the instrumentalists involved are Fiona Dickson, Jodie Petrov, Rowan Harvey-Martin, Christina Hopgood, David Flynn, Alan Hicks and others.

Today ACT Minister for the Arts Joy Burch launched the program for the inaugural “Festival of Peace” of which “A Passion for Peace” will be the centrepiece.

“As we prepare to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC, it is fitting that we also recognise the important peacemaking efforts of women,” Ms Burch said.

“A Passion for Peace is a Canberra-made story about the global crisis of world war. The oratorio celebrates the remarkable first Congress of Women in 1915 and tells that story through the lens of present-day reflections on the trauma and grief of war and our responsibility to sow the seeds of lasting peace for future generations,” she added.

The Festival of Peace will provide three opportunities to see ‘A Passion for Peace’ as well as opportunities to join forums, storytelling and concerts to celebrate the 1915 International Congress of Women.

“A Passion for Peace,” by Glenda Cloughley, at the Albert Hall, 7.30 pm Tuesday 28 April, Thursday 30 April, Saturday 2 May. Cost: $35 (concession $25). The inaugural Festival for Peace takes place at the Albert Hall as follows: Day 1 – 28 April, Day 2 – 29 April, Day 3 – 30 April, Day 4 – 1 May, Day 5 – 2 May. Information at chorusofwomen.org/Passion_for_Peace_Program.htm

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Helen Musa
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