Calliope Women’s Chorus is proud to support Minnesotans United for All Families in their campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. The Calliope board voted unanimously at their March meeting to sign the following resolution.
Happy new year! Calliope singers came back from the holiday break for two weeks of intensive sectional rehearsals with our new music. We’re exploring the themes of our spring concert, Richard is working on the program, and Jeanne has been busy coordinating our next public performance at an art opening. There will be a board meeting on Jan. 20.
Momentum is building, and spring is just around the corner!
Maren L. Amdal was Calliope’s director for nearly seven years prior to her move to the West Coast in summer 2012. She recalls many beautiful transitions during her tenure with the Chorus. Here, she shares some of those memories.
“In the beginning, I was met by a small, eager but nervous group of women who were passionate about their organization and its mission. It was a reflection for me of my abilities as a music director; inexperienced but eager, a little nervous but excited and motivated by the commitment and passion of the singers. Throughout my time with Calliope, we all grew as artists, as a musicians, and as people. When we had grown to nearly 40 singers and a regular accompanist, the chorus had a very different nature; When we were a more intimate, a capella group, our parts relied more on one another and tightened our bonds. Everything ebbs and flows. At times, we sung just six or seven, and at times as many as 38 on stage. But, it was never more beautiful then when we were all attending the core mission: promoting social change through song.
“My favorite memories are of people and pieces. All the Sweet Honey in the Rock music we ever sang brings me great joy. I fell in love with the sweeping lines of Gwyneth Walker and programmed three of her pieces into a literature and literacy concert, where I also really enjoyed leading improvisational harmonies especially when we backed Desdamona and her powerful spoken-word pieces. The fun and challenge of singing in different languages was always fulfilling–I especially loved our African and Freedom music program. What is fondly called the Breast Cancer Oratorio, ‘Where I Live’ was one of the most powerful pieces I’ve ever heard, and I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to perform it with such a strong group of singers. And, of course, I love the Calliope ‘core’ literature: ‘Proud by Practicing,’ ‘Everything Possible,’ ‘Singing for our Lives,’ ‘Every Woman,’ ‘Love in the Kitchen,’ ‘Every Long Journey.’ … Not to mention the journal and the birthday song! So many, many beautiful songs. I truly love every one of the many women whom I had the honor to direct. I respect all of these singers, who risked vulnerability and faced their fears by rehearsing and performing with this group. The growth we each experienced through our time with Calliope is what makes this group the strong community it is today. We’ve ebbed and we’ve flowed; we’ve had strong solid performances and have had those where we were less together, more distracted. Our personal lives have changed, too. Health, work and family changes have affected us individually and as a group. But the strong bonds of friendship, of community, are what will bring Calliope through another 35 years, and beyond.
“Every concert I programmed included pieces to make the audience think, to laugh, to cry; songs to challenge singers and give them joy. And at the end of each concert, I always found center in the beautiful Bill Douglas setting of ‘Deep Peace.’
Deep Peace of the running wave to you.
Deep Peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep Peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep Peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep Peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace to you.”
Dear Calliopods present and past,Thank you for your generous donations on Give to the Max Day Thursday. We more than met the $500 challenge grant.Those of you who missed the opportunity Thursday may still donate through GiveMN and hear the fabulous Thank You song.Or, as an unauthorized offer thru November, donate to Calliope directly by check to our PO Box 4474, St Paul 55104. Include the birthdate of a loved-one and we’ll sing the Calliope Birthday Song as a thank you gift.Warmly,Bebe MageeCalliope Board President
Give to the Max Day has become a holiday of philanthropy for Minnesotans, raising millions of dollars for good work across the state via online donations at GiveMN.org.
The day holds special surprises in the form of matching grants, raffles and more. This year Calliope has a generous $500 matching grant you can help us earn!
Spread the Word
We’ll be using funds raised to hire a sign language interpreter for our spring concerts, purchase new music that we are excited to perform and to support our programming throughout the year.
Big plans on Nov. 15? You can now schedule your donation in advance. Just click the scheduling button on the green donation box and choose Nov. 15 for when your transaction should be processed.
Calliope’s Oct. 30 rehearsal was both the annual Halloween costume rehearsal and the annual business meeting. Singers elected the board’s current lineup to serve for another term.
The board tracks the organization’s finances, outlines long-term planning, and thinks through performance logistics.
All chorus members are welcome to attend board meetings, which typically occur once a month on a Sunday.
President: Bebe Magee
Vice-president: Jeanne Cornish
Secretary: Melody Werner
Treasurer: Barbara Beltrand
At-large: Monica Castaldi
At-large: Danielle Cabot
At-large: Chris May
Calliope Women’s Chorus recently welcomed our new music director, Richard Carrick. The board and singers are excited for the opportunity to work with Carrick to advance our mission and the artistry of our performances.
Calliope: You’ve recently relocated to Minnesota from San Francisco. What brings you to our more northern climate?
Richard: I am very excited to be living here in the Twin Cities. While the weather can’t compete with San Francisco, this is a fantastic place to live as a choral musician. My girlfriend is working on her DMA in Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota. We met at the University of Oregon while we were working on our M.M. degrees, and after spending a year in a long distance relationship, I decided to relocate to be closer to her. I appreciated her choice to receive her final degree from the University of Minnesota because it places me in the heart of “Choral Mecca” here in the United States.
Calliope: Can you tell us a bit about your background as a musician?
Richard: I have been involved in music since I was a young child playing violin and saxophone, however it wasn’t until high school that I started to sing. Over the years, my instrumental skills gave way to vocal music. The experience of singing in an ensemble opened a new world of music to me, and I quickly fell in love. I earned my B.A. in Music with an emphasis in voice from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Cal.. I expressed my desire to be a conductor to Dr. Tom Davies, the director of choral activities, and he gave me many opportunities to learn and refine my skills. I am very grateful to him for giving me many hours of private lessons, allowing me to rehearse several pieces each term with his ensembles, and opportunities to conduct in each of our performances. During my undergraduate degree, I held a position as a church choir director, as well as a children’s choir director at Central Coast Children’s Choir.
I then decided to continue my education by studying choral conducting with Dr. Sharon Paul at the University of Oregon. Studying with a talented musician like Dr. Paul is a joy in itself, however her kindness as a human being coupled with her superior teaching ability provided me with tools necessary to be successful as a musician, conductor, and artist. After earning my Masters degree, I was hired at the San Francisco Boys Chorus as the apprentice 1 choir director and music theory instructor. I also have experience as a music educator and a private voice teacher. Now that I am in the Twin Cities, I am a church music director, a part time middle and high school teacher and I sing with the Minnesota Chorale. Being a musician is a joy, and getting to make music with a wide variety of ensembles.
Calliope: Calliope singers are passionate about a wide range of social justice issues that are connected to our feminist core. Which issues are you most passionate about?
Richard: I can’t say that there is one particular issue that I champion more than another, but rather different issues present themselves at different times. Any time a group of people are denied a right based on their age, gender, faith, race, sexual orientation, or worldview, something inside me stirs.
Calliope: What about Calliope encouraged you to apply for the position?
Richard: When I saw opening, I was drawn to it for several reasons. One of those reasons is that there is so much wonderful music available for women’s voices, and the sound that women’s choirs can make is gorgeous. Secondly, as a conductor I enjoy working with a wide variety of ensembles. I learn from each ensemble I direct, and it is my hope that each ensemble learns from me in return. Finally, I feel a responsibility as a musician and as an artist to use our platform to promote beauty, peace, justice, and equality in our world, which is what Calliope stands for. We are given the opportunity to bring about awareness and change to our world by calling attention to social injustices not through violence or discord, but through beauty and song.
Calliope: How would you like to see the chorus grow while you are involved?
Richard: I want to see Calliope become one of the premiere ensembles in the Twin Cities. It is my hope for Calliope to continue to provide a voice for social justice issues, while also reaching a broad audience by providing our community with top quality musical experiences.