At the end of August last year, we asked Resonance supporter Mimi Sei if we could publish her beautiful quote in our soon-to-be-printed season brochure. "Of course!" she said. "I just love what I experience at your concerts! Please feel free to share my words."
That conversation doesn't seem so long ago. On Sunday, June 9th we closed our final performance of Intensive Care at the beautiful Cerimon House, and looked back at this season, which produced 4 concerts - 3 of which were sellouts- 5 premieres and countless relationships. It has been quite a year.
In keeping with the celebration of this tenth season and Mimi's sentiment, we thought it would be an interesting exercise to describe ten ways Resonance Ensemble worked to “truly reflect the best of humanity” this year.
THE TOP TEN WAYS RESONANCE ENSEMBLE WORKED TO REFLECT THE BEST OF HUMANITY IN 2018-2019
Programming with Purpose. This year we were awarded a year of monthly meetings with Arts & Culture consultant George Thorn through RACC’s Cultural Leadership Program. Through this work with George we have been given the tools we need to build on the shift in our mission focus, organizational development and long range strategic planning. Consequently, our 2018-19 season started with a strong board of directors, a clear plan, and a season of concerts that intentionally addressed themes highlighting diverse solo and choral voices, new and underrepresented composers, visual and other performing arts, and community partners.
Building Community. Our season opened with our first Giltner House fundraising party! In September a houseful of Resonance supporters enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks and enjoyed special performances by Resonance artists, up close and personal. This kickoff to our tenth season was held at the one-of-a-kind Giltner House, a historic home restored by host John McCullough, who continues the tradition begun by its original owners almost a century ago: supporting arts and culture in our community.
3. Amplifying Voices of Color. In October Resonance featured music that spoke to the lived experiences of racial inequality in the United States at the oldest A.M.E black church in Oregon, Bethel A.M.E.. This concert included the world premiere of Damien Geter’s first movement of An African American Requiem, which we will premiere in 2019-2020 season. (Stay tuned for an upcoming exciting announcement!)
4. Tangible Connection. We’re talking to you, Reverend Terry McCray and Bethel A.M.E. Church, BRAVO Youth Orchestras, Derrick McDuffey and Kingdom Sound, pianists Kira Whiting and David Saffert, Resonance Poet in Residence S. Renee Mitchell, Randall Stuart and Cerimon House, guest artist Maria Karlin, composers Melissa Dunphy, Ben Kinkley, Renee Favand-See, Stacey Phillips, Joan Szymko, and Stephen Caldwell, flutist Sarah Tiedemann, and Portland Percussion Project.
5. Amplifying Women’s Voices. In February Resonance embarked on an exploration of music by women about their experiences as women in our second concert of the season, Women Singing Women. The afternoon included the world premiere of a new commission, LISTEN, from award-winning composer Melissa Dunphy, with texts by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Prof. Anita Hill.
6. Offering Encore Performances of Important Music. When we debuted Women Singing Women in February, the concert was sold out with a substantial waiting list. It was clear to the Resonance Ensemble Board that this music needed a second performance. We were truly delighted to be able to present it a second time in May to yet another sold out crowd.
7. Fully funding our Crowdsourcing Campaign for our First CD! Celebrating our 10th season was the perfect excuse to focus on the launch of our first CD, "LISTEN." Hours in the recording studio created the music, but we needed help with production and were overwhelmed at the response to our ask. It was with great amounts of gratitude that we announced at our final concert that through the support of our Kickstarter campaign, we have produced the music we worked so hard to record.
8. Tackling Challenging Subject Matters. Our final performance of our season reflected on all whose early days of parenthood are different than envisioned -- with babies born early, babies sick, babies lost. Several of us in the Resonance family have experienced these challenges, and experienced them together. Damien Geter offered an incredibly moving world premiere of The Talk: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact with the Police. Long-time Resonance artist Ben Kinkley premiered the song he wrote for his son Gabe on that concert. And we gave the West Coast premiere of composer Stephen Caldwell’s moving work, Pre-Existing Condition, written to honor his son’s birth with a congenital heart defect, setting original texts and poems by ee cummings. We revisited our 2014 commision from Renee Favand-See, Only in Falling, setting poems of Wendell Berry in memory of her beloved infant son Owen.
9. Receiving Awards for Important Work. On June 27, 2019, Artistic Director Katherine FitzGibbon took the stage in Philadelphia to be recognized by Chorus America as she received the Louis Botto Award for Innovative and Entrepreneurial Zeal. Ongoing proof of the national recognition we are receiving for our work.
10. Looking to the Future. The work goes on. As we get ready to announce our 2019-2020 season, we continue to make connections that will allow us to fulfill the work of our mission on a grander scale in the years to come. We are grateful to all of you for your support and participation in Resonance’s mission.