A choral community of women in Eastern Connecticut, Choir Matrix and Women of Concinnity, have been turning out a get-out-the-vote series of video recorded pieces called “Ballads for Ballots.” The pieces, composed by women and using text from women writers and activists, are all about women finding their voice in a nod to the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The videos have been posted every Tuesday for the last seven weeks, and will conclude on Election Day.
Here are brief descriptions of each piece and links to the videos:
Wild Embers Composed by Melissa Dunphy / Text by Nikita Gill
This song was recorded last year by the Women of Concinnity and serves as a perfect introduction to this playlist as the text represents how we are the stories that we thought would never be taught and “it takes a single wild ember to bring a whole wildfire to life.” The accompanying video is an homage to some trailblazing women.
Voice on the Wind by Sarah Quartel
Choir Matrix sang this song for their first season in 2018 and was chosen as the text hints that the voice we hear on the wind is actually our own, empowering us to use it.
Bread and Roses based on the arrangement by Judy Collins
An iconic and historic song often associated with women’s suffrage and union strikes was based on a term coined by labor union leader Rose Schneiderman in 1912: “What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist — the right to life as the rich woman has the right to life, and the sun and music and art… The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.” We adapted the lyrics to be inclusive to all who seek equality and justice. This recording is a combination of Women of Concinnity singing outside and Choir Matrix singing virtually.
All Together We Are Love by Katerina Gimon
We chose this song as a reminder that we are free and possess the capacity to promote change through love (and voting). Women of Concinnity recorded this song outside in an urban environment.
Song of Hope by Susanna Lindmark
The message of the text explores the dichotomy of experience of strife and an opportunity for growth: “In times of darkness, let there be light. In times of blindness, let there be sight.” Our goal was to instill hope that could encourage people to make a plan despite the challenges of voting during a pandemic. This song was recorded virtually by both ensembles.
We Grow Accustomed to the Dark Composed by Linda Kachelmeier / Text by Emily Dickinson
A stunning ode to resilience, this song is a quiet and beautiful representation of the way we learn to maneuver through darkness—whether we succumb to it or adjust our sight. The wind was a persistent presence in the outside recording by Women of Concinnity.
Keep Going by Andrea Ramsey
The title of this song is the message—to continue to endure in the midst of hardship and fear. We know these past months have been a significant struggle for most due to the pandemic, but we can make it through to the election. Choir Matrix recorded this song virtually and will be releasing it on October 27th.
What Happens When a Woman by Alexandra Olsavsky
This song was first championed by the trio, Artemisia, as a “song for the strong women of our world who seek to empower themselves by asking important questions.” We have invited the community to participate in this virtual choir recording as all are welcome. It will be released on Election Day, November 3 .
Sarah Kaufold is the founder and artistic director of the Consonare Choral Community.