CHICAGO Artemis Singers, Chicago's lesbian feminist chorus, will present "Better Times Will Come" Pride Concert & Dance, Saturday, June 10, at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., Chicago. The concert begins at 7 p.m., followed by the dance, which runs until 11 p.m. Both are accessible.
"This concert highlights our opportunities to create a better world, and better selves in it," said co-creative director, Hilary Marsh, who originated this year's Artemis pride concert theme. "We are featuring courageous music and spoken word pieces that will inspire and empower listeners."
The nonprofit Artemis Singers specializes in performing music written or arranged by women. Artemis will premiere its choral arrangement of folk legend Janis Ian's song, "Better Times Will Come," by member Karen Mooney.
"We are thrilled to bring back Artemis Singers' annual Pride Concert & Dance, a tradition interrupted by the pandemic lockdown," said Marsh. "Even though live performances were put on hold, we maintained community, virtually. In fact, we even added new members!" Da-Mekah Victorian and Jennifer Byrne are co-creative directors, with Marsh, of "Better Times Will Come."
The June 10 program features the world premiere of two Artemis-commissioned pieces:
"Sistas Switching," by Chicago's Regina Harris Baiocchi, composer, author and educator, is a celebration of sisterhood. Artemis commissioned Baiocchi to set her poem, "Sisters Switching," to music. "The more we honor our sisters, the more we drive home this message," said Baiocchi. "Music has that power." She reflected on her childhood as an example. "My four sisters and I enjoyed washing and braiding each other's hair. This regimen became a ritual. It is purifying and uplifting. I never take sisterhood for granted."
"The Weaving," by Artemis Singers members Loraine Edwalds (words) and Laurie Lee Moses (music). "This work is about us as a community and how we are interdependent," said Edwalds. "The piece expresses the joy that individuals find in this 43-year-old chorus." The music was designed to create a sense of hope. "The Weaving celebrates bringing our voices together in Artemis, in many different ways," said Moses. "Each musical part echoes and connects to the others, evoking Edwalds' poetic meditationshow did we get here? It is about our stories, created together, piece by piece, over time."
Artemis will premiere the choral arrangement of Chicago composer Patricia Tyson's "I Wish You Enough," arranged by Allison Downing, chorus member.
"Better Times Will Come" showcases new, original compositions as well as long-time favorites. The audience will hear songs by Holly Near, the Indigo Girls, and Melanie DeMore. A small ensemble group will sing the Indigo Girls classic, "Closer to Fine."
Artemis Singers is committed to programming more music by Black, Indigenous and Women of Color (BIWOC) composers. The song, "Be the Light," by Lea Morris, features lyrics inspired by poet Amanda Gorman's "The Hill We Climb." The program also includes a reading of "The Hill We Climb."
Highlighting the June 10 event will be a presentation by Chicago LGBTQ leader Kim L. Hunt.
Tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for students (with ID). Tickets are also available on a sliding scale suggested donation of $10 - $20. Additional donations are tax deductible. Artemis Singers is a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Tickets are free for children age 12 and younger.
For more information, visit www.artemissingers.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (773) 764-4465. The Irish American Heritage Center has ample onsite free parking. Public transportation is available via CTA # 81 Lawrence bus and CTA Montrose Blue Line L station.
Founded in 1980, Artemis Singers has been a mainstay in lesbian feminist cultural life. The 30-member chorus takes its name from the Greek goddess Artemis, who is a symbol of independence among lesbian feminists.
Artemis Singers is comprised of women with diverse backgrounds who are dedicated to effecting positive change in cultural attitudes toward women and women artists. Performances highlight historical, political and personal events common to women. Artemis Singers is committed to creating an organizational culture that actively fosters equity and inclusivity by continuing to engage in the ongoing work of dismantling racism and white supremacy. The chorus works to increase the visibility of lesbian feminists.