Friday, February 16, 1 PM
Saturday, February 17, 1PM
Free & open to the public
Van Nuys High School Auditorium
6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411
Hear Our Voice: A Woman’s Journey, a timely new oratorio written by Van Nuys High School students for the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s Voices Within Oratorio Project, will be premiered by students and members of the Master Chorale on Friday, February 16 and Saturday, February 17 at the school’s auditorium.
Hear Our Voice: A Woman’s Journey explores the history of women’s rights in America through the story of suffragist Sara Bard Field’s 1915 cross-country road trip to deliver a petition of 500,000 signatures to President Woodrow Wilson endorsing women's right to vote. In the oratorio, Field not only travels from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., but through time to encounter women’s rights activists of the past and the present. Women featured include pioneering suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, equal pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the 2009 Fair Pay Act is named, and Nobel Prize laureate and girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai. Bard even has an encounter with Miss America during the pageant protests in 1968.
The performances of Hear Our Voice: A Woman’s Journey are the culmination of the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 20-week Oratorio Project program. The program places three teaching artists, performer Alice Kirwan Murray, lyricist Doug Cooney, and composer David O, in the classroom to work with the students, alongside Van Nuys High School choir teacher Brianne Arevalo. The 95 students, who range from 9th grade through 12th grade, write the libretto and create melodies for each movement of the oratorio. After the oratorio has been written, the students audition for featured roles and are coached vocally to prepare for the performances. Eight LA Master Chorale singers perform the oratorio with the students, providing additional professional guidance.
Pictured: Sara Bard Field, her driver Maria Kindberg, and machinist Ingeborg Kindstedt on their historical 1915 cross-country journey. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.