Oja Gjeilo: Days of Beauty

The C21 Women's Ensemble performs "Days of Beauty," a setting of the Emily Bronte poem composed by Oja Gjeilo.

Tagore/Alexander: Faith is the Bird

Chicago's C21 Women's Ensemble under the direction of Martha Swisher sings "Faith is the Bird" composed by Elizabeth Alexander, text by Rabindranath Tagore.

Nicole Henderson, Alto Soloist

Mark Thomas: Ave Maris Stella

One of the songs from our public performance at Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL on June 28, 2014. This is Mark Thomas's lovely "Ave Maris Stella," with exquisite solo work by Martina Reese. The director is Martha Swisher, the violinist is Chris Nemeth, and Cassie Makeeff is the pianist.

David N. Childs, "The Moon is Distant from the Sea"

"The Moon is Distant from the Sea," is a conversation, addressed, as are many of Dickinson’s poems, to a "Master" or "Sir" or "Signor." The poem turns upon ambiguity of identity and of gender: "She" is the moon, who is the sea? Whose amber hands? In the end, she addresses her Signor, now male, now with the amber hand, and declares herself "obedient to the least command." And the sea, having come just so far toward the town, has receded to the distance.


It is this very ambiguity that imbues David Child's rendering of the poem with mystery, with poignant pleading. And he musically provides a closure beyond the poem's own closure, a return of the tide along appointed sands.

Gilkyson/Hella Johnson: Requiem

Eliza Gilkyson wrote "Requiem" after the tsunami that struck Asia in 2004, composing it as "an invocation to compassion and as a song of prayer and comfort."

Craig Hella Johnson wrote of his arranging this song:

"When I first heard this profound and pristinely simple song, as a duet beautifully sung by Eliza and her daughter, I 'heard' the invitation for it to be sung communally. I wrote this simple choral arrangement hoping to let the song speak clearly and meaningfully for itself and to give many people an opportunity to experience its universal themes."