In memoriam and with gratitude, Windsong honors Karen Weaver, its artistic director 2005 - early 2016.
Karen passed away on April 21, 2016. She will be remembered with love and appreciation.
A detailed herstory of Windsong
WINDSINGERS CARRY IT ON AND SING WITH FULL HEARTS!
Windsong boasts a long and full Herstory of making beautiful music, and promoting feminism and social justice, since 1979. First known as the Cleveland Women’s Chorus, the group changed names several times—The Moral Chorale, The Haggettes, and Windsong Womyn’s Ensemble—before settling on Windsong, Cleveland’s Feminist Chorus, in 1996. Our numbers have fluctuated over the years, with as few as a half-dozen hardy souls keeping the chorus alive, to as many as forty dedicated singers in 2015. Windsong rests solidly on the dedication of our founding mothers and early leaders—June Adams, Betsy Reeves, Lisa Rainsong, Gayle Pilat, Penny Guy, Nan Gerald, Gayle Crawford, Ellen Catlin, Diane Hobus, Michelle Colopy, Sharon Marrell, Julie “Maze” Henderson, Argerie Vasilakes—and our beloved former Artistic Director, Karen Weaver, who made us what we are today.
Windsong is a proud member of the Sister Singers Network, an organization founded in 1981 to nurture the spirit, energy, and diversity of the women’s choral movement. We have participated in SSN choral festivals in Grand Rapids, San Diego, and Chicago, and in Champaign-Urbana in 2014 at the 11th Sister Singers Network National Women’s Choral Festival. SSN gathers every four years to share workshops, performances, and fellowship. As many as 400 singers, including members of more than two dozen choruses from across North America, plus individual singers, composers, and directors, attended the 2014 festival to sing together and perform for each other, culminating in a mass chorus event on the last night. Windsong rocked the house at the University of Illinois under the direction of Karen Weaver in a set of our own and in one of the mass chorus performances. We are so proud that Karen was selected as a conductor for mass chorus pieces in three consecutive festivals. We are looking forward to the next festival in 2018, which we are co-hosting with the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus!
Windsong has collaborated with Artemis Singers of Chicago and SheWho of Philadelphia. We’ve shared the stage with the Columbus Women’s Chorus, both here in Cleveland and in Columbus. We have enjoyed being guest performers with the North Coast Men’s Chorus (NCMC), and hosted them in our concerts at Lakewood Presbyterian Church and The Church of the Covenant in University Circle. In August 2014, Windsong participated in “The Big Cleveland Sing” at the State Theatre during the International Gay Games in Cleveland. Performing individual sets along with Good Company (Karen Weaver’s mixed chorus), the NCMC, and the 2014 Gay Games Festival Chorus, we joined in a mass chorus finale of over 150 voices from all over the globe.
Our collective voice has been heard in the larger community through participation in the Womyn’s Variety Show, the Holiday Circle Fest in University Circle, and the Cleveland Pride festivals. Windsong has performed at the Lakewood Public Library and at Barnes and Noble at Crocker Park, and we sang the National Anthem at the Veterans Administration Employee Appreciation Multicultural Celebration in August 2016.
In the fall of 2013, we released our first commercial CD, Season of Light: Celebrating holiday traditions sacred and secular, a recording of our December 2012 holiday concert at The Church of the Covenant.
The past couple of years have been transformative for Windsong. Our last performances under the direction of Karen Weaver were in the 2015–2016 season. Heather Russell became our assistant director in 2015 and our Acting Artistic Director for our spring concert in May. We mourned Karen Weaver as she lost her life to lung cancer in April, and we sang with more than a dozen former Windies at her memorial service on April 30, 2016, under the direction of Jan C. Snow. Heather Russell became our Artistic Director, and we dedicated our May 22 concert to Karen Weaver’s memory. To honor her focus on education and musicianship, we are planning to award an annual scholarship to a female high school senior who plans to major in music in college.
Last fall, we were so happy to sing at the opening festivities of A Place for Us, a new LGBT-friendly housing community on Cleveland’s West Side—and the lifelong dream of Windsong member Linda Krasienko, who worked for years with many other dedicated dreamers to make it a reality.
Now, as ever, Windsong continues to grow as a chorus and an organization dedicated to promoting feminism and social change. With Heather Russell as our Artistic Director, we are presented three concerts at Lakewood Presbyterian Church during the 2016–2017 season. Our May concert, "The Heart and Soul of Windsong," presented a bouquet of songs evoking the fondest memories and deepest connections of our singers. In July 2017, we performed at River's Edge as part of "Circle the City with Love," organized by the Sisters of St. Joseph. As opportunities arise, we will continue to share our songs and our message in local events that align with our mission.
Thank you for your continued support of Windsong!