Seeds of Hope: A Feminist Requiem – for community voices and soloists

In memory of Sue Stone

Edinburgh Premiere

Derby Premiere

Patchwork

FAQs

Edinburgh Premiere

Saturday September 10th and Sunday September 11th, 2022

Reid Memorial Church, Edinburgh

This September, Penny Stone will be premiering her Feminist Requiem in honour of her awesome mum, Sue Stone, as well as the many thousands of women whose shoulders we all stand upon.

You are invited to participate in a full day workshop involving lots of singing, as well as space for the sharing of memories as we bring into the room all the amazing women we carry with us. [Saturday 10th September]

There will also be a rehearsal and a concert on the afternoon/evening of Sunday 11th September.


You are welcome to come to the workshop and be part of the chorus during this performance. You are also welcome to just come and enjoy the concert on the Sunday (early) evening.

Whilst we are honouring the women who have come before us, this is not a women-only event – all are welcome, feminism is for everyone! Singing is for everyone. Grief and Joy are for everyone.

To save a place, email wisewomenrequiem@gmail.com

More info:

Singing Workshop – Saturday 10th September – 9.30am-4pm. (There will also be a rehearsal on the Sunday afternoon before the concert on September 11th.)

Concert – Sunday 11th September 7-8.30pm.

The Singing Workshop will be charged on a sliding scale from £25-£45 on a pay what you can basis.

The Concert will becharged on a sliding scale from £6-£12 on a pay what you can basis.

If these costs are still too high for you to participate, please do get in touch and I will make free tickets available for you.

The Hall and church are both wheelchair accessible – the Hall via the side gate into the peace garden. Whilst there is a ramp, the gates are really heavy so do let me know if you need help and I can make sure they’re both fully open and/or there’s someone outside to help.

Please note that both the workshop and the concert are not women only events, they are open to all – feminism is for everyone!

For more information or to book tickets for the singing workshop or concert, please email wisewomenrequiem@gmail.com. We will take cash or cheque payment on the day or email bank details if you’d rather pay electronically. If at all possible, please do book tickets ahead so that we know how many programmes to print/chairs to set up etc.  

Please do share this invitation with others who might be interested.

Derby Premiere

Workshop

There will be an open community singing workshop on the evening of Friday March 3rd, and the morning of Saturday March 4th. The concert will take place in the evening of March 4th 2023. There will be a wee zoom rehearsal for singers ahead of time to be able to participate from afar. More details to follow soon…

Saturday March 4th, 2023

Derby Cathedral, Derby

FAQs

What is a Requiem?

The musical form of ‘Requiem’ has its roots in the Catholic Requiem Mass, a service to send a person who has died on their way. Many of the great musical requiems use the Latin mass texts as their basis, but during the last century the musical form has become adopted and adapted to have meaning beyond this one belief system. At their core, all requiems in some way remember the dead and give comfort to those still living. Many include the presumption of an afterlife, but not all.

What is a Feminist Requiem?

When my mum died, I knew that I would write a requiem for her. She deserved to be remembered by something really special, as well as by the many people whose lives she touched. But as time went on, it didn’t quite feel right. I studied the forms of musical and religious requiems and looked at how a requiem might make space for people who believe in God(s) and those who believe in other things. But to really honour who my mum was, I realised the requiem had to be truly feminist. So I set about analysing what that might look like, and it became clear that the requiem would need to include the voices of women throughout history and across the world. For me, as it was for my mum, feminism is about uplifting the voices of those who we don’t hear from often enough. In many ways it is about listening.

This requiem is about giving us space (and permission) to grieve individually and collectively. In Scotland and in England we aren’t good at speaking about death. We will all die, and we all will lose people close to us. So having more space to grieve in a community space, especially as we come out of the pandemic, seems to me a useful offering.

The music is written to hold us, to surround and soothe us, giving a safe space to feel our individual feelings, together.

Is it religious?

No. This requiem is a broadly secular requiem that I hope has space to hold whatever spiritual space people inhabit, regardless of belief.

Who is it for?


Anyone. We have all lost people who we have loved. Grief is like a loose thread on a woolly jumper – when we start to pull on it we realise it’s all connected to the next one. No-one is grieving for just one person, but for a web of people and shared experiences, good and bad.

What will happen at the concert?

There will be a mixture of soloist and choral pieces to listen to, and a few wee bits that you can join in with if you’d like to. In the middle there will be space to light a candle to remember someone as reflective singing is happening.

What if I cry?

We all need to cry. It’s a good thing to allow yourself to do.

Why community voices?

Over the 10 years I’ve been sporadically working on this piece, I spent some time writing beautiful and complex music. And whilst there is a great pleasure in that, I came to the conclusion that what would make this piece most feminist is if the music was truly accessible, and so there are many parts that anyone could sing. So much of it is sort of built of lego-like blocks, short repeated harmonic motifs that connect together.

Can I hear it?

There are currently two premieres planned, one in Edinburgh and one in Derby. I am in the process of seeking funding to take the piece to different communities, so watch this space. It’s quite an involved event, needing a small number of soloists, a semichorus who rehearse ahead of time, and a weekend workshop and concert where anyone can come and learn some of the songs. We haven’t recorded any bits yet, but once we’ve done a few performances over the next couple of years I’ll make the songs available to share in different settings beyond the Requiem itself. There are plenty of shorter songs that will share well in community song settings.

Can I still contribute to the Patchwork?

Yes. We have had over 160 patches sent in, remembering many wonderful women, and these have been made into panels that will be the backdrop of the concert. However, at the workshops and concerts we will have a cloth and safety pins available so that anyone who wants to add a patch can do so, and when we have enough for a row or a new panel we will sew them together.

Whose voices are included in the requiem?

Writers & poets:

Al-Khansa, c. 575 , Arabian Peninsular

Hildegard von Bingen, 1098-1179, Germany

Lalleshwari (Lal Ded) 1320-1392, Kashmir

Julian of Norwich, b. 1342, England

Dorothy Wordsworth, 1771-1855, Cumbria

Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941, England

Josephine Baker, 1906-1975, Missouri & Paris

Frida Kahlo, 1907-1954, Mexico

Maya Angelou, 1928-2014, USA

Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir,  1942-2016, Iceland

Sue Stone, 1947-2012, Cumbria & Derbyshire

Kathy Galloway, 1952, Glasgow

Lily Greenan, 1959, Edinburgh

Linguists, translators and lyrical collaborators:  

Syeda Sadaf Anwar, Urdu

Margaret Bennett, Gaelic

Minaxi Champaneri, Hindi and Kashmiri

Alvina Chibhamu, Shona

Jamie Dawes-Hughes, Welsh

Kristín Eiríksdóttir, Icelandic

Hala George, Arabic

Guðrún Jónsdóttir, Icelandic

Eileen Karmy, Spanish

Sylvia Kralova, Slovak

Simone Lamont-Black, German

Nana Mzhavanadze, Georgian

Boatema Ofori-Frimpong, Twi

Jane Palfrey, Latin

Francoise Pinteaux-Jones, French

Elsebeth Sylvest Lassen, Danish

Wise Women Requiem – A Patchwork

We hope to be able to accept more patches in due course, but for the time being you can see the three panels (168 patches) here.

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