Throughout history, women have worked hard to make an impact on society. Society has not always been kind to them, but finding a creative outlet through which they can make a difference has been empowering to many women. Fortunately, times are changing. The differences that women are making in society are now being recognized and praised. And the impact that many women artists have made – both in the past and present – have left a strong impression on me. Music – and choral music specifically – would not be what it is today if it were not for the contributions of truly talented female composers and arrangers.
Still, We Rise
I recently had the opportunity to write for our friends over at Inside Wink on the subject of “The Power of the Feminine”. In writing and researching for this article, I had the privilege of taking a closer look at a piece by Dr. Rosephanye Powell, Still I Rise. This beautiful piece – published by Gentry Publications – is an absolutely breathtaking look at empowerment.
The lyrics talk about rising up when you are beaten down. “Though I have been wounded, aching, heart full of pain… still I rise, yes, still I rise…” The song is composed for SSAA and it incorporates some powerful solo lines. When I first heard this song – with the theme of female empowerment on my mind – I thought about that old Rosie the Riveter poster from WWII: “We Can Do It!” That’s the mentality of a warrior: rising back up when you have been beaten down.
Rosephanye Powell is a wonderful example of powerful women in the arts. She has been hailed as one of America’s premier women composers of choral music. Dr. Powell currently serves as a Professor of Voice and a Charles Barkley Endowed professor at Auburn University in Alabama. Each one of her compositions is a stirring reminder of humanity, and they place in people’s hearts a spirit of praise to be lifted up to our Lord. Each year she is commissioned to compose for prestigious university, professional, community and church choirs, as well as secondary school choruses. Dr. Powell’s music is published by many other distinguished publishers, including Gentry Publications, H.T. FitzSimons Company, and Hinshaw Music, which are all part of the Fred Bock Publishing Group.
Fred Bock Publishing Group is also proud to publish choral series by talented female conductors from around the world. Elana Sharkova is one of those incredibly gifted composers. Within her series, she often chooses pieces written and composed by female composers. One of those pieces, Caverns in the Clouds, is written by Shayla Blake and Julie Meyers and published by National Music Publishers. This beautiful selection is written for SSA voicing and – as the name suggests – possesses an ethereal, dream-like quality that is truly captivating to hear. Caverns in the Clouds would be a perfect choice for middle-school and high-school level choirs and above. It is a performance piece that will certainly leave a strong impression on audiences and leave them humming the tune for a long while to come.
Fred Bock Publishing Group is proud of all the women composers in their catalog. Strong, talented women like Patricia Mock, Faye Lopez, Jan Sanborn, and many more have brought a unique, exciting flair to music that we are proud to publish.
I have been greatly inspired by the pieces that I have worked with and heard by the female composers within our catalog. Women are on the rise – a rise that has been anticipated for a long time. The creative spirits of many talented women are sparking a glorious movement of meaningful art. It has affected me deeply, as I know it has affected other people as well. In the years and generations to come, women will continue to make strides and prove their worth. God has placed a special blessing on women, and when we choose to turn that blessing into something that glorifies Him, we will be blessed even more.