​Ginger Presents ‘Voice of Woman’ Recital

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Kerry Ginger has been singing for most of her life, but it was not until she found herself on the campus of Whitman College, a small, liberal arts school much like Sewanee, that she decided to pursue music professionally.

“At Whitman, there was this wonderful, vibrant music department, and my senior year as I was completing my thesis, I was starting to take as many music classes as I could to make the shift for my masters in opera performance,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to be able to try out a lot of things in college, and though I still love thinking about political theory, my music coursework was the most exciting to me. That led to me getting a masters and a doctorate in voice.”

At 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Guerry Auditorium, Ginger will present “Voice of Woman” as part of Sewanee’s celebration of 50 years of women at the University. Pianist Zachary Zwahlen will accompany her.

“Voice of Woman” is a program of art song and musical theatre celebrating inclusion through dynamic 20th- and 21st-century works by women. Exploring marginalized narratives, pioneering compositional styles and the power of the female voice, the performance culminates in a setting of social activist Margaret Widdemer’s demand for equal access, in “The Women’s Litany.”

“I’ve been at Sewanee since August of last year, and I only learned about 50 years of women during my interview. I had been considering doing a program that raised women’s voices before I even got here, so learning that was a wonderful, serendipitous occasion,” she said. “What better way to celebrate women’s inclusion here than a recital that focuses on the inclusion of the voices that are not always included or listened to.”

The program will feature music by Juliana Hall, Alma Mahler, Judith Cloud, Jocelyn Hagen, Lucy Simon, and more.

“I’m billing the program as a celebration of the power of women’s voices, and I mean that in many senses. Musically, simply the sound and biology of women’s voices has been celebrated throughout the history of singing, but they’ve been left unwelcomed at the table when it comes to creating art and earning recognition as composers. It was important to me to include women composers. The poetry has many women’s perspectives that sometimes are not heard in the greater conversation. Just like women coming onto the campus 50 years ago and building a voice that is heard, I thought I could draw parallel through that process.

Ginger said the importance in having women composers represented is that their voices offer a fresh perspective on an old story.

“One of the programs is of a suffragist describing how women have contributed for so long but have not been recognized. A couple of my favorites are retellings of Greek myths. This helps flip the script. That is why it is so important to have creators who are women at the table,” she said.

This program, offered as part of the commemoration of 50 Years of Women at Sewanee with support from the Sewanee Music Department, is free and open to the public.