Vox Femina celebrates St. Paddy with songs spun of gold
Vox Femina Los Angeles is a women’s choral organization that is otherwise rather difficult to define. On a mission to sing great choral music and promote their beautifully high ideals (“to create a world that affirms the worth and dignity of every person”) in the process, the ensemble treats genre boundaries as if they are mere vaporous wisps, yet their programs and performances signify a shared, deep respect for the creators of their chosen repertoire, and for the traditions behind the songs.
Much of this duality results, we suspect, from the leadership of founder and artistic director Iris Levine, a hidden gem in her own right. Her local stature and national recognition as a fine choral conductor, although firmly established, do not fully express the respect earned from her colleagues, or the clear-eyed devotion of so many of the amateurs and the professionals who have worked with her. We’ve heard “she’s the best I’ve worked with!” and similar comments from our members on a regular basis, and the members of Vox make it clear that “Iris is the glue”, inspiring them to work hard and stick to it.
Professor of Music and head of the music department at Cal Poly Pomona, Dr. Levine is also the longtime director of the Sanctuary Choir at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air, and is regularly involved in diverse projects locally and beyond. Levine started Vox Femina with Stacey L. Poston in 1997, their first performance a sort of spin-off to the highly touted Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA). But from the start, it was clear they’d tapped a nerve, and a new and vibrant group was born. The organization turns 15 this year, and over the years has grown a strong support system through firm commitment from its members and board, grants, an impressive array of guest artists, fostering of new works, creative marketing, and an unusual bond with their fully engaged audience. Vox Femina has become an innovative model for arts orgs, in an era when struggling is the norm.
This weekend’s performance lauds the multicultural nature of the British Isles, including repertoire ranging from Irish folk songs sung in Gaelic, to all-female arrangements of Shakespeare texts and traditional classical works. The concert will feature singer-composer Moira Smiley, quite the genre-bender herself, who has her own avid following as a solo artist and when appearing with her all-girl harmony ensemble, VOCO.
Vox Femina presents
From Shakespeare to Shamrocks
featuring Moira Smiley
Saturday, March 17, 8pm
Colburn School of the Performing Arts
200 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles (Downtown)
Tickets $22.50 to $30
Click here to purchase online, or call (805) 493-3306
|Originally published 3/16/12 in Next 7 — Vocal events through 3/22/12|