On January 19, a determined and resilient tide of women and girls around the world will fill the streets again for the third annual Women’s March. In honor and awe of this gathering, I am organizing The Eve of the March—a concert in the sacred space of Grace Cathedral where we will celebrate women’s voices and the power of community.
We will come together on Friday, January 18, 2019 at 7:30pm in San Francisco in a special event co-hosted by Vajra Voices and the Grace Cathedral/Ghiberti Center for Culture. We are very excited to perform with Kitka in the soaring nave Grace Cathedral. Our combined 14 voices will join with cellist/composer Theresa Wong and multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen to present medieval and modern songs on the divine feminine.
Singing is central to my life as an artist. I embarked upon this effort to honor the 2019 Women’s March by bringing community members together around this spiritually nourishing music. My Kickstarter campaign is essential to creating the experience we envision and to ensuring that as many people as possible can be a part of it. I also want to ensure that each of the 16 artists on the program is adequately compensated for her talents, time, and the heart and soul of her commitment to this musical gathering. Each and all of us involved in this project are inspired by the strength and wisdom inherent in mysticism, and by women’s music and vocal traditions distilled over centuries.
Help us sing in the Women’s March with your support of this project. Thank you!
WHO WE ARE
Karen Clark and Vajra Voices
I have performed and taught medieval to modern music throughout the Bay Area, nationally and in places as far flung as Hong Kong. In 2010, I founded the Bay Area women's vocal ensemble Vajra Voices. We perform medieval to modern works in a "clear, sweet, and strong" singing style inspired by Hildegard von Bingen—a 12th century composer and polymath renowned for her music, scientific and medicinal writing and as a mystic visionary. The Sanskrit word vajra in some Buddhist traditions represents the clarity and strength of the diamond sword known for cutting through delusion. Vajra Voices debuted at the 2010 Berkeley Festival and has performed on a number of concert series around the Bay. In 2014, we embarked on a recording project of Hildegard’s music with instrumentalist Shira Kammen and our debut CD O Eterne Deus was released in 2015. As the founder and director of Vajra Voices, I look to build a music and educational organization that upholds the arts as being essential to our human existence. This concert is the first in a series of Vajra Voices in Sacred Spaces. https://www.vajravoices.com/
Now celebrating its 39th season, Kitka is an American women’s vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe. Each of Kitka’s singers blend a contemporary sensibility with specialized vocal techniques that have been distilled over centuries. Dedicated to developing new audiences for music rooted in Balkan, Slavic, and Caucasian women’s vocal traditions, Kitka also strives to expand the boundaries of folk song as a living and evolving expressive art form. Kitka’s activities include an Oakland-based home series of concerts and vocal workshops, regional, national, and international touring, programs in the schools, recording, publication, and broadcast projects, master artist residencies, commissioning, original works, community service, and adventuresome collaborations. A frequently occurring symbolic word in Balkan women's folk song lyrics, Kitka means "bouquet" in Bulgarian and Macedonian. http://www.kitka.org/
Cellist, composer and vocalist Theresa Wong is active at the intersection of music, experimentation, improvisation and the synergy of multiple disciplines. Bridging sound, movement, theater and visual art, her primary interest lies in finding the potential for transformation for both the artist and receiver alike. Her works include The Unlearning (Tzadik), 21 songs for violin, cello and 2 voices inspired by Goya's Disasters of War etchings, O Sleep, an improvised opera for an 8-piece ensemble exploring the conundrum of sleep and dream life and Venice Is A Fish, a collection of solo songs. She has presented her work internationally and collaborates with many singular artists, including compositions of commissioned works for Splinter Reeds, Vajra Voices and Del Sol string quartet. At the heart of her work is a desire to expand the sonic possibilities of materials and to explore their potential in many modes of performance. https://www.theresawong.org/
Multi-instrumentalist and occasional vocalist Shira Kammen has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music. A member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, and Medieval Strings, she has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, the Balkan group Kitka, the King’s Noyse, the Newberry and Folger Consorts, the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to providing music on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Israel, Morocco, Latvia, Russia and Japan, and on the Colorado, Rogue, Green, Grande Ronde, East Carson and Klamath Rivers. https://shirakammen.com/
Grace Cathedral/Ghiberti Center for Culture
This stunning and iconic church is the third largest Episcopal Cathedral in the nation, located near the peak of one of San Francisco’s “Seven Hills.” The cathedral has provided the setting for hundreds of illustrious musicians, dancers, artists and lecturers and for countless programs and offerings by diverse organizations. Social justice and social outreach (volunteering) are central to the mission of Grace Cathedral. Its mission encompasses civic engagement, climate change, early education, gender and racial justice, senior care and advocacy, and the movement to stop gun violence. The Ghiberti Center for Culture was organized to build on Grace Cathedral’s role as a significant mediating and unifying institution in the Bay Area, without reference to any denominational identity. https://www.gracecathedral.org/ghiberti/
WHAT AND HOW
Your contribution to creating this beautiful event will help us cover a projected budget of $16,200, which includes the following estimated costs:
- Venue: Portion of ticket sales (20%) to Grace Cathedral/Ghiberti Foundation
- Artist Fees (16 performers @ $800 each): $12,800
- Audio & Video Recording: $1,600
- Publicity (design & print postcards, posters): $600
On the revenue side:
- Crowd funding: We are launching this Kickstarter campaign with a goal to raise $5,000 in online donations from people like YOU!
- Ticket sales: We aim to generate an additional $6,000 in ticket sales for the performance (300 or more audience members)
- Individual donors: We have also been approaching a number of Vajra Voices fans and donors for their individual financial support of the project, including possible matching gifts for our Kickstarter campaign.
- Workshop: We are hosting a vocal improv workshop—led by me and Theresa Wong—with all proceeds dedicated to supporting the production costs for this concert. We aim to raise an additional $500+ from workshop participants.
Risks and challenges
Like the concert itself, this campaign is a labor of love. As project director, I am deeply grateful for the bountiful help of others—artists and friends who are contributing their time and expertise, CD’s for donation rewards, and social media support to spread the word about this project. I’m buoyed by their heartfelt encouragement and by the enthusiasm of all participating artists.
Even so…there are risks and challenges!
• Will I be able to manage the balancing act of life as a working artist and teacher while trying to keep project fundraising on pace and prepare for the concert itself?
• Can we reach enough people to generate our ticket sales goal?
• Will we be able to bring together hundreds of both new and familiar audiences to experience this music, for this purpose, in this magnificent space?
• Will we be able to meet our Kickstarter goal???
The challenges of this project, however, traverse familiar territory for me and my fellow artists. We have raised money, successfully met Kickstarter goals, and drawn hundreds of people to our performances—including at Grace Cathedral. We have wide and varied networks of fans and supporters (perhaps including you—thank you!). We’re as nourished by those who appreciate our music as we are by our passion for making it. We are all hopeful and excited—and realistic.
We also trust that the power of this music—of women’s voices rising in songs of celebration—are not lost on you, whether you are a current fan or new to us.
Thank you so much for your donation to THE EVE OF THE MARCH. I hope you will also join us on January 18, as we come together to create an uplifting communal experience and sing in the 2019 Women’s March!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)