A New Artemisia Production, Coming 2021
Who controls the narrative? What stories are we missing?
What would happen in a world where those stories were told?
She Was, coming in 2021, revives past and little-known stories of women, and celebrates the storytellers among us today who are keeping their legacies and influences alive. These stories are sung to life with a mix of folkloric vocal traditions, and arranged/composed music created by our group and four newly commissioned works by living female composers: Kyong Mee Choi, Hope Littwin, Rochelle Rice, Jess Godwin, and Jori Pilcher. To creatively accentuate the power of voice in multiple respects, we will pair our group’s live music performance with elements of sound design using recorded interviews, archival footage, and devised writing. We will blend this with a theatrical and staged narrative, featuring animations from Anne Beal, in a visceral inquiry into our past, present, and future.
A short feature from our 3Arts campaign, fully funded on 12/11/20
COMMUNITY STORY SUBMISSIONS
SUBMIT YOUR STORY
We need your voice!
Become a part of the “She Was” show by sending us one (or more!) voice messages answering one, or more, of the following prompts:
1. State the name of a womxn who had influence on your life, but is no longer around today.
[Example: “Gladys Bentley.” or "I didn't know her name."]
2. Provide a short sentence describing her, beginning with “She Was.”
[Example: “She was my mother.” or “She was a huge influence on the women in my community.” or “She was strong!”]
3. Tell us about her in your own words!
*In submitting your recording, you give consent to Artemisia to use your submission here via text, voice and/or image, in part or in whole, in a published musical work, in all print and electronic media (including the Internet), in theatrical media and/or in communications for educational and awareness.
Rochelle Rice (Composer):
Walking the fine line between jazz, folk, and soul, Rochelle Rice, lives in between the cracks of hard and fast genre rules. As a singer steeped in the music of Lizz Wright and Joni Mitchell, Rice's sound leans heavily on solid lyrics, jazz-influenced harmony, and soaring vocals. Her debut EP, Wonder, released in 2016, (featuring the likes of Brent Birckhead and Mark G Meadows) established her as a singer's singer with beautiful original songs, a sizzling quartet, and lush strings.
Rice's versatility and unique skills opened the door for a long-standing stint with world-renowned, social justice-centered women's group, Sweet Honey In The Rock. Steeped in the rich legacy of the storied group, Rice released her roots music tinged single, “Mountains”, an autobiographical account of the artist’s struggle with anxiety and depression. Carrying the torch of Washington DC's indelible sound, the song features Christie Dashiell, Micah Robinson, and Shacara Rogers. Never one to shy away from self-examination, Rice continues to bare the innermost of herself, making for refined, freeing, and honest music.
Hope Littwin (Composer):
Hope Littwin is currently studying Music Composition with Joan La Barbara and Julia Wolfe at NYU Steindhardt. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago’s Music Composition for the Screen Graduate program in 2018, and has composed for Alma Dance Theater, CUBE Ensemble, Gaudete Brass, Walkabout Theater and for various films, musicals and animations in Chicago, New York, and Mumbai.
Hope grew up in Seattle and Miami performing with Miami's New International Ballet Company and New World School of The Arts’ Musical Theater Ensemble and graduated from Chicago College of Music in 2013, with a double major in classical voice and music composition. She was raised in the theater, acting and singing in plays and musicals and as an apprentice dancer with New Century Ballet Company before she picked up guitar and began writing songs. From songs, Hope moved to arranging music for acapella groups, composing and engineering electronic music, and composing music for chamber ensembles and orchestras.
Jess Godwin (Composer):
Jess Godwin’s videos featuring her original songs have been viewed more than 2 million times over the past five years. She writes songs with people, for people and about people, and most of them tell a story about determination, resilience, and strength through vulnerability. Through her work touring the globe with The Major Lift – helping 40,000 students in 80 communities around the world combat shame through songwriting, one classroom at a time – she found that most students wanted to talk about the tough stuff. Consistently encouraging students of all ages to use their own words and ideas to find the positive spin in their songs AND their lives helped Jess find her way to her own Major Lift. Now she’s deeply passionate about helping you find yours.
Jess is a proud recipient of a 2018 $25,000 3Arts Award for her videos and music. Her original music has been licensed to Dance Moms multiple times and her voice has been heard on two commercial spots as the Daisy Sour Cream jingle singer. Over the past two years, Jess and her partner, Gabe, have been writing love songs for couples with their custom wedding song business, With This Song. As an actress, she has been onstage with Court Theatre, The Getty Villa, The Chicago Theatre, The Auditorium Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Writers Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Porchlight Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, The O’Neill Center, Double Door…but her favorite places to play have been school auditoriums and cafeterias.
Kyong Mee Choi (Composer):
Kyong Mee Choi, composer, organist, painter, and visual artist, received several prestigious awards and grants including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Robert Helps Prize, Aaron Copland Award, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, First prize of ASCAP/SEAMUS Award, Second prize at VI Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo, Honorary Mentions from Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges, Musica Nova, Society of Electroacoustic Music of Czech Republic, Luigi Russolo International Competition, and Destellos Competition.
She was a Finalist of the Contest for the International Contemporary Music Contest "Citta' di Udine and Concurso Internacional de Composicai eletroacoustica in Brazil among others. Her music was published at CIMESP (São Paulo, Brazil), SCI, EMS, ERM media, SEAMUS, and Détonants Voyages (Studio Forum, France). Ravello records published her multimedia opera, THE ETERNAL TAO, which was supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and Roosevelt University. Aucourant Records published her CD, SORI, featuring her eight compositions for solo instrument and electronics. The project was supported by the IAS Artist Project Grant from the Illinois Arts Council. She is an Associate Professor of Music Composition at Roosevelt University in Chicago where she teaches composition and electro-acoustic music.
She received a D.M.A. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a M.M. in Music Composition at Georgia State University and a B.S. in chemistry and science education at Ewha Womans University and studied Korean literature in a master’s program at Seoul National University in South Korea.
Jori Pilcher (Composer):
Jori A. Pilcher is a multi-dimensional activist, artist, and rapper-singer-songwriter born in Chicago during November of 2000. The artist currently attends a private liberal arts college in Galesburg, studying in the fields of art and social science. Pilcher is gender non-conforming and uses they/them/she/her pronouns.
Anne Beal (Animation Artist):
Anne Beal is an animation artist, filmmaker, and arts educator. Her animation has been featured at international festivals and exhibitions including the Annecy International Animation Festival, London International Animation Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, Brazil’s Festival of Electronic Language, and dozens more.
In her work she explores the concepts of Play, female empowerment, and mental health using experimental animation and sound. She often works in watercolors and acrylics, painting on paper and in books. In her teaching practice, she encourages students to develop their voice using experimentation. Anne believes jumping into new mediums and software courageously, learning to mute one’s inner editor, and focusing on problem-solving, is a wonderful way to learn.
Anne taught animation in the Film/Video/New Media/Animation department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) from 2014-2017. She’s an alumnus of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and recipient of the John A. Chironna scholarship for creative excellence. She has been been awarded artist residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo in support of her current animated short film, ‘This Is Not For You’ examining the default male voice in medical books through paint and puppets. She currently teaches animation and sound at the School of Visual Arts.
Alongside her other projects, Anne is developing a watercolor animation and jazz orchestra collaboration with composer, Christopher Zuar, called ‘Tonal Conversations.’ The first iteration of the piece premiered at 150 Media Stream, a sculptural video art installation in downtown Chicago, from October 2018 through January 2019. The project will premiere its second volume in 2021.
This project was made possible by an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and a grant from 3Arts and donors to 3AP (3Arts Project).