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PHOTO CAPTION: “The Women Who Risked Everything for Freedom” concert program featuring soprano Malinda Haslett, Scott Wheatley on piano, and a slideshow of women composers is a collaboration between Franco-American Collection at University of Southern Maine and the Franco Center and starts at 6 p.m. Friday, March 1. Admission is free but RSVP your seat at 207-689-2000 or www.francocenter.org/shows. Submitted photo. 

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The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine, in collaboration with the Franco Center, the University of Southern Maine’s Osher School of Music, Bates College Department of Music and with research support from Bates special collections will host “Celebrating French Music, the History Makers, the History Changers” at the 46 Cedar Street, Lewiston venue at 6 p.m. Friday, March 1. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. There is no admission fee but seats must be reserved.  The music will begin at 6, with a reception to follow at 7:15.  

We are happy to announce our first collaborative program between Bates and USM as leaders in arts scholarship. The program, “Celebrating French Music, the History Makers, the History Changers,” highlights the lives and music and struggle for freedom of French women who have been forgotten in history.  In honor of those who passed away after the tragedy in Lewiston this October, the program will conclude with Fauré’s Requiem. In collaboration, friends, colleagues, and students from Bates College and University of Southern Maine will come together to sing the Requiem as a musical memorial.  

Dr. Malinda Haslett, soprano, credits research partners at the Bates archives and the Franco-American Collection for assistance with her work on underrepresented composers, in particular, French Jewish resistance composer Claude Arrieu, the subject of her USM Trustee Professorship. Arrieu lived in Paris during the Occupation, where she was a founding member of the Front National des Musiciens, a resistance network whose purpose was to save artists and art from annihilation while simultaneously preserving French culture and lifting morale. The FNM programmed public concerts of ‘degenerate’ composers, illegally funneled music to artists in hiding, and published an underground newspaper instructing anti-Vichy behavior. When the war ended, their efforts went unrecognized, and their music fell into obscurity. After the war, Dame Alice Esty, a Maine native, soprano, and philanthropist, commissioned Arrieu to write for her.  Esty lived in Lewiston, and for this reason Arrieu’s manuscripts written for Esty lie in the archival collection at Bates College. This evening we honor Arrieu, Esty, and Maine’s contribution to the classical vocal music canon, as well as to showcase the work of current young vocal artists here in Maine.  

Originally from Evian, France, Joëlle Morris is a singer, choral conductor, music educator and voice teacher living in central Maine. Recognized for her warm mezzo voice and her ability to sparkle on stage, she is admired for her versatility. Joëlle has performed in an array of opera and musical theater shows, her favorite roles include Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Cherubino in La Nozze di Figaro, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! and Aldonza in Man of la Mancha. An active recitalist, Joëlle has sung across the United States, France and Switzerland. Since relocating to Maine, Joëlle has appeared with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the Mozart Mentor Orchestra and is regularly a featured artist at Colby College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, the Franco Center, Waterville Opera House, Nordica Auditorium, the Colby Jazz Faculty Ensemble, King’s Chapel in Boston and the Early Music Festival in Portland. She is also a co-founding member of the Amethyst Chamber Ensemble and the Resinosa Ensemble which specialized in 21st century and commissioned works. She now serves as the Director of Choir, and teaches Applied Voice lessons, Intro to Music and Musicianship Labs at Bates College. 

The USM Voice Program shines in its championing of underrepresented composers, and tonight we celebrate these trailblazing women through song. Osher School of Music seniors Josephine Lawrence, Bella StCyr, and Caroline Wood present music of women pioneers:  Astrud Gilberto, Thea Musgrave, and Francisca ”Chiquinha” Gonzaga. As UROP (Undergraduate Research Award Opportunity) award winners, each soprano has focused her research on a more complete view of music history, highlighting the work of undervalued women in music. Tonight you hear the musical fruits of their labor and how each student has found meaning in correcting the gender pendulum in music. 

Conductor duties will be shared by Scott Wheatley (USM) and Joelle Morris (Bates). Scott Wheatley, baritone, is a native of Kansas. He has performed with the Kansas City Lyric Opera, New York City Opera, Whitewater Opera, Bronx Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Northeast, Connecticut Grand Opera, Opera Maine, the Ashlawn Summer Festival companies, the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. Scott is on the voice faculty at University of Southern Maine, where he also  serves as a collaborative pianist. With soprano Dr. Malinda Haslett, he has presented recitals throughout Europe promoting the vocal literature of under-represented women composers, especially American composers. He is also the Assistant Director for the  Oratorio Chorale, a large, award-winning community chorus in Southern Maine.  

Support for this concert program comes from Maine Community Bank; Maine Advisory Associates; a Friend; TempleShalomAuburn.org; UMaine Judaic Studies; DentalLace.com; and UMaine Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Season Underwriter is Maple Way Dental Care; Media Sponsors are Sun Journal, Turner Publishing, Uncle Andy’s, Bennett Radio Group. 

The Franco Center is at 46 Cedar St., Lewiston. Parking is available in the mill lot. The building is handicap accessible on the Lincoln St. Alley side.  

 

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