After two successful concerts celebrating local elders in 2016, SageArts is launching two new projects: Carrying the Torch: Songs of Remarkable Women and Female Wisdom: An Intergenerational Exploration. We will be celebrating women in our community—women who have devoted their lives to empowering women, advocating for women’s rights, and blazing new trails for women. It’s the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York State and our new projects are especially important at a time when women’s rights are threatened.
Carrying the Torch is a performance that will celebrate eight extraordinary women from the Hudson Valley in song and theater pieces. Female Wisdom: An Intergenerational Exploration, led by artist Susan Togut, brings together young and elder women in exploring their experiences, concerns, and dreams through a collaborative visual arts project that will serve as a backdrop at the concert. Both projects will culminate at the Carrying the Torch concert at Studley Theater at SUNY New Paltz, October 21, 2017, at 6:30.
The concert is sponsored by the SUNY Music Department and is supported by funding from Arts Mid-Hudson and the Klock Foundation. The intergenerational visual arts project is funded by the Maya Gold Foundation and Stewart’s Shops.
SageArts Concert Director Julie last will direct six musical pieces performed by songwriters Elizabeth Clark, Kelleigh McKenzie, Bonnie Meadow, Vickie Russell, Sarah Perrotta, and Elly Wininger, and Theater Artist Joanna Rotté will direct two theater pieces.
The eight women whose stories will be celebrated in song and theater have made a difference for other women and have taken a stand for feminist values. They are:
Karen Peters, who became the first woman to be Presiding Justice of the Third Department when appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 5, 2012;
Barbara Sarah, founder of the Oncology Support Group for Breast and Ovarian Cancer patients at Benedictine Hospital in Kingston.
Connie Hogarth, a lifetime peace, justice, and environmental activist, and the cofounder and executive director for 23 years (emeriti since 1996) of WESPAC (Westchester People’s Action Coalition) in White Plains, New York;
Manna Jo Greene, a longtime civil rights and environmental activist, who is currently serving as an Ulster County Legislator representing District 19 and is the Environmental Director for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater;
Joanne Steele, a long time women’s rights activist and founder of the publication The Majority Report.
Ruth Fairclothe, a Minister to migrant farmworkers who has been in the forefront of empowering rural communities for decades, having helped found the youth organization UNITY, as well as the Daughters of Sarah, an ecumenical women’s leadership development and support organization.
Janet Mills, a role model in her community as a nurturing woman who has stepped up consistently to help those in need.
Darlene Pfeiffer, an entrepreneur who not only owns multiple Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises, but who founded the Entrepreneurial Studies program at SUNY Ulster.
Please join us on Oct. 21 for this powerful and important event!
We have initiated an ongoing exploratory project with the residents of the Governor Clinton Apartments, a HUD/Section 8 senior housing complex in Kingston. We are working with a group of elders in a Story and Songwriting circle that encourages a deeper dialogue among residents about their lives, and the opportunity to write a song together to share with the whole community. In the fall of 2015, five residents performed a collaborative song at the December Holiday Party. The group is facilitated by songwriter Elly Wininger.
We intend to build on this project to include RUPCO senior housing centers in Kingston and other subsidized senior housing developments. We are currently fundraising to work with a mix of diverse individuals and groups in these centers, and to produce a concert to share these songs with the entire Kingston community.
“I was deeply touched by the SageArts event on Sunday. Too often, elders are relegated to the background in today’s fast-paced world. We have so much to learn from their vast experience and stories. The confluence of music and elders’ stories is a perfect fit.”
– Brinton Baker