Women in the arts will be celebrated by California State University, Stanislaus, later this month during the three-day Hildegard Festival.
Aptly held during Women’s History Month and named for Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century German mystic, composer and writer, the festival will honor female contributions and achievements in music, the visual arts, theater, poetry, animation, dance and literature.
“Women in the arts are often underrepresented, and many are freelance artists who are not associated with institutions that support and promote their work,” music department chairwoman and festival organizer Deborah Kavasch said in an email interview. “We wish to give women in the arts the opportunity to celebrate and share their creative gifts with each other and with the community at large.”
Events – held mainly on the Turlock university campus, with some at the Carnegie Arts Center and Turlock Community Theatre – include evening concerts and daytime lectures, panel discussions and performances with presenters and participants from across the U.S. and Canada.
Previous Hildegard Festivals have been held at the university in 1999 and in 2003.
“The idea for the festival originally came from emeritus (faculty member) Virginia Covert Colla, who was to host a women’s chorus festival in March 1999 and wanted to expand it to a women in the arts festival,” Kavasch said. The plan was to hold the event every four years, but the 2007 event fell victim to budget cuts and the economy.
Now resurrected, an opening evening concert March 26 at Turlock Community Theatre, 1574 E. Canal Drive, features university performing ensembles conducted by faculty. The event also celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Turlock Concert Association.
A March 27 evening performance at the Bernell and Flora Snider Music Recital Hall on the university campus features Beverly Serra-Brooks in her one-woman show, “Love and Denial: the Legacy of Clara Schumann.” It showcases the life and music of the 19th-century pianist who championed German romantic music. A Saturday evening concert at the campus recital hall features vocal and instrumental chamber music by female composers.
Afternoon offerings March 28 will be presented at the Carnegie Arts Center, 250 N. Broadway Ave., and include storyteller Lee-Ellen Marvin, who will share a traditional Russian fairy tale and discuss her experiences using storytelling for suicide prevention education, especially in hospital programs.
Other March 28 sessions at the Carnegie include a lecture by Julie Feves about the artistic accomplishments of her mother, Betty Feves, a mid-20th-century vanguard fine arts ceramicist and sculptor.
The afternoon ends at the Carnegie with a 4 p.m. reading of Maya Angelou poetry by Modesto’s Sankofa Theater Company, with a reception to follow.
The Carnegie Arts Center also currently is exhibiting “Inspiring Women: An Exhibit of Art and Letters” by the National League of American Pen Women’s Modesto branch in conjunction with the festival. The exhibit is in the lobby gallery at the center through June 7 and features works by regional artists and writers that inspire poetry.
Kavasch hopes the public will turn out to “observe and share in the creative output and energy of these extraordinarily talented women.”
“I am excited to see us once again bring together a diverse group of artists to celebrate the creative work of women in the arts,” Kavasch said in a news release, “and to provide opportunities for the participants to engage one another while gaining familiarity with one another’s creative work.”
▪ March 26 sessions include a composition masterclass by Julie Feves and Jonathan Stehny and a live painting “paint-out” in the area between the campus art building and theater lobby.
A March 26 evening Gala Concert at Turlock Community Theatre includes works by festival composers Jennifer Bellor, Marlene Hajdu and Jeannie Pool.
▪ March 27 sessions include presentations, a cross-disciplinary look at gender discrimination in the arts, discussions, music, poetry, visual arts and panels including a workshop from Hildegard specialist Janet Youngdahl and a video of a Hildegard-based concert from Finland.
The evening of March 27 features Serra-Brooks’ “Love and Denial,” a multimedia historical blend of recital and theater.
▪ March 28 sessions include an art display, panels and more at Stanislaus State, then moves to the Carnegie for “The Storyteller and the Listener” from storyteller Marvin and more discussions before a 4 p.m. presentation from Sankofa Theater Company.
The evening of March 28, a chamber music concert will be held back at the university’s Snider Recital Hall.
Hildegard Festival of Women in the Arts
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 26 with 7:30 p.m. gala concert; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 27 with 7:30 p.m. show; 9:30 to 11: 30 a.m., 1 to 6 p.m. March 28 with 7:30 p.m. concert
WHERE: Most events at California State University, Stanislaus, One University Circle, Turlock
TICKETS: Daytime events free; $8-12 for March 26 concert, March 27 show and evening concert