February 9, 2018
Gearing up for an exciting year of creativity! Gallery Voices had our first rehearsal of music for Opera Lafayette's next performance in DC and New York, Buxtehude is coming up on Tuesday, March 22, and I'm getting really excited about making you forget the world's problems for a couple of hours during our April: The Foolest Month concert of comic and novelty songs on Sunday, April 22. (Dorothy Parker, anyone??) And, spurred on by friends at a party, I'm working on some Poulenc songs from my bucket list for a recital in May (details tba). See you at a performance soon!

December 23, 2017
I did a couple of posts about musical geniusesas a guest blogger for Catholic University Libraries. Joseph Spence and Flory Jagoda, together at last...

December 11, 2017
The recording I made with Jeremy Filsell in August, funded by Mu Phi Epsilon's Brena Hazzard Voice Scholarship, is now in the editing process. We hope to have a master in early 2018 year that we can shop out to a label and get it out there! So far, I am so happy with how it's sounding. When you're listening to your own work and it makes you cry, you know you've gotten something right. (I mean, I was crying because it sounded exactly like I wanted, not because it was awful. There are a few of those moments, but we won't talk about them.) I can't wait to share it!


A recital of American art songs featuring women, love, and winged creatures
with Jeremy Filsell on piano
Preview recital for upcoming CD release!
Tuesday, August 15, 12:10 p.m.
Church of the Epiphany (Tuesday Concert Series)
1317 G St NW, Washington, DC  20005

Free with a $10 donation requested

Giving back a little...

External to the recital but anchored around it,* I have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the American Bird Conservancy, a 4-star charity. Most of you know that I’m a little cuckoo for our feathered friends. I’m not affiliated with this organization in any way except that I’m a big fan of their work for birds through advocacy, conservation, and education. These efforts, which have had many successes over more than 20 years, are vital in a world where human “progress” can mean destruction of birds’ habitats. I have seen it myself in the ever-dwindling stand of trees in NE Washington where I have been observing birds on my lunch breaks for 15 years. Let’s hear it for an organization doing active habitat-building instead of active habitat destruction like most humans do!

This fundraising campaign will end August 20, the 159th anniversary of Darwin’s publication of his theory of evolution through natural selection. If you want to see some of the wackiest bird adaptations that are a result of female selection, you need look no further than the first half minute of this astounding video about Birds of Paradise.
My fundraising goal of $2040 is symbolic. I'm singing a song called "Meadowlarks" by the composer Amy Beach, a musical setting of the poem by Ina Coolbrith, California's first poet laureate. It is estimated that by the year 2040, half of the Eastern meadowlarks in the United States will disappear without active habitat preservation and creation. Their Western counterpart, whose haunting song Amy Beach recalls in her music, are not far behind, as grasslands are threatened by development, pesticides, and monoculture farming. America’s iconic birds are worth protecting! As stated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “the Western Meadowlark is the state bird of six states: Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. Only the Northern Cardinal is a more popular civic symbol, edging out the meadowlark by one state.”

As a thank-you gift to anyone who donates in any amount, I will send recordings (choose digital download or a CD-R) of me and Jeremy performing three pieces by Debussy, Schubert, and Bach. Donate here!

If you are unable to donate (or even if you can), you can also be a huge help: I would appreciate your sharing this little pitch with your social network(s), since I’m not on social media for reasons of mental health. I also encourage you to get on ABC’s email list, where their bird of the week will brighten your dreary inbox and help you learn about these creatures which, as far as we know, are unique to our planet. You can also sign up for advocacy alerts. 

*Fine print: pitching the recital as a fundraiser is a little too much for the church’s accounting system, for which as a former Senior Warden I have a great deal of respect! I will, however, donate all of the money from the cash box to the ABC after I receive the check from the church, which takes out 20% for administration and licensing fees.

70+ mile round trip biking and brewery trip on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail from Vienna to Purcellville, Virginia

Rachel with binocs, Virginia, copyright 2017 James Rogers
Rachel with binocs, California, copyright 2015 James Rogers
Rachel with binocs, Virginia, copyright 2017 James Rogers
Exciting news!

I have received the Brena Hazzard Voice Scholarship from the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation! This coveted award is helping me fund a CD (which will be available in other media) featuring some unrecorded and under-recorded works by American composers who I think deserve a little more respect. The working title is “Making My Flight." I’m thrilled to have Jeremy Filsell collaborating on piano.

We're recording songs by Amy Beach, Gian Carlo Menotti, Richard Hundley, Virgil Thomson, and Winifred Hyson, a composer based in Maryland who is a fellow Mu Phi Epsilon member. The texts of the songs are by Marianne Moore, Ina Coolbrith, James Purdy, Gertrude Stein, and Jean Starr Untermeyer, among others.