Thursday, December 1, 2011

Four Daughters

Many of my blog posts of the past have made mention of Gena Branscombe and John Tenney’s four daughters. There have been pictures of the girls added to the blog entries showing a small slice of their family life. I have not written about the lives and careers of the Tenney girls so now it is time to bring them forward as an important part of Gena’s life as a working mother and musician.

Gena and John were married October 5, 1910 at the First Methodist Church of Picton, Ontario. Shortly thereafter, they made their home in New York City.

Family life had to have been hectic with two working parents. Each day Gena devoted time for her career with the help of a nurse to care for the children. As an accompanist she coached and prepared singers for performance. Meetings with woman composers such as Amy Beach, Harriet Ware and others took place in her piano studio. Gena’s involvement with women’s organizations and her conducting duties took a great deal of her time, yet, there was always time for her daughters. What did she teach them about life, the music world and what did she instill in them as citizens of the world?

Gena and John Tenney’s daughters were treated to poetry written by her and set to music. These published songs of lullabies and fairy wonderment were dedicated to her daughters with various pictures of the girls on the sheet music covers. Piano pieces were composed for her daughters and always written with their pianistic abilities in mind. Tea parties and plays with music were held in the nursery. Daughters and mother were willing actors and musicians!

The Tenney’s welcomed their first child, Gena, on November 22, 1911. When young Gena was approximately two years old, Gena Branscombe sent her publisher Arthur Schmidt a picture of her eldest daughter. Sitting at the piano is young Gena, her head slightly tilted up with a smile and confident look that said she was in charge.

Indeed she was confident and her life’s work was dedicated to music, community organization and her family.

By age twelve, Gena Tenney was a gifted musician with pianistic and compositional talent. She wrote her own imaginative poetry often setting her own words to music. Attending Barnard College as a music major, she was president of the student body and delivered the valedictory address at graduation. Her talent and leadership abilities won her two scholarships to the Royal College of Music in London where she studied conducting and composition. While in residence at the RCM she began work on a symphony and conducted three of her mother’s choral works with a chorus she had organized comprised of her fellow students.

Upon her return to the United States she taught music at the Fieldston School. From 1937 to 1942 she was a member of the music faculty at Barnard College eventually serving as head of the music department.

In 1943, Gena Tenney married Philip Phenix and they had two sons, Roger and Morgan Scott. Her organizational and leadership skills were further put to good use when Gena Phenix added community activism to her life. At Riverside Church in New York City, Gena and Philip founded the church’s Food Pantry. Leading the way for racial harmony in our country, ten bus loads of New York City residents attended the Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC because of Gena Phenix. In retirement Gena and her husband co-founded the Bridgewater, Virginia Food Pantry in the village where they retired.

Gena Tenney Phenix contributed to the world at large with confidence and dignity. Her musical abilities bridged childhood talent to the professional world. She opposed intolerance and strove to take care of the disadvantaged. Along with her sister Vivian, they nursed their beloved mother into her golden years

Every family must boast a tomboy among its daughters. Second daughter Vivian Allison Tenney filled that position. Born on May 17, 1913, she knew from an early age she would become a doctor. While a student at Horace Mann School in New York, Vivian was asked by one of her teachers if she would have had a happier girlhood if her mother had stayed home and not attempted a career! Her reply, “We’ve had so much better times and so much more interest enjoying mother’s work with her.” She was only 11 and never understood why the teacher would ask such a question!

Vivian studied pre-med at Barnard College and became one of the first women to graduate from Cornell Medical School. With a specialty as internist and gynecologist Vivian served three summers as a medical missionary in Tennessee while in training.

Held in Eleanor Roosevelt’s correspondence at President FDR’s home in Hyde Park, NY are letters between Mrs. Roosevelt and Gena Branscombe. In a letter dated July 14, 1942, Gena describes Vivian’s work in Ravenscroft, Tennessee among the mining people whose children were dying from malnutrition, the babies literally starving. The Tenney family sent money and powdered milk to help with their daughter’s work.

Government financial help for the area began arriving to assist in
Vivian’s work at the clinic and for use by the mining residents to improve their gardens, farms and overall health. I can only surmise that after reading Gena’s letter, Mrs. Roosevelt, who was dedicated to the less advantaged, intervened for federal help to Ravenscroft.

Dr. Tenney’s advanced training took place at Philadelphia General Hospital, a one-year residency at the Buffalo (NY) State Cancer Hospital and was one of the first women assistant residents at Massachusetts General. For 36 years Vivian practiced medicine in New York City where she was affiliated with Memorial Hospital now part of Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. As her mother, Gena Branscombe, aged Dr. Tenney became her own personal physician and caregiver.

Vivian’s dedication to the well-fare and health of women and children was exemplary. Understanding that mental health and physical illness were closely connected, Dr. Tenney, who was devoted to her patients, worked with them to aid in their overall well-being. Patients stayed in touch with her for years and her impact on the world was felt by many.

Retiring to Bridgewater, VA where her sister and brother-in-law, Gena and Philip Phenix lived, Dr. Vivian Allison Tenney died on September 13, 1990. Strength of character, loving family member, challenging the establishment to become a doctor and leaving an impact on the world as a committed physician to the less fortunate were the essence of her being.

Born third was Betty who entered the world on June 30, 1916. In a letter to her publisher, Arthur Schmidt, Gena Branscombe described Betty as her most energetic child with a strong, humorous personality and sunny disposition.

In late 1918 the Tenney family was taken ill by the influenza outbreak that crossed the country. By January 1919 husband John and young Gena were finally recuperating with Vivian and Betty still quite ill. Gena Branscombe was mother, wife and nurse to her four sick charges. On Sunday evening, January 23rd, Betty took a turn for the worse and passed away. The family gathered together in the nursery to hold a private funeral service on Monday evening and on Tuesday morning Dr. Charles Jefferson of the Broadway Tabernacle Church conducted another family service.

With her father-in-law accompanying her, Gena traveled to Methuen, MA by train taking the little casket for interment in the Tenney family plot. The loss of such a young vibrant child was tragic for the entire family and especially Gena who was pregnant with her fourth child.

The loss of Betty was felt for the remainder of Gena’s life. Her award winning oratorio, Pilgrims of Destiny, has a dedication that reads:

“And to all weaker and unknown ones, who have kept the faith, dying joyously for the sake of a dream, and to my own little pilgrim, Betty, I dedicate this work.”

When I had the privilege of meeting Gena and Philip Phenix in 2000, there on their living room wall was a small oil portrait of her sister, Betty.  She recalled vividly the death of her younger sister, her mother and father’s grief and the impact this little child girl had on their family. 

Fourth daughter Beatrice Tenney was born on June 4, 1919.  She attended the Fieldston School and Barnard College where she was president of her freshman and junior class.  From an early age Beatrice’s serious health issues plagued until her death.  In 1947 she married Edward Brokaw, a film producer.  They resided in California where Beatrice worked as a magazine editor.  Marital difficulties caused her return to New York City in June 1954. 

She found work with the Family Service Society but died suddenly of heart failure on October 27, 1954.  Throughout her life, Beatrice was surrounded by her parents and sisters supporting her through her physical ailments. 

Four daughters of a working mother, woman composer and musician, Gena Branscombe endured the loss of two daughters during her lifetime.  All four girls – beautiful, heart-felt, strong, independent and brought up to make the world a better place.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Women Composers Festival of Hartford

An angry graduate student ….a composition major at the Hartt School of Music……the year 2001. What could possibly anger someone who is studying music and composing at a fine music school?

Not one women composer was represented on the school’s concert programs whether it be chamber music, choral, piano, orchestra or instrumental …..not one woman composer’s music was being performed and that was unfair and wrong. Anger… how to turn that anger into action and create a showcase for women composers.

Meet Heather Seaton who declared, “I will go on this journey to found a women composers’ festival.” With not a penny in her pocket to pay performers, print programs, for publicity or even to hire someone to manage her festival, Heather set forth over the next nine years growing her Women Composers Festival of Hartford into a celebration honoring music of women of all ages. The underdog, unknown and accomplished composers, senior citizens and a high school student now would have a venue for a performance of their music. Her festival would be all inclusive.

So what has this to do with Gena Branscombe? A women composers festival is a perfect place for my one-woman show. Having read about Heather’s festival, we submitted our publicity packet asking for consideration. Months passed, then one day came an e-mail from Heather expressing interest in my show and asking if Gena had written any orchestra and instrumental works! More on this….first a bit of the history of the festival.

Starting with six graduate student women composers, Heather and her colleagues gathered that first year during March, Women’s History Month, to host a 12-hour event that started at 10AM and ended at 10 PM. Together they presented lectures and concerts showcasing women’s music, then to end the day, the student composers at Hartt School of Music sat in a room and played their own music for one another. There was a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. The overall attendance at that first festival was poor but the talent and effort proved Heather’s journey for knowledge and equality of women’s music was set on track.

For the first seven years of the Women Composers Festival of Hartford all work was done by volunteers, for the love of promoting women’s music. Heather and colleagues approached the music school, asking them to include women’s music on recital programs, in classroom lectures, as well as attending the festival’s concerts and having the students write reports of the Festival’s presentations for credit. What an asset this festival is for a major school of music! Faculty member and voice teacher Susan Mardinly, a proponent of composer Barbara Strozzi, became the mentor and advisor for the festival. Each year she stood by Heather and her colleagues as they worked to develop a festival equal to their dreams.

More importantly, the festival grew from the one-day event, to multi-day, then into three weeks of concerts, workshops, and discussions. From student women composers at the college, the festival expanded to include local Connecticut composers, contemporary and historical women nationwide.

For the March 2008 festival, Heather, for the first time, was awarded grant money from the University of Hartford’s Women’s Education and Leadership Fund to help expand her festival. That year it grew to be international. Women composers Sylvia Goldstein, Sebastiania Ierna of Italy, Adriana Figueroa MaƱas – an Argentinian mother of 2 and a self-taught composer, and Hasu Patel, lecturer of Indian music and sitar artist were featured. Performances of their music were offered, lectures and discussions given. According to Heather, not one of these women was a diva, all were willing to help where needed and they were grateful for the opportunity of being at the festival.

Heather and I met in New York City in late Fall 2008. Her curiosity about Gena Branscombe’s instrumental and orchestral works led us to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. In the Special Collections department where Gena’s music is held, we were able to peruse and study all of her instrumental scores. Heather’s vision was to expand the festival’s reach from instrumental, piano, choral and vocal works to now include orchestral works. One small problem, Gena’s orchestral works were in manuscript and would need to be entered into a computer for accurate parts and a conducting score. Copies of selected scores were made and Heather was off to Hartford to plead with music students to enter the scores into FINALE. Plead she did and students came forward, willing to help her.

The 2009 Women Composers Festival of Hartford featured two days of Gena Branscombe’s music….a mini Gena festival! On Saturday, March 7th, Martin and I performed Life! Love! Song! A Visit with Gena Branscombe twice. In attendance at the matinee was Roger Phenix, Gena Branscombe’s grandson and at the evening performance was my dear friend and colleague, Laurine Elkins Marlow, who surprised all of us by flying in from Texas. After each performance we had a “talk back” where audience members were able to ask questions of us. My favorite question came from grandson, Roger. “How is it that you never had the opportunity to meet my grandmother, yet you have captured her completely?”

On Sunday, March 8th the entire afternoon’s concert was devoted to a Gena Branscombe Tribute featuring the Festival Chorus and the first Festival Orchestra, made up of students from the Hartt School of Music. “American Suite” for French Horn and piano, “Procession” from The Quebec Suite for trumpet, piano and organ, “Maples” from Youth of the World for chorus and orchestra; and “Just in the Hush Before the Dawn,” a song with orchestra, were all performed. Three of the students who had edited and transcribed Gena’s music from her manuscripts had the opportunity to conduct their score. Heather conducted the orchestra and myself in the song.

It is probable that well over 50 years have passed since any of these pieces have been performed. Sitting in the audience one heard Gena Branscombe’s instrumental, orchestral and choral music come alive in the 21st century. I know she would have been thrilled to hear her distinctly early 20th century sound that harkens back to clear and romantic melodic lines. Her own lush harmonies and scoring of instrumental colors made for ear catching textures. She would have been thrilled!

Gena’s grandson, Roger Phenix, spoke to the audience after the concert expressing his thanks to Heather, the Festival and all the performers for bringing his grandmother’s music alive once again. Laurine Elkins Marlow spoke about her years working with Gena, getting to know her and the impact her life had on the world. Now Gena’s music was being heard as she intended it to be.

The 2009 Women Composers Festival of Hartford marked Heather’s final year producing the festival. She had lived her dream of promoting women composers of all levels. Her contribution to the Hartt School of Music and the music world at large is invaluable. In her years as leader of the festival, she put forth over 100 women composers and had their works performed and recorded for posterity. Think about it….100 composers……100 women composers of all levels of accomplishment. Heather put her anger to good use turning it into positive productive results. At the end of nine years running the festival, Heather was receiving requests from women composers in China to have their works considered for performance and there was a request from Croatia. Do a search on Google for Women Composer Festivals and the first name that appears is Hartford….Heather’s festival. From a dream to reality…..from local to international….Heather made it work.

In 2010 Heather turned over the management of the festival to Daniel Morel and it is still going strong.

Thank you Heather for making your dream come alive and for helping women past and present have a venue for their music. Now Heather's time was going to be devoted to her loving husband, Scot, her dear son, Gavin, and composing. Thank you Heather!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Zeta Tau Alpha

Honorary inductions into Greek fraternities and sororities are bestowed upon celebrities and outstanding people within their respective fields. There are professional fraternities and college sororities or fraternities whose admiration of a prospective candidate offer membership.

During her lifetime three Greek organizations granted membership to Gena Branscombe.

Honored as a leading women composer, conductor and pianist of her day her earliest initiation came in 1925 as one of the first Honorary Members of Delta Omicron International Music Fraternity, a professional women’s fraternity.

The international women's social, cultural and service organization, Beta Sigma Phi, initiated Gena as an honorary member in 1952.

At their 1941 convention held in Edgewater Gulf, Mississippi, Zeta Tau Alpha initiated Gena as a Grand Chapter Initiate/National Honorary Member. This fraternity was founded in 1898 at the Virginia State Female Normal School. Still going strong today, they are advocates for breast cancer awareness through the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Recently a 1952 edition of the Zeta Tau Alpha Song Book came into my possession. The song book is dedicated to Gena Branscombe, distinguished American Woman Composer. On the title page she is listed as one of three people on the music committee.
In the foreword she is cited as having “edited every song published, composing accompaniments, revising words and music, harmonizing and arranging, and in all ways making the songs more singable and more useful for chapter singing.”

Obviously Miss Branscombe did not take these honorary fraternity memberships lightly and dedicated herself to being of service to them.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Love in a Life

Wm. H. R. Drake, elegantly written on the top right hand corner of “Love in a Life” and “A Lute of Jade,” song cycles by Gena Branscombe.

Published in 1907 by G. Schirmer of New York, “Love in a Life,” is six song settings selected from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets From the Portuguese” poetry. This very song cycle drew me to Miss Branscombe’s songs for the third song in the collection is “How Do I Love Thee?” and the one I performed on a Valentine’s Day recital in Florida. Now I own the original published work.

Though I have no idea what year Mr. Wm H. R. Drake purchased the music, it cost him a total of $1.25. Softly stamped on the title page is Chandler-Ebel Music Company, 22 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, New York.

Owning my second original publication of the “A Lute of Jade,” I now have one for Soprano/Tenor and one for Alto/Bass. Soft green lettering on a brown cover held together with the maroon cord. Mr. Drake paid $1.00 for the song cycle.

I have no idea who Wm. H. R. Drake is, where he lived (possibly Brooklyn) or why he purchased these two song cycles, yet I am happy he did. We have no way of knowing the journey this music has taken in the past 100 years and how it came to be for sale by a person in Ohio. I am thankful to the people, who over the past century, took special care with this music.  They touched, held, played, sang and performed it with tenderness.  Now it is home with me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

John Ferguson Tenney

A husband in the early 1900’s …..the social mores of the day seem to tell us that he would have been head of the family, the sole bread winner, what he said was the word of the household, and family life revolved around him at his beck and call. Household duties such as cleaning, meals, entertaining and the raising of children would have been his wife’s duties.

Imagine my surprise when I first met and interviewed Gena Tenney Phenix and her husband, Phillip, and asked Mr. Phenix what his father-in-law was like. His answer was straightforward, “My father–in-law was a saint.” Not quite expecting that answer, I hesitated before asking him to explain himself. Mr. Phenix proceeded to inform me that his father-in-law, John Ferguson Tenney, Gena Branscombe’s husband, was a man ahead of his time and one who fiercely believed his wife’s career was as important as his own. Gena and John’s marriage was one of equality.

So who was John Ferguson Tenney and how 100 years ago did he become an advocate for women’s equality, a hands-on father who took an active part in his four daughters’ lives and a husband who promoted his wife’s career, all the while working full-time and maintaining an active life as a volunteer social worker in the New York City community?

John Ferguson Tenney was born October 9, 1880 in Methuen, Massachusetts to George Washington Tenney and Alzadia Maria Tourtellot Tenney. His sister, Helen, was his only sibling.

Methuen seemed to be the center of the New England industrial revolution with textile, hat and shoe factories alongside the Spicket River where there was waterpower and plentiful labor.
George Washington Tenney and his brother Daniel built a four-story brick factory where they manufactured shoes. Their brothers John and Charles built a hat factory. These businesses held close ties to the New York City fashion industry and the brothers maintained offices in the city.

John Ferguson Tenney graduated in 1898 from the prestigious Philips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale in 1902 and earned his LL.B. in 1905 from the Harvard Law School. Massachusetts and Washington State granted made him a Member of the Bar. From 1905 to 1909 John practiced law in Seattle where he was elected Deacon of the Pilgrim Congregational Church.

At a Christmas party in 1908, hosted by the President of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, John Ferguson Tenney was introduced to Gena Branscombe, Head of the Piano Department at the college. He pursued her for several months and in the spring of 1909 proposed marriage.

A 29 year old lawyer proposes to a 28 year old pianist and composer who had already arranged for one year of music studies in Germany. Just months after their engagement and meeting his parents in Methuen, Gena departed for Europe. We can surmise that John’s understanding and respect of her career priorities was clear. Gena understood that he was willing to await her return to get married. This reflects a maturity and depth of love.

While Gena was in Germany, John’s intentions were to remain in Seattle practicing law. That plan would change when the wife of the President of Whitman College offered advice ….. for two such strong people, they must live in a major cultural center for Gena’s professional advancement! John packed his bags and left for New York City to take a position in his uncle’s hat factory business. In my awe of this, I fill in the date 1909….over 100 years ago.

Referring back to my interview with Philip Phenix, I inquired why his father-in-law did not practice law in New York City. The answer was unclear. Either John Tenney did not want to do all that was necessary to prepare for the New York State Bar exam, he was not fulfilled in his law career or he was willing to return to his family’s business and ties. In John’s personal family genealogy book he said of his career change, “Gave up law to accept position to learn commission hat business. Opening made by death of cousin George Tenney, my dearly loved cousin.”

For two decades John worked for the C. H. Tenney company, one of the world’s largest dealers in hats.

Gena Branscombe and John Tenney were married October 5, 1910 in Picton, Ontario, Canada. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Douglaston, Queens in New York City and later made their home on West 82nd Street in Manhattan. They were members of the Broadway Tabernacle Church where John was elected Deacon in 1930 and served in that capacity until his death.

The Branscombe-Tenney family welcomed four daughters, Gena born 1911, Vivian - 1913, Betty - 1916 and Beatrice - 1919. Eldest daughter Gena, during my first meeting with her in 2001, told me that her father was an active and loving part of his daughters’ lives.

Juggling two working parents’ schedules and the care of four daughters could not have been easy. Daily agendas may have been written out, babysitters hired and at times, chaos must have ruled. Quiet time for composing was necessary for his wife, particularly on the weekends. To help out, he took his daughters to Central Park for play time. He changed diapers, made meals for the family and he helped everyone get ready for church on Sundays.

The death of daughter Betty during the influenza epidemic of 1919 deeply affected John and Gena’s lives. Together and with their two eldest daughters, they mourned the loss of their beloved child. In the summer of 1919 after the birth of their fourth daughter, Beatrice, Gena Branscombe began work on her largest work, her oratorio, Pilgrims of Destiny, based on the pilgrims voyage to the new world.
The oratorio was a family venture with John serving as editorial assistant for the libretto, researching historical accuracy of ships’ logs, typing the manuscript and baby sitting.

The oratorio was dedicated to daughter Betty.

As much as his wife was a leader of women in music, John Ferguson Tenney had a leadership role at the Broadway Tabernacle Church where he sought out bright young adults who would actively participate in social services for the community. During World War II, he organized a Servicemen’s Welcome Center at the Church. The New York Times reported that the Center hosted more than 50,000 service men and women, providing educational and recreational programs. He gave countless hours tirelessly working for our soldiers.

Mr. Tenney left the hat industry in 1927 and went to work as an underwriter for the New York Insurance Company. Making sales calls, he would recruit new members for his wife’s choral group and promote the attendance at musical events. His constant support of Gena’s professional career included financial backing for the musical organizations she founded.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 1949, his health deteriorated rapidly and by August he fell seriously ill. He died September 5th. His funeral was held at the Broadway Tabernacle Church.

From the many pictures in this blog, John Ferguson Tenney was a handsome man and one who was filled with spirit and love. He was a devout Christian dedicating his life to his church through social services. He was a family man, devoted father and loving husband. The support of his wife’s career was as selfless and generous as one could imagine.

In a letter to a friend written in 1924, John wrote….

“….we shall sometime, somewhere be surprised to find that God has already provided for us all, and more than we can imagine. Life is continuous, and, to me, death is merely the releasing of the spirit from the human body. After death the spirit is as alive as it was before, and it continues to live, to grow, to experience, and to develop. I have joy in thinking of being useful there, and adding to wisdom, and love, and light. Such a belief makes this mortal life more understandable, and purposeful….makes life worth living, right.”

To me, that paragraph sums up the essence of John Ferguson Tenney.

My thanks to Gena and Philip Phenix for my 2001 visit with them and for answering my multitude of questions about Gena Branscombe and her husband John Ferguson Tenney.   Also, many thanks to Roger Phenix, grandson of Gena and John, for his constant help with information, details and pictures of his grandparents.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sometimes you get just plain lucky!

Sometimes in my business, you get just plain lucky! Such was the case in mid 2007 when Spessard Management was contacted about the possibility of performing my one woman show for the Festival of Women in the Arts in Elmira, NY. How did the Festival find us? What internet search resulted in their contacting us? We never did find out and that’s OK because the experience was wonderful.

Generally artist management companies research performing opportunities, make calls, send e-mails and then publicity packets. Phone conversations ensue and hopefully you get a booking.

Will Wickham, conductor of the Cantata Singers of Elmira, had a genius idea to create the Festival of Women in the Arts. Brilliant….an absolutely brilliant idea. The e-mail from Will appeared without us first contacting him and lucky is how we felt.

E-mail exchanges began about our fees and the Festival applying for grant money. Before too long, the Festival of Women in the Arts had the funding for me and Martin to appear in the inaugural season of this Festival during Women’s History Month, March 2008. Honored we were.

What is and was genius on Mr. Wickham’s part was that the Festival included women in the arts for the entire Elmira area. Will is a delightful person, musician and composer. Mild mannered and humor filled, he is committed to his chorus and the arts in the Elmira region.

There was a photographic exhibit, crafts display, readings by women authors, dance concerts, women’s singing groups, and the Cantata Singers under the direction of Will performed an entire concert devoted to women composers including pieces by Gena Branscombe. The community was involved or invited to experience the creativity of local women. Genius!

Will saw to the details of our performance by providing an entry way, a well tuned grand piano, chairs, coffee table, desk and lighting. Everything was in its place ready for our performance. A true professional in the music business!

The audience was receptive and warm….seeming to sit on the edge of their seats waiting for the next song or dramatic moment. I was pleased that my sister-in-law and brother-in-law were able to attend as well as friends from Rochester, NY.

One of the benefits of doing performances such as the Festival of Women in the Arts is the people you meet and who become friends. Martin and I soon learned that Will’s right hand person was Susan Gilman Nagle who organized, wrote grants, did radio interviews and much more. Where would a fledgling organization be without dedicated people like Susan who give of their time and energy?

After our concert we went out to dinner at Horigan’s Tavern where we learned what a black and tan was, enjoyed great food and the company of Susan, her husband, Stephen, and others. A fun, laugh filled time was had by all and friendships made.

During these past few years of economic hard times, the Festival of Women in the Arts has continued under Will Wickham and Susan Nagle’s guidance. How fortunate for the Elmira area. I wish you years and years of continued performances and exhibitions advancing the cause of creative women.

A Festival of Women in the Arts, warm and charming people whose enthusiasm for the arts and particularly women in the arts is contagious and this leaves us the performers with a cherished memory.