Monday, February 3, 2014

Spirit of Motherhood

About a month ago one of my “Google Alerts” caught my eye….a piece of Gena Branscombe’s sheet music was for sale on Amazon.  To my surprise, an original publication of “Spirit of Motherhood” was available.  I quickly purchased it.  The music arrived a few days later in beautiful condition. 

In today’s world the words may seem sentimental or even out-of-date and the music may be a little over-the-top dramatic, yet at the time it was composed, poet Louise Driscoll (1875-1957) and Gena Branscombe were giving tribute to the most difficult job in the world – motherhood.

In 1923 the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs held a pageant showcasing the progress women had made in the past 50 years.  “Spirit of Motherhood” was performed by the Women’s Club chorus.  Imagine the progress made for women from 1873-1923.

This was a celebration honoring women’s suffrage, the work their leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone and Susan B. Anthony had organized for many years that culminated in the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.  "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Women could vote.  Mothers could vote for their future and the future of their children and families.

When we judge a piece of historic music by today's standards and what women composers are doing today, maybe we ought to stop, think, look at history and remember what women composers were accomplishing nearly 100 years ago for the rights of women.

A sentimental tribute to motherhood...very fitting even today as it is the spirit of love and acceptance without judgment.  

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