From the community

Singing circle Women With Wings celebrates 20th anniversary

Posted Oct. 07, 2013, at 1:17 p.m.
Singing circle Women With Wings celebrates their 20th anniversary this October.
Singing circle Women With Wings celebrates their 20th anniversary this October.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor-based women’s singing circle Women With Wings is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month with a 20th Anniversary Reunion Celebration on Oct. 17, and invites all women who have participated in the singing circle over the years to attend.

Growing from a spiritual community of women created at the First Universalist Church in Bangor in October 1993, Women With Wings is a singing circle that meets weekly in Bangor to create a safe and sacred space for women to explore and nourish their spirits through song and chant. In doing so, the group aims to educate women to the spiritual and personal empowerment of music, specifically through individual and collective voice, using words of personal experience, affirmation, and universal truths of many spiritual traditions.

Women With Wings was founded by world-renowned spiritual leader, musician, composer, and author, Kay Gardner. She led the singers for nine years before her death in August 2002, providing the musical and spiritual support upon which to build the sacred singing circle in Bangor. From the beginning it was clear that the group would not be a traditional women’s chorus but a flexible, fluid singing circle with spiritual healing and expression as its loving intent. The focus was on chants and songs that were accessible to everyone, where each woman was encouraged to find her voice and affirm her personal power, and then blend that power to create an even greater voice.

Founded in this collective spirit, the singing circle continues the tradition today. Each week, anywhere from fifteen to forty women gather in the vestry of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor to sing simple songs and chants from the heart, many of which have been written by members of the circle. The singers follow the tenets of the living oral tradition – no sheet music – with songs flowing spontaneously from one to the next. No skill or particular quality of voice is required. As their website explains, “We sing because we love to. We sing to discover and embrace our selves, and to connect with each other and the world around us.” All women, girls 8 years of age and older, and babes in arms are welcome to participate regardless of musical training.

Over the years, the group has performed in support of many area organizations and festivals, including Spruce Run, NAACP, Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, The Bangor Pride Festival, and MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair. Music Director, Linda Koehler, and Rissa Moore provide a Singing in Sacred Circle workshop each year at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, a tradition begun by Kay Gardner in 1996.

For more information about Women With Wings and the 20th Anniversary Reunion Celebration, contact the group’s Music Director, Linda Koehler, at 207-866-4315 or lindakoehler@earthlink.net, or visit the Women With Wings Website at http://www.womenwithwings.org/.

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