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13 December 2006

In It For The Long Haul....

Margie at the Willard Labyrinth My Friends -
I'm happy to report I have made a lovely soft landing here in early December riding on the last bits of intense energy of my summer-fall concert tour. And what a spectacular tour it was. Energizing, inspiring, filled with hope, new friends and colleagues and fascinating opportunities to share my music.

After returning from Scotland in May, I had the deep pleasure of performing the entire PORTAL CD live at a community labyrinth walk at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco facilitated by Lauren Artress, a dear friend and visionary author who has played a significant role in reintroducing the labyrinth into the contemporary consciousness. The fine photographer Cindy Pavlinac and her partner, musician Martin Gregory, hung white silk panels from the balcony and we projected the PORTAL DVD throughout the evening. I can't begin to describe how it felt to "drive" a 9 ft. Steinway grand piano alongside a hundred and fifty people as they walked this ancient path of personal transformation and community-building while watching the shifting imagery of Scotland's Callanish Stones on the silk panels I am currently talking to the Grace After Hours organizers about reprising this musical/visual encounter with the labyrinth sometime in spring 2007. Watch for a date on my Concerts Page.

Festival Logos Throughout the summer I had the opportunity to sing at a cluster of festivals that thrilled me with their powerful affirmations of women's voices and women's music. In June I shared the stage with Rhiannon and Melanie DeMore at the yearly national convening of women's choral groups, SisterSingers Festival in San Diego. I sang at the resurgent National Women's Music Festival (oldest on-going Women's Music festival 1974-2006!) and the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (with an extraordinary complexity of women's music of all genres and several generations on display).

As summer came to a close I was honored to be invited to sing at New York City's Women's Equality Day celebration, an extraordinary gathering of veteran feminists honoring Bella Abzug, Coretta Scott King and Betty Freidan, organized by Women's Rights/Human Rights, the brain child of Sidney Abbott (co-writer of "Sappho Was A Right-On Woman") and Joan Nixon (tireless women's music organizer/cheerleader). I'll tell you, singing into the faces of Muriel Fox (co-founder of NOW) and Kate Millett (feminist author, theorist, organizer) among others, filled me with pride and great hope for the sustaining power of feminism. The room was filled with women in their 70s and 80s who are fully engaged in progressive feminist politics - and have been for decades. Truly these are women in it for the "Long Haul" - which of course, we all sang together.

Meg, Margie and Terry September rolled around and I spent a week on an Olivia cruise to Alaska with my pal, Barbara Austin and old friends, Meg Christian and Terry Grant of Goldenrod among hundreds of fans of women's music "back in the day." Meg and I sang in each other's sets which flipped everyone out - including us. Singing "Beautiful Soul" and "Sweet Friend of Mine" right into each other's faces was gripping. The music still has its ways, and commanded a special kind of attention from both of us. I just loved it.

A very dear concert in Kansas City produced by Linda Wilson flowed into an afternoon music/ silent auction event for Equal Rights Advocates - and then... I kept hearing: "Say YES!" so I did.

I made a return trip to Scotland from Oct. 7-29. To Iona, Skye and Lewis. I'll write more on that another time. My journey was still, deeply compelling and much needed.

Margie at Inverewe Gardens in Scotland I did the world's quickest turnaround arriving home in Berkeley, CA and was back on the East Coast by Nov. 2 for a stunning experience at the Bon Secours Retreat Center. I was invited by Sister Rose Marie to bring "another modality of prayerful experience" to the Sisters of Bon Secours' annual retreat. My concert was attended by a truly strikingmixture of women from the DC area who had known my work for decades, sisters with whom I had shared the morning retreat session and a number of people who were invited by the sisters and had no immediate energetic connexion with either of the first two groups. The evolution of that audience from individuals to a community was just extraordinary to feel. It's my very favorite work - the weaving and blending - and the audience and I certainly took a wonderful ride together...fueled by the music. Joyous, joyous!

Meg Wheatley's Women's Leadership Revival Tour came to San Francisco November and I was happy to play a couple of songs in her evening's exploration of women's empowerment in the 21st century which also includedthehigh-energy presence of Anne Firth Murray, co-founderof Global Fund for Women.

Book Cover: Feminists Who Changed America 1963-75 My final performance took place in New York City in the middle of a spirited celebration for the publication of Barbara Love's "Feminists Who Changed America 1963-75" at Barnard College. This book, edited by the co-author of "Sappho Was A Right-On Woman," is the first significant effort to document key feminists who ignited the second wave women's movement. I was thrilled to be included in the book as well as in the celebration of its release. This is what I said by way of thanks and this is what I've been thinking about since...
Book Cover: Sappho Was A Right-On Woman
"Each of us has made her own particular journey into this room - as fully formed, unapologetic, blazing veteran feminists and allies with a lifelong commitment to women's equality. My journey began with three sentences written by two visionary women - Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love - who wrote the book "Sappho Was A Right-On Woman." Had I not read these sentences in 1972, I would not be a feminist singer-songwriter today.

Here's what utterly transformed my consciousness and set me on a road I am still travelling today...

'To transcend her circumstances, she (the lesbian feminist) may defy the reality of the present and purposely live openly as though the present were the future. By envisioning and demonstrating a new reality for and with lesbians (and I would say all women!), she also creates it. An activist lives "as if" she were acceptable...She creates her own future simply by living it.'

Boo Price (Montclair Women's Cultural Arts Club) and I are going to co-produce a book party honoring Barbara and California feminists who are included in the book.
See my Concerts Page for details.

For all of you who shared this year with me - at one event or another - thank you for an extraordinary experience. For those I missed, I hope to see you somewhere within our rainbow in 2007!

Onward and Outward!
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