Focus on the Scene in the Fifth Year of Women in Music Morning Ex
What began five years ago with a question from a 5th grade student about what she saw as a lack of female representation in music has grown into a powerful annual program highlighting women’s impact in the music industry, which continued despite the added challenges of this school year. Joining Catie Hickey and the Music Department were musicians Katie Ernst, Joanna Schulz, Christie Chiles Twillie and Gaby Vargas to present this year’s program as an homage to women working as visual and dance artists in Chicago.
In this program, Hickey, on the trombone, and company arranged the jazz standard “Gertrude’s Bounce” as a tribute to surrealist painter Gertrude Abercrombie, with Ernst playing bass and providing vocals, Schulz playing horn, Twillie playing piano and Vargas playing flute. Further in the program, Vargas performed a piece dedicated to the Sedgwick Studios, an artist colony at the Sedgwick Brown Line stop. Schulz then performed the music of Florence Price, a Black composer featured in last year’s Morning Ex, along with her group the Rona Horn Quartet. Ernst surveyed the poems of Dorothy Parker, composing a song based on her work “Interiors.” And finally, in the realm of theatre, Twillie spoke about the Maestra organization, which is working to expand opportunities for women in musical theatre.
The great music and stimulating information Hickey, the Music Department and these musicians provided highlight the importance of women “on the scene” and is a timely tribute to art and city life in Chicago.