The seventh annual WinterSongs concert, which supports the Shelter for Help in Emergency, will be held virtually this Saturday, March 27. The event will be livestreamed on YouTube at 5 p.m.
The benefit concert brings together women’s choruses from five schools in Central Virginia, including the University of Virginia, for a stirring program that culminates with all vocalists on stage for the finale. Since its debut in 2015, WinterSongs has raised $25,000 to assist women in crisis in Albemarle and Charlottesville.
“The idea for WinterSongs evolved as a way to support women in our community,” said Craig Jennings, who established and directs the women’s chorus at Burley Middle School and also began the WinterSongs program. “It began during a time when there was deep unease in our community over incidents of violence against women, and our students wanted to do something to help. The idea for the concert was a natural one, and the Shelter was the ideal beneficiary right here in the Charlottesville area,” he said.
Joining the Burley Bearettes this Saturday will be women’s choruses from Albemarle, Charlottesville, and Orange County high schools. The University of Virginia Women's Chorus, under the direction of KaeRenae Mitchell, will also be joining the singers.
There is no admission charge for the concert, but tax-deductible donations to the Shelter for Help in Emergency are encouraged. The Shelter’s mission is to end domestic violence in the community by “providing a safe, supportive, confidential and respectful environment” that empowers survivors of domestic violence. Each year, it provides services to more than 400 adults and children.
Last year, the Shelter noted that the WinterSongs concert provided the equivalent of more than two months of shelter and safety for women in need.
Earlier on Saturday, the Shelter will conduct a series of virtual workshops for the participating vocalists on the theme of “Women as Leaders” in art, civic duty, medicine, science, and many other fields. Guest speakers include Marin Alsop, conductor of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; award winning NYC vocalist Julie Reyburn; Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw; author Anne Marie Pace; science educator and professional streaming media specialist Ceri Riley; and Ontario midwife Nicole Roach. Side by Side of Richmond will also be presenting two sessions.
For the program finale, Jennings has collaborated with the Shelter for Help in Emergency to include a multi-school rendition of Eric Whitacre's “The Seal Lullaby.”
More information about the concert, including a link to donate to the Shelter for Help in Emergency, can be found on the WinterSongs website. The website will also be updated with a link to watch the concert live on YouTube.
CONTACT: Helen Dunn, Legislative and Public Affairs Officer