Welcome to the new Rachel Rising web site and blog!
The poetry cycle Rachel Rising, penned by yours truly, Rebekkah Hilgraves, has been in existence since 1997.
Here’s the history (actually, there are several): in addition to being a nerd, I’m also a highly trained classical (opera etc.) singer. I also have a few life experiences under my belt, alas. Some years ago, after surviving a particularly precarious (long story) ordeal, I wrote this poetry cycle. Because I’m a singer, I have been trying to find a composer to set it in a song cycle for me to sing. Over the years I have asked three, all of whom expressed interest but could not for whatever reason get involved at the time (and one of them wanted a $10,000 commission for it!!). Recently I have been considering arranging a benefit performance, proceeds of which would go to Haven House, a women’s emergency shelter here in Maryville, Tennessee (outside of Knoxville). It finally occurred to me that “Rachel Rising” would be a great subject for the recital, so I went back to one of the composers, Rob Deemer (http://www.robdeemer.com).
Timing was right; he has committed to setting the entire cycle to music in a chamber work and we will be giving the work its premiere performances in October, here in Maryville, at SUNY/Fredonia where Rob teaches, and at NIU in DeKalb, Illinois, where we both went for our undergraduate degrees. We will be offering the performances in New York and Illinois in conjunction with university music school seminars on the collaborative process, preparing new works for performance, and other subjects relating to the work.
This is shaping up to be a really interesting cultural event with a great deal of social significance as well. We would like to generate interest in the work in other locations as well — obviously, the work is near and dear to my heart, and I would love to give it as many hearings as possible.
The purpose of this blog is to keep you, the world, apprised of the progress of the project. We welcome your comments and feedback, as well as any ideas you can suggest or help you can offer on getting the work heard in other venues.