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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Covington

She Rises

In this season of social distancing, I'm offering a series of virtual micro-concerts for anyone to enjoy. Every Wednesday, I’ll post one fine performance of notable music for women’s voices. The selections and performing groups will be varied and eclectic. Most will be in the 3-5 minute range. Each post will include an audio recording, brief notes, text & translation and, when practical, a PDF copy of the score in case you want to follow along.

This blog is supported by Voci Women’s Vocal Ensemble.


Listen to this week's music and see the score in the Listening Room.


About the Composer

Catherine Dalton specializes in vocal compositions that are inspired by classical, jazz, folk, world music, and chant. Her organically-composed pieces seek to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, exploring themes of hardship and uncommon courage, mystical experience, and everyday joy.

Her music has been performed around the world by new music ensembles such as Zeitgeist; by singers Clara Osowski, Carrie Henneman Shaw, and Nicole Warner; and by over a hundred choirs, including VOX Femina Los Angeles, Cantus, Cleveland Chamber Choir, Minnesota All State Mixed Choir, and Amuse Singers New York.

When she’s not composing, Catherine enjoys gardening, hiking, reading, and attending live performances of all genres.

About the Composition

“She Rises" is for double chorus, SSAA/SSAA, a cappella.

Catherine writes, “When I began composing ‘She Rises,’ I thought it would be a song without words, a song with only vocal percussion and vocalizations. It was to be an exploration of the physics of light and the mystery of illumination through the power of the human voice. I imagined the sounds of electrons falling from higher to lower energy levels, emitting light in the process. For a few weeks, I walked around making "sun sounds" and asking other people what they thought the sun ‘sounded’ like.

“I was surprised then when I composed a Celtic-style melody. I wasn’t sure if it was a new song or part of the song I was writing (it had a different name at the time). Because I was working with light and the sun, I did a search for ‘Celtic sun goddess' and discovered the Celtic sun goddess, Brigid! I did more research into Brigid, and found St. Brigid of Kildare, the Irish saint of, among other things, poetry, the hearth fire, the forge, and illumination. I wrote the lyrics based on my research and changed the name of the song!

“’She Rises’ is still about light! Yet it became more than a song about the physical manifestation of light. It rose up out of me like the sun rises every day. Like the sun goddess Brigid and St. Brigid of Kildare, ‘She Rises’ became a jubilant celebration of energy. A celebration of illuminating minds and hearts. A celebration of rising up to change the world with love and with poetry. A celebration of the grounding work of the forge and the hearth fire. In the end, ‘She Rises’ became a reminder of the powerful and beautiful light that resides within and around us. Let us use our light to change the world through love.”

About this Performance

This performance is by VOX Femina Los Angeles, Dr. Iris S. Levine, Founder and Artistic Director. Find out more about VOX Femina HERE.

The Text

She Rises, Catherine Dalton

She rises up from the heather.

Her flame in hand, she crosses the sky.

When she’s tired, she lays down her head.

In the sweet heather she makes her bed.

All night we tend to her flame,

her sacred light, eternal and bright.

When she wakes, she’ll open her eyes.

Then up from the heather she’ll again rise.

She flames the poet’s pen,

fires the forge and hearth,

lights the fire within.

Lyrics Copyright, 2011 Catherine Dalton.

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Mitchell Covington is an award-winning composer and conductor who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent adjudicator for choir competitions and festivals and workshop clinician. He has led choir tours and festivals throughout Europe. Mr. Covington has several choral compositions in print with major U.S publishers and his music has been performed by choirs throughout the U.S and Europe. Mr. Covington is the Founding and current Artistic Director of Voci Women's Vocal Ensemble.

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