Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles celebrated Women in Music Nov. 16 with Lea DeLaria as host. DeLaria, currently staring as "Big Boo" in Orange is the New Black, has a long history as a stand-up comic, actor, writer, and jazz musician. DeLaria helped welcome to the stage the Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band with special guests, the Artemis Singers.
For the occasion the Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band prepared several numbers all composed by women. Composers featured included Germaine Tailleferre, Jennifer Higdon, Julie Giroux, Augusta Read Thomas, Shelley Hanson, Joan Tower, Carolyn Bremer, Elana Roussanova Lucas, and Virginia A. Allenwith conductor Kyle Rhoades and guest maestros Travis Cuckler, Jason Duran and Christy Zurcher.
Between the pieces, DeLaria denoted each composers' mark or impact in the musical community and during each piece sat in her throne laughing and celebrating.
The Artemis Singers celebrated their 35th Anniversary on the stage as the first all-women lesbian feminist choral group in the nation. The choral group embodied the importance of a forum for music composed by women and ended the evening with a song composed by the group that encouraged a new kind of community-based composition of music. They were conducted by Lois McCullen Parr and Allison Downing.
DeLaria elevated and maintained the energy in the packed auditorium at the Preston Bradley Center, charming the audience with her comedic tongue-in-check. Between sets, DeLaria allotted a single question from the audience regarding Orange is the New Black, focusing attention to the performers and to the spirit of the event. "What do you get out of being in Orange is The New Black?" from an audience member, DeLaria emphatically ( and comedically ) pronounced, "Pussy!"
The evening concluded with Artemis joining Lakeside Pride in "Light the Fire Within" by David Foster and Linda Thompson, arranged by Mac Huff and Paul Lavender.
Artemis Singers' next performance will be "Loves Lost, Loves Found" Feb. 6-7 at the Ethical Humanist Society in Skokie.
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