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Lyrics: by Alicia Castillo

Days continue to fade 

One into the other unyielding, relentless 

But I continue to burn; 

Give every last piece and part of me away 

If I spread myself a little thinner 

Or cast my light a little farther 

Will it be enough? 

The flames flicker and fade 

One after the other withering, wasting 

Light begins to grow faint 

Embers and ashes threaten to take its place 

Why can’t I recognize myself anymore? 

How long can I keep others warm? 

Will it be enough? 

Why is it never enough? 

Now, I’m no longer burning 

No longer burning

As a composer, guitarist, and singer-songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona, Alicia Castillo combines her background in folk, classical, and jazz to craft narrative-driven music that provides listeners with a unique experience. In addition to writing concert music, she seeks to collaborate with various interdisciplinary mediums and actively partner with new music organizations and festivals to premiere and perform new works.
Alicia has collaborated with the Arizona State University Philharmonia to produce a new string orchestra work, “RISE” through a virtual collaboration and composed the score for ASU’s 2020 production of "The Snow", earning an AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence nomination. In 2021, she composed a new work for the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble that premiered at the Prisms New Music Festival and received first place in the ASU Mykytyn Composition Competition for her guitar composition, “Enneagram Suite”. Outside of the concert world, Alicia is currently working on producing and recording her debut singer-songwriter album "ODDS and ENDS". She is also active in the valley as a volunteer, performer, and music educator.
Alicia holds a Bachelors of music in Composition from Arizona State University, where she was a recipient of the Richard and Babette Burns Classical Guitar Scholarship and a Special Talent Award. She is currently continuing her studies at ASU as a teaching assistant pursuing dual Master's degrees in Composition and Guitar Performance Pedagogy.

Lindsey Johnson is a Texas native and received a Bachelor’s degree in Organ Performance at Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, TX, with Dr. Devon Howard. She recently completed an internship with the Boulanger Initiative, a non-profit organization based out of Washington, D.C. whose mission is to promote music composed by women through performance, education, and commissions. Lindsey is currently in the Master’s program of Organ Performance at Arizona State University, in the studio of Dr. Kimberly Marshall. Additionally, she serves on the American Guild of Organists Young Organist board.

Abby Berg is a first year Music Therapy student at Arizona State University, as well as a member of the flute studio under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Buck. She is originally from North Dakota, and has participated in numerous honors band and honors festivals such as the University of North Dakota honor band, The Ployar Honor Band, and The North Dakota All-State Festival. 

Hannah Eichholtz is a senior musical theater major studying under the vocal direction of Carole FitzPatrick. She is so honored to perform in the AWC, and would like to thank everyone who made this possible. She was last seen in  Hansel and Gretel  in the chorus and will be performing this spring in the musical Bright Star as a featured ensemble member.




Therefore we protest:

Hope is my lifeline, but so many people have lost hope

I lost hope for a long time

It’s hard to live through such an intense tragedy

They keep saying change is coming but more and more people keep dying

The rich is getting richer as we’re getting sicker inflation rises as the rise of the ride as the rise of hte hate as the rise of the lies.

Why don’t they care, Why don’t they care, Why don’t they care.

Five million people, Gone, Gone gone

You, and me…we, we, we, we…

There fore I do protest against the boast of independence in the mighty land.

Call no land free which holds one rusted link 

Call no land free that holds one fettered slave until the manacled slim wrist of babes are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee until the mother bears no burden save the precious one beneath her heart

Until God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed and given back to labor

Let no man call this the land of freedom

To sing by silence when we should protest

Therefore we protest!

Program Notes: 

Text by Addison Hill and Ella Wheeler Wilcox with contributions from Karey Miles, Taryn Landis, Cate Dark, Bree Glidden, Bobby Shaefer, Isa Arandia, and Shelley Shinohara 

Vocals recorded in track by Brandon Ligon, Isa Arandia, Sam Potter, Carly Farabee, and Shelley Shinohara.

Taryn Landis (they/them) is so excited to be working on their first project with the Arizona Women's Collaborative! They are a recent graduate of the Performance and Movement program at Arizona State University. Favorite credits include: “Friedrich” in The Sound of Music, “Eric” in Runaways, “Baddie” in She Kills Monsters, “Gherardino” in Gianni Schicchi, and “Romaine” in The Laramie Project. When they’re not performing, you can catch them re-reading their favorite books, thrifting the fruitiest outfits, and serenading the Arizona desert with their guitar playing.

Karey Miles currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona, USA where she holds an established career as a pianist, vocal coach and piano instructor. She holds a Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano Performance from Arizona State University as well as a Masters of Music in Solo Piano Performance from Portland State University. She has studied with Dr. Andrew Campbell,  Dr. Cathal Breslin, Dr. Chuck Dillard, Lisa Marsh, and Dr. Julia Lee. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Oregon where she studied with Dr. Claire Wachter and Dr. Alexandre Dossin. 

Karey has a passion for performing and teaching and has been doing so for over 20 years. In Phoenix, she is a member of the piano faculty at East Valley School of Music and accompanies students at local universities. While in Portland, OR, Karey was the director of Forte Music School where she both taught students and led a group of talented faculty members. Karey’s extensive collaborative experience is fueled by her dedication to her music, easy-going and spirited personality, and her passion for creating music with others. Karey specifically finds joy in performing music of new and under-represented composers. Karey was involved with the Queer Opera organization in Portland, OR. Karey also served as a vocal coach for the Astoria Music Festival Young Artists Opera program. While not teaching or performing, you will find Karey adventuring in the outdoors or cooking delicious food!

Addison Hill is a composer, artist, and vocalist from Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently a freshman music composition student at ASU. In her compositions, Addison enjoys exploring different stories and topics, such as mental health and social issues, through texture, timbre, and structure. Besides composing music, Addison teaches piano lessons and sings in one of ASU’s acapella groups, Devil Clefs.



Melanie Holm is a soprano using song and dance both to reframe standard opera repertory through a female-driven lens, and to collaborate with living composers on new works that challenge systemic norms within classical music. Recently, Melanie collaborated with multimedia artist ONOH as SEED Residency Artists with [nueBOX], arranging the finale to Mozart’s Don Giovanni for soprano, dance, visuals, and electronics, with female identifying artists producing, creating, and performing all roles. Additional 2021-2022 projects include choreographing and performing Jake Heggie’s Eve Song with pianist Karey Miles, premiering a new work with composer Ashlee Busch and soprano Micaela Rebb through the Arizona Women’s Collaborative, and joining Mark Morris Dance Group as part of their 2022 Teaching Artist Training Program.

Micaela Rebb (Soprano) She/Her/Hers is excited to be performing with the Arizona Women’s Collaborative for their fourth season! She was last seen performing as Pemphredo in the new opera We've Got Our Eye on You by Nkeiru Okoye and is currently pursuing her masters in Vocal Performance at Arizona State University under Carole FitzPatrick. Micaela would like to thank Ashlee and Melanie for being such amazing collaborators, the AWC leadership team for all of their hard work, and Stephanie Sadownik for making this whole process possible!

Ashlee T Busch (b.1986) is a composer, performer, remixer, arranger, and educator based in Mesa, Arizona.  Ashlee most enjoys collaborating with other artists in poetry, dance, installation art, video, and  more. Such collaborations have included residencies with East Coast and Midwest universities,  as an artist with Grammy-award-winning PARMA Recordings, publishing with mixed ensemble  music education publisher Leading Tones LLC, publishing with digital choral music company  Zintzo LLC, and collaborations with ensembles premiering her works across the United States.  Ashlee’s compositional interests range from post-minimal electroacoustic experimentalism to  arrangements and remixes of video game music to pedagogically-focused materials for large  ensemble concert bands, orchestras and choirs. Ashlee’s works are regularly commissioned across  the United States including commissions from Michigan State University, Grand Valley State  University, Austin Peay State University, University of Wisconsin, as well as a series of public  schools. Ashlee received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Grand Valley State University, her Master of Music degree from Michigan State University and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree  from Arizona State University.

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Program Notes by Alyse James

The original inspiration for the poem grew out of a class project. My favorite class at Calarts was a projected light lab taught by Janie Geiser. One of our first assignments she gave us, was to find an object that we could project onto something.

This led to my first light installation piece: A pink shimmering wall of light that I projected onto old cards and text messages from friendships I’d recently outgrown. It became a way for me to process the changes happening around me, the people coming and going in and out of my life.

I wrote this poem my second day in Greece. I didn’t know it yet, but this would be the summer where I’d decide to not return to my grad school program.

I felt so trapped in my program, suffocated and lonely. I was always answering to somebody else’s demands, be it a mentor, a boss, etc. I’d saved up all my money from a fellowship, and decided I’d spend the rest of my summer in Greece.

At the time I wrote this poem I was (still am) really interested in the idea of survival as protest, this notion that surviving, thriving in a world that is run by capitalist scarcity, intended on making you feel awful, it’s a protest in and of itself, to simply survive and resist the urge to buy into scarcity.

Our decision to survive, and take care of each other is a call to action.

My decision to leave school was affirming my desire to survive, and not subject myself to the over-worked, under-valued life that I was living while in school. At first, I was very reluctant to even entertain the idea of not going back to school, I felt like such a failure for not being able to make it in grad school, but as the summer went on, I began to ask myself, if I was actually happy where I was in my life, and it was very clear that I was not. 

I think it’s so common for adults to put themselves through hell for a job that they don’t even like, without looking at alternatives, because they think that’s just how life is. I like to think this poem was sort of a catalyst for me to reassess the way I saw myself and my role in life.


Shimmering walls controlled by our physical imagination. 

A room with white walls cascaded in bright, warm, calming color tones. 

Floating rainbow projections. 

A room that is yours, where you feel safe.  

You are at the center. 

Embodying light. 

Moving the bodies, the  glimmering lights that move around the space. 

It brings you center, you are at home. 

I am a bright, glowing orb of sunshine, warmth, a deep pool of mystique. 

I am a floating sunset that turns the water in shimmering pools of light each day. 

I melt into the blues and yellows. 

I make a purple lavender light. 

I project. 

I project light onto my surroundings. 

Light that is inside of me. 

I feed my body the light it needs to survive and thrive. 

My light is a call to action.

Gillian Rae Perry is a composer and songwriter who enjoys finding ways that her music can break people out of their day to day routine and invite them to glimpse the extraordinary all around them.

In 2017, Perry won the Tennessee Valley Music Festival Young Composers Competition, allowing her to have her piece, Soul’s Response, rehearsed and performed by the TVMF orchestra. In addition to TVMF orchestra, Perry’s work has been performed by the Mostly Modern Orchestra, Euclid Quartet, Aperture Duo, and members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In 2018, she was awarded a Composition Fellowship with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; she was a Composer Fellow for both the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons.

Perry studied abroad in Paris with the EAMA-Nadia Boulanger Institute during the summer of 2016 and the summer of 2018. During her time in Paris, she studied harmony, counterpoint, musicianship, and composition, all of which greatly influenced her process as a composer. In Paris, she learned from esteemed composers and educators Narcís Bonet, Michelle Merlet, and Philip Lasser.

Perry graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in both music composition and film and is greatly influenced by art forms outside of music – such as film, dance, and theatre. An avid poetry reader and writer, Perry is also influenced by text and how text can interact with music in both spoken and unspoken ways. Perry holds an MFA in music composition from The California Institute of the Arts.

An expressive musician and sensitive collaborator, Mackenzie Lyn Marr made her orchestral debut at age sixteen with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra. Currently based in Phoenix, Mackenzie is a doctoral student at Arizona State University where she studies with Andrew Campbell. She has had additional studies at SongFest, Source Song Festival, the Castleman Quartet Program, Bay View Music Festival (Opera Fellow), The Atlantic Music Festival, and the Chamber Music Institute at Holy Cross. 

Mackenzie holds a master's degree in collaborative piano from the University of Maryland where she studied with Rita Sloan, as well as a master’s in piano performance from the University of Georgia where she studied with Liza Stepanova and specialized in piano pedagogy.  

Passionate about new music and collaborative work, Mackenzie has played in the presence of the composer for Libby Larsen, Jake Heggie, and Abbie Betinis. She is a member of The Evelyn Duo, alongside soprano Shari Eve Feldman, which is dedicated to works by contemporary composers, particularly women, and has performed at The Dark Water Women in Music Festival, The Washington Arts Club, the Epiphany Concert Series, and Hartwick College.    

In addition to performing, Mackenzie is also a teacher and has given presentations at the MTNA National Conference and the MTNA Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Conference on her work teaching distance lessons to high school girls at the Moi Girls School in Eldoret, Kenya. A dedicated scholar herself, Mackenzie is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.

Kirsten Blair enjoys a vibrant musical lifestyle as a soloist, performer, private teacher, and classroom instructor. Kirsten appears frequently in solo and collaborative recital, having performed at Arizona State University, the Eastman School of Music in New York, San Francisco Conservatory, Loyola University in Louisiana, Athens, Greece, East London, White River and Nelspruit, South Africa, and in her home states of Maine and Alaska. She has shared the orchestral stage as a soloist, with ensembles such as the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Lights String Orchestra, the Uplands Festival Orchestra in South Africa, the American Institute of Musical Studies: Graz Festival Orchestra, the Arizona State University Orchestra, and most recently, with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra in Ballet Arizona’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Kirsten has performed as a featured soloist with the Arizona Women’s Collaborative, the UAF New Music Festival, the Vianden Festival in Luxembourg, and two consecutive sessions in Zimbabwe for Music Inspire Africa. She has played several principal roles with Opera Fairbanks, Anchorage Opera, University of Alaska Fairbanks's Opera Workshop, and internationally with Théâtre Roger Barat in France and the Lowveld Chamber Music Association in South Africa. Selected roles include: Lucy (Menotti's The Telephone), Frasquita (Carmen), and Roxy LaRue in the World Premiere of The Color of Gold. She completed her Graduate Teaching Assistantship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks under the artistry of Dr. Jaunelle Celaire and joined their faculty as an adjunct professor for private and class voice, ear-training, and music appreciation. After completing her 200-HR yoga teacher training, Kirsten returned to campus in pursuit of a DMA in Voice at Arizona State University. While in Arizona, she completed a second Graduate Assistantship, served as the ASU Community Music School Voice Instructor, and is currently a doctoral candidate as a student of Dr. Stephanie Weiss. A passionate teacher and coach, she maintains a virtual and in-person studio, and enjoys working with singers in group and workshop environments. Kirsten is presently residing in Fairbanks, Alaska, with her family. 

Soprano Emily Morgan Gibson has been acclaimed as “a star equipped with a stellar soprano voice” by Broadway World, and praised for her “blooming high notes” by Opera Today. Some of her favorite performed roles include: Mimì in La bohème (Puccinni); Tatyana in Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky); Marie in The Bartered Bride (Smetana); Giannetta in L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti); Musetta in La bohème (Puccini) and Frasquita in Carmen (Bizet).

Ms. Gibson has a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and a Master’s degree in Opera Performance from Arizona State University. She currently teaches voice and piano lessons at Linton Milano Music in Mesa, Arizona. IG: @emilygibsonsoprano

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Teresa Murphy is a choral director and performing mezzo-soprano. Teresa entered the choral scene as a singer, completing her Masters in Voice Performance & Pedagogy at ASU in May 2021. She has begun her Doctorate this semester in Choral Conducting, in which she directs the ASU Sol Singers (soprano-alto choir). Off campus, Teresa works as choir director at Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Chandler, AZ, interim director of the Phoenix Women's Chorus, and chorus master for the Chandler Opera Company concert production of La Boheme. Teresa spends most of her free time dancing salsa, bachata and tango in the Phoenix Metro Latin dance community.

Addison Hill is a composer, artist, and vocalist from Phoenix, Arizona. She is currently a freshman music composition student at ASU. In her compositions, Addison enjoys exploring different stories and topics, such as mental health and social issues, through texture, timbre, and structure. Besides composing music, Addison teaches piano lessons and sings in one of ASU’s acapella groups, Devil Clefs.

Kim Norris- Lyricist


If you would like to support the AWC and New Music, we are excepting online donations through PayPal. All donations to the AWC will go towards future concerts, making AWC into a non-profit, and commissioning new works. Thank you!

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