women's work (collective mend)
Program notes by Megan DeJarnett
I’ve been writing and making music about sexual assault and rape culture for over two years, and despite my fears that it would be a lonely, angry road, the journey has brought me to new friends, collaborators, and fellow performers across the US. women’s work (collective mend) began similarly: I was asked to join the Arizona Women’s Collaborative to help craft a concert entirely by women, from the text to the music to the performance, and as we began the creative process, I was fortunate to be placed with Felicia Zamora and Emily Cottam. These fantastic women have been amazing collaborative partners, and together we’ve crafted a work that doesn’t talk so much about being hurt but instead explores how we move through life as individuals and as a collective.
Once I had Felicia’s words in hand, I realized I wanted to craft something that’s performable by a singer who doesn’t have other performers at hand, something that would facilitate a performance that is inherently theatrical as well as musical, and something that flows more like a stream of consciousness rather than a strictly-defined, confident statement—because so much of this life as a survivor or a victim or a casualty is typing something and revising it over and over and over because once you start speaking for your community of survivors and victims and casualties the world expects that you say the exact right thing the first time you pipe up. I drew inspiration from Bernstein’s MASS, particularly Fraction: Things Get Broken, not only because I was working from the standpoint of someone who might at times feel broken but because it plays with emphasis and perceived meter in a way I really enjoy.
Felicia Zamora is the author of the poetry books Body of Render, winner of the 2018 Benjamin Saltman Award from Red Hen Press (2020), Instrument of Gaps (Slope Editions 2018), & in Open, Marvel (Parlor Press 2018), and Of Form & Gather, winner of the 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize (University of Notre Dame Press 2017). She won the2015 Tomaž Šalamun Prize from Verse, authored two chapbooks, and was the 2017 Poet Laureate for Fort Collins, CO. Her published works may be found or forthcoming inAcademy of American Poets (Poem-A-Day), Alaska Quarterly Review, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, Lana Turner, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Cincinnati Review, The Georgia Review, The Nation, Verse Daily, West Branch, and others. She is the Associate Poetry Editor for the Colorado Review, holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University, teaches creative writing online for Colorado State University, and is the Education Programs Manager for the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.
Megan DeJarnett is a Los Angeles-based composer-trumpeter who has spent her life in the thrall of a good story. Her creative work centers around themes of communication, immersion, empathy, and performer creativity. Megan has dedicated herself to the creation and performance of new music, collaborating with composers and performers around the world as a creator, performer, dancer, and soloist. She has premiered new works across the United States, including at the 2016 National Trumpet Competition and 2018’s California Electronic Music Exchange Concerts. Megan’s creative work focuses on bridging the gaps between composer, performer, and audience through physical, idiomatic, and textual means. She keeps an active commissions calendar and devotes a great deal of time to Letters from the Aftermath, a project exploring the effects of sexual assault and rape culture on society’s victims and casualties.
Megan holds a BM in Theory and Composition from Arizona State University and will graduate from CalArts with her Performer-Composer MFA in May 2019. Her primary instructors include Matt Barbier, Nicholas Deyoe, Kotoka Suzuki, and Jody Rockmaker. In her free time, you can find her with her nose in a book or causing trouble with extended trumpet techniques. For more information, please visit https://megandejarnett.com.
Emily Cottam is a Master of Music candidate in Opera Performance and a student of Prof. Carole FitzPatrick. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Utah State University where she graduated as a Caine Scholar with honors and was the Caine College of the Arts and University Valedictorian. Most recently, she performed the title role in Handel’s Xerxes, “Street Singer” in Herberger Institute’s production of MASS by Leonard Bernstein, the title role in the New Works opera Marie Begins, was a featured soloist in the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) concert series in Graz, Austria, was a semi-finalist in the AIMS Meistersinger Competition, and performed the role of “Hermia” in ASU MTO’s previous Lab Production The Fairy Queen.