As we recognize, honor, or remember our own Mothers this weekend, we should also appreciate the many contributions made by all women, whether in our local communities or the larger global society. These achievements have often been overlooked or go unrecorded in our history books. Thanks in large part to the internet and social media, we can discover and share the works from many talented female artists, scientists, musicians, and teachers. Recently, a musical program at Holy Comforter featured works by women composers, including Amy Beach, Florence Price, Louise Farrenc, and Nadia Boulanger. These women faced added obstacles in their career path, due to gender, race, family or health issues, but were blessed with the strength and faith to continue. Jeanne Demessieux was a young French organist that bravely traversed the mostly-male academic halls as both a student and professor. Fanny Crosby and Francis McCollin were blind composers that did not let disability restrict their dreams.

In encouraging the next generation, we should not only consider the lessons from the past, but also the possibilities for the future. Current and upcoming projects promise to include more diverse voices, in all fields. Musicians are able to join a “virtual” choir through combined uploaded videos. Free public domain sheet music and recordings are available online.  The Margaret Zach International Women’s Composer Library is a great research tool for scholarly papers, recordings, and yearly festivals.

Encouragement can be a helpful seed planted for someone’s talents and ideas.

Ben Ehrlich