Conscious Party: Feminine Faces of God

SISTERS IN MOTHER MARY: Local composer and poet Annelinde Metzner, left, and former opera soprano Kimberly Hughes are combining their talents for the Feminine Faces of God concert, July 22 at St. James Episcopal Church in Black Mountain. All donations collected at the event will go to the construction of Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry's Hope for Tomorrow women's and children's shelter.
SISTERS IN MOTHER MARY: Local composer and poet Annelinde Metzner, left, and former opera soprano Kimberly Hughes are combining their talents for the Feminine Faces of God concert, July 22 at St. James Episcopal Church in Black Mountain. All donations collected at the event will go to the construction of Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry's Hope for Tomorrow women's and children's shelter. Photo by Susa Silvermarie

WHAT: A concert to benefit Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry

WHEN: Sunday, July 22, 2 p.m.

WHERE: St. James Episcopal Church, 424 W. State St., Black Mountain

WHY: When local composer and pianist Annelinde Metzner heard that former opera soprano Kimberly Hughes had moved to Black Mountain, she jumped at the chance to work with her. In the subsequent 10 years, the two have performed short programs together, mostly connected to Metzner’s poetry readings, but on Sunday, July 22, at St. James Episcopal Church in Black Mountain, they’ll combine forces in new and exciting ways.

Titled “Feminine Faces of God” — a phrase that Hughes received in a meditation in early January — the concert is a reflection of the friends’ shared dedication to honoring Mary Magdalene’s teachings and historical significance, as well as other females and feminine representations of God that Hughes says have been suppressed, written out of history or maligned untruthfully.

“I think it’s meant to balance things out a bit,” Hughes says. “Images have power in the mind. The feminine images of God need to be seen and sung about, too.”

Held on the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, the program includes settings of Metzner’s poetry, such as one inspired by her pilgrimages to look for Mother Mary in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and her settings of works by contemporary poets, including as Alice Walker (“We Have a Beautiful Mother”) and Diane di Prima (“O Lady, Loba”).

“One of the songs, ‘Magdala, Tower,’ came about because Kim asked me to set to music a poem I wrote for Mary Magdalene and performed five years ago at the Light Center,” Metzner says. “This is probably the most powerful, emotional center of the whole concert, especially since Kim has just returned from a pilgrimage to Mary Magdalene sites in France, which will further inform her strength of expression.”

The pair will be joined by soprano Jennifer Worthen, Rita Hayes (flute) and Isabel Castellvi (cello), while Maggie Moon will perform sacred dance. The Venerable Archdeacon Kristi Neal of St. James Episcopal will speak, as will Cheryl Wilson, director of the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, whose Hope for Tomorrow women’s and children’s shelter’s construction will receive a financial boost as the beneficiary of the event’s donation-based admission.

“Their mission speaks to me because, in my opinion, our government has largely abandoned the underprivileged, and that abandonment is worsening,” Hughes says. “Someone needs to help, and SVCM has been doing that beautifully for a long time. The Hope for Tomorrow home in Black Mountain for women and children will extend that help in extraordinary ways.”

Feminine Faces of God takes place Sunday, July 22, 2 p.m., at St. James Episcopal Church, 424 W. State St., Black Mountain. $15-$150 suggested donation. stjameswnc.org

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for ashevillemovies.com and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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One thought on “Conscious Party: Feminine Faces of God

  1. boatrocker

    The fictional construct of God has so far been portrayed by
    Orson Wells (I think?) the voice of God from History of the World Pt 1
    George Burns in Oh God
    Alanis Morissette in Dogma
    Morgan Freeman in one of the LEGO movies
    Ralph Richardson in Time Bandits (great movie)
    Groucho Marx in Skiddo (He’s a drug dealer too!)
    John Huston in The Bible
    Graham Chapman in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    Just off the top of my head. I see one lady on my list, so sure ladies, go ahead and pretend a
    fictitious Bronze Age fairy tale being has a womb- have fun!
    Just for the record, if there is an all loving God, he/she must be a dog which of course
    makes the Devil a cat.

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