TCWC Member Alanna Walen Featured in Alumni Newsletter

My friends from the women's softball league had been encouraging me to check out this choir for a couple of years, and I finally went to the first rehearsal of the season. Before I even entered the Minneapolis church basement door, I knew I was going to be friends with Carol, a woman I just met, who I learned through enthusiastic conversation had gone to grad school with my roommate from Grinnell. That was 1999, and my commitment to the Twin Cities Women's Choir has grown from tentative soprano to board member, Treasurer, section leader, and occasional soloist.

TCWC started in 1997 with a group of 16 women who wanted to sing with Mary Bussman, our charismatic director, and with their cash contributions to buy some music to get started. The choir's mission is "to sing, perform, and affirm the voices of women," and that's pretty accurate except it doesn't convey the fun that we have while doing those things. We now have about 140 members, with 100-120 singing in any given concert, and we are a community of women from all ages, backgrounds, income levels, and orientations who come together to make beautiful music. Mary selects pieces primarily from women composers and arrangers, as well as a variety of choral and popular music with lyrics that are inspiring, and arrangements that challenge and reward the singers as well as entertain the audience.

In addition to outreach performances at conventions and other events throughout the Twin Cities, TCWC hosts three major concerts each season. "Illuminations" warms a cold church on a December afternoon with songs celebrating the light from various faiths and traditions. Our winter concert in February features a collaboration with an artist or group that stretches our musical comfort zones; this year The Brass Messengers joined us, and previous guests have included local jazz musician Bruce Henry, Native American singers, and several children's choirs. "Divas and Desserts," our May performance, is all about celebrating springtime: guests sit at tables and enjoy coffee and desserts at intermission, the music is energetic and uplifting, and a silent auction and raffle add to the fun. Tickets for "Divas and Desserts" will go on sale soon; check out for concert details, to buy one of our two CD's, or to join our e-mail list.

The real strength of TCWC is in the community we have built. A February articleabout the choir on did a great job of sharing quotes and anecdotes to capture the essence of the group. For anyone who likes stirring music performed beautifully by beautiful women (OK, I'm a little biased), come to one of our concerts. For any women who have enjoyed singing in the past and would like to sing again, consider joining us in the fall. I'm sure glad I did, as my good friend Carol can attest. I haven't felt such a sense of belonging since I left Grinnell.

- Alanna Walen '92