Our spring theme is Love Your Mother (Earth)! The beginning of our program will highlight music that expresses love for the earth in our hearts – appreciation, reflection, connection, joy. The second half will feature music that expresses our love for the earth in action – doing, moving, making change.
Dr. Allison Thorp joined Womansong as Artistic Director in July 2022. She also serves as the Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, where she conducts the Concert Choir and University Chorus, teaches conducting and choral methods, and supervises student teachers in choral music education.
“I am excited to be a part of the Womansong community!” Allison shared. “I see women’s choruses as a place to be renewed, to meet kindred spirits, to be seen and to not be invisible. We put beautiful energy out into the world through our music but also take it home within ourselves.”
An advocate for “choral activism,” Allison enhances Womansong by encouraging voices of diverse communities through our repertoire. She seeks to spread joy through music and to support and empower the members of the Womansong Village. “I think it’s important to nurture that element of human connection—it’s good for our minds, our bodies, and our music.”
Dr. Thorp earned her doctorate from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where her dissertation was a study of socially identified community choirs including the Akoma African American Women’s Gospel Chorus, Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus, and Rochester Jewish Chorale. Prior to her career in higher education, she taught choral, instrumental, and general music as a public school teacher in Kentucky and also served as Director of Music at Louisa United Methodist Church in Louisa, KY, and South Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY. Since moving to WNC in 2016, she has worked with regional organizations including the Asheville Lyric Opera, the Asheville Defiant Requiem, and the Folkmoot Festival Choir, among others.
Dr. Thorp’s research interests include social justice in music education and community building through musical performance. She lives in Waynesville with her husband, Sean; toddler, Aidan; and cat, Ella Fitzgerald.
Claire Lemke joined Womansong as our Assistant Director in Spring 2023. She is always thrilled about any opportunity to gather and uplift other women, and adding joyful music-making and friendship to the mix is a perfect combination. She looks forward to continuing her work with the group and to experience the emotional and musical fulfillment to come.
With over 20 years of experience, Claire is a classically trained vocalist, seasoned performer, and music instructor. In 2019, she completed a Masters in Music Theory from Northwestern University in Chicago after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Music with a concentration in Vocal Performance from Western Carolina University. Claire has been teaching private voice lessons, piano lessons, and academic music classes through local community colleges including A-B Tech. She also performs locally as a singer-songwriter.
At the center of her teaching and music-making philosophy is the goal of cultivating and maintaining the childlike joy that music can bring. Overall, she has set her sights on sharing her love of music and learning with all generations with the hope that they can hone their unique creativity and performance abilities.
Claire is kind and enthusiastic and shares our choir’s commitment to advancing social justice!