Amanda DeBoer Bartlett: “I’ve been friends with Stacie Haneline who runs the Series now for several years and we’ve always had really inspiring conversations about the arts and programming in Omaha, so it worked out eventually that Quince could make it to Omaha a couple times so we could collaborate on making these programs happen for a while now actually and it’s been really exciting and we want to keep growing the project and adding more educational operations with it so, yeah, it’s been very exciting for us.”
That was Dr. Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, a member of Quince Ensemble, talking about their involvement with the Vespers Concert Series. Quince is celebrating a year of residency with Vespers with a performance this Sunday. Quince is a vocal ensemble made up of four incredible women with varied backgrounds from all over the country who commission music from living composers. Amanda talks about how Quince takes their time to select pieces from whom to commission.
Bartlett: “We try to commission pieces from people who have something to say we want to perform pieces that feel like they’re reflecting on society, feel like they’re commenting on something important, or telling a story that we think needs to be told. So, we spend a lot of time researching, who’s writing, who’s interesting to us and we’ve developed those relationships for a long period of time.”
Which then provides the opportunity to participate in residencies like the one they just finished at UC Berkley.
Bartlett: “Oh, it’s the best. We love doing these residencies at universities. We usually get the music from the student composers a month or two beforehand, rehearse it a little before we get here. But, then we spend a week, not only rehearsing the pieces, but, discussing their work, talking about composing for the voice. These are typically folks who want to try new things, want to explore, want to learn about the voice and all its capabilities. So, we sit down and geek out with them as long as they want to, and giving the composer extra workshop time and rehearsal time that they might not get in a professional situation which is often very, very restricted.”
They’re also hosting a free public workshop the day before their performance, Saturday, April 27th from 10 am-noon. It’s open to any experience level and age.
Bartlett: “We’re going to improvise, explore the voice, different timbres, look at graphic scores, and talk about the voice’s capabilities. We’ve all had a lot of different experiences within the voice realm so the four of us will bring our different perspectives to the workshop.”
Quince released a new album earlier this April called Motherland. Amanda touched on just some of the pieces she’s excited for the Vespers audience to hear.
Bartlett: “I’m really excited about our Vesper’s Program. The program deals with a lot of very contemporary ideas and issues. We’re performing this piece called 3 Erasures by Cara Haxo. The poet for the piece used women’s beauty magazines, (sarcastically) ‘great literary objects’, and she took articles and erased certain words out of them and what happens is it becomes this meditation on expectations of femininity and expectations on women in contemporary society and it’s also quite funny but very bittersweet.”
Quince Ensemble performs at the Presbyterian Church of the Cross in Omaha, Sunday, April 28th at 3 pm. This concert is open to the public. Find more information at vespersconcerts.org, quince-ensemble.com, or follow them on instagram @quincetagrams.