“Many Moons” concert marks Corbin's finale as director of BVS Women's Choir
by Nancy Hernandez and Heather Chin for Vocal Area Network
Posted March 29, 2019

Jessica CorbinWomen’s History Month may be over, but you can continue to celebrate the stories and creativity of women past and present with Brooklyn’s own BVS Women’s Choir at the group's spring concert, "Many Moons," which also marks the final performance conducted by founder and artistic director Jessica Corbin. The concert will take place on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 7 PM at First Unitarian Congregational Society, 119 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights. Tickets can be purchased here.

"Many Moons" invites us to look toward the cosmos and express gratitude for the natural and spiritual worlds, and the constant yet changing presence of the moon, which is both reliable and wondrous.

"I wanted to center the concert around Jocelyn Hagen’s stunning piece for treble choir, two pianists and percussion, Moon Goddess," explained Corbin. "I started exploring themes that had to do with the moon, but then the phrase ‘many moons’ popped into my head one day, and I thought, 'yes, that’s it!'"

In addition to Hagen, the program features work by composers Kala Pierson, Gwyneth Walker and J. David Moore, with pieces including the traditional spiritual My Lord, What a Morning and Moon Goddess, an exaltation of the moon goddess by Enheduanna, a Sumerian priestess who lived in 2300 BC. The program reflects on divine forces and faith, as well as friendship, love and music.

Women have long been associated with the moon, life and the passage of time, making the concert’s theme appropriate for Corbin’s last as choir director after 18 years, having seen it through many moons, first as a small high school girl’s choir at La Guardia High School to its current form as a multigenerational women’s choir and nonprofit with over 40 members from across the city.

“I really cannot believe sometimes, what this choir has grown into since starting it as an after-school choir all those years ago,” Corbin reflected, noting its evolution from six singers to non-profit, performing in local churches to off-Broadway stages and Lincoln Center, and touring the country to recording CDs.

“But perhaps most importantly -- and not what I had necessarily anticipated -- this choir has grown into a true community. Singing together each week, traveling together, experiences from recording sessions to traveling together to singing the words of Anne Frank to children of Holocaust survivors… all of these have made BVS into what it is today, and what it will continue to thrive as when a new director takes the helm,” Corbin said.

Part of this community’s strength lies in tapping its members diverse musical talents, not just as singers and instrumentalists, but as composers. Over the years, the choir has premiered the works of its own members and neighbors, as with last year’s "Many Voices" project featuring poetry from women immigrants across Brooklyn.

“One of my jobs is as a lyricist, but I never thought I could compose music,” said member Karen Lurie. “Singing in the choir unlocked all the stuff I learned studying music for ten years as a kid. When I played a draft of my first piece for Jessica, she did not laugh in my face! She encouraged me to keep going, and that piece premiered in 2017. Never underestimate not being laughed at as a motivating factor!”

Lurie’s second composition, Don’t Be The Moon, is part of the upcoming concert program and is a “tongue-in-cheek rejection” of the moon as the long-standing symbol of womanhood, based on what we know about it now, thanks to science. The result? A more empowering, feminist message for women in general, and in particular for Jessica and the choir as we all move forward: Don't be the moon…be the planet.

Join us in April to celebrate Jessica and her evolving but consistent commitment to performing work written for women's voices, often by living women composers.


BVS Women’s Choir is a 45-member multigenerational group dedicated to excellence in choral singing. Based in Brooklyn, NY, our mission is to enrich our members and audiences by performing a diverse repertoire, with an emphasis on female and contemporary choral composers. Throughout its 18-year history, BVS Women’s Choir has become a musical community of its own.

BVS presents several concerts throughout the year and has performed at Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, off-Broadway with the New York Theater Workshop and the BOSSS Theatre Festival, and with Make Music New York. The group has toured with choirs in El Paso, Seattle and Portland. In 2018, BVS was the recipient of a Brooklyn Arts Council grant that supported a "Many Voices” project showcasing the poetry of immigrant women living in New York City through original compositions. BVS Women’s Choir has released three CD recordings: Songs of Peace and Love (2011), Hope (2014) and Faith is the Bird (2016). BVS is a 501©3 organization.

The choir rehearses on Monday nights in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and auditions new members each year. Please visit us at www.bvswomenschoir.org.

Nancy Hernandez handles press for BVS Women's Choir. Heather Chin sings with BVS Women's Choir.