Lisa Ferraro & Natalia Zukerman
Sistrum Women’s Chorus
Natalia Zukerman’s musical presentation of “The Women Who Rode Away”
Friday, November 8, 7:30pm | BUY TICKETS
“…this is simply one of the most compelling and riveting events we have ever hosted on The Extended Play Sessions. It speaks of empowerment, struggle, tolerance, perseverance and history and the timeliness of this project could not be more poignant. A woman, seated alone on a stage, paying tribute to women…with beauty, style, grace and a boatload of talent!”
– Bill Hurley – Producer, The Extended Play Sessions
Edifying and entertaining, Natalia Zukerman’s The Women Who Rode Away seamlessly melds the talents of the songwriter, painter, and storyteller into a moving evening of reflection and perseverance. Featuring original music and projected paintings by Zukerman, this intimate portrait recounts the artist’s journey of finding her own voice through the stories of the women in her life that paved the way. The production is directed by Kira Simring and features projection design by Gertjan Houben.
Learn more at nataliazukerman.com/the-women-who-rode-away
Opening act: Kate Peterson
This Michigan-based and Lansing-grown singer-songwriter is always delighted to lend her soulful, heart-felt tunes, charmingly awkward storytelling and percussive guitar playing to the WITA Sanctuary. Kate has been a part of the WITA Community for 15 years, and attributes much of her growth as a performer to the support of the Lansing Women’s community. Since 2003, she’s traveled across this country and Europe, gracing hundreds of stages with her folk duo, Nervous but Excited. She is now playing select shows solo and in collaboration, often with her wife, Leah, on harmonies. katepeterson.com
Co-produced with The Ten Pound Fiddle Concert Series
Saturday, November 9, 1pm
Natalia Zukerman & Lisa Ferraro
Musician, painter and educator Natalia Zukerman grew up in New York City, studied art at Oberlin, started her mural business Off The Wall in San Francisco, began her songwriting career in Boston, and now resides, writes, plays, teaches and paints in upstate NY. Throughout her career as a touring musician, she has accompanied and opened for acoustic music luminaries. Her music can be heard on the soundtrack of several seasons of The L Word and ABC Family’s Chasing Life. She also created the score for The Arch of Titus, an independent film created for Yeshiva University and a Harvard online course called Poetry in America. Alongside her touring career, Zukerman continues to paint private and public murals as well as illustrate children’s books, design and paint sets for plays in New York City and paint private portrait commissions. In February, 2017, Natalia became a Cultural Diplomat for the US Department of State, playing concerts and conducting workshops with her group The Northern Lights throughout Africa. Natalia teaches private songwriting lessons and has taught at Rocky Mountain Song School, Sisters Song School, Red Rocks Womens Music Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Interlochen Summer Music Program and other festivals and locations throughout the US and in Canada. In May 2018, she was the artist in residence at the cell theatre in New York City where she developed her multimedia one woman show, The Women Who Rode Away.
A global force for good, renowned vocalist and songwriter Lisa Ferraro is also respected around the world as a leading retreat facilitator and producer, Spiritual mentor, and ICF certified Personal Growth & Empowerment coach. Whether singing or leading meditation workshops, Lisa plays with the subtleties of the delicate vibrational balance between thoughts, sound, belief, faith, wisdom and materialization. Her music and her wise and beautiful poetry teach others how they can change their lives by expanding their consciousness.
Lisa has recorded and performed nationally and internationally with big band jazz ensembles, rock and soul bands, and in a duo with the dynamic vocalist and virtuoso guitarist Erika Luckett. In 2009, Lisa and Erika were selected from among thousands of musical groups to perform songs from their recording On the Way of Love: Songs Inspired by Rumi at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia.
Lisa debuted an original composition with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops, and has performed and recorded with jazz legends Houston Person, Hendrik Merkins and Roger Humphries. As a recipient of a Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour grant for many years, she toured throughout the US and Canada with Mike Tomaro and the Three Rivers Jazz Orchestra. Her recording Jazz Up the Holidays was nominated for an International Independent Music Award in 2006. Her latest expression, Serenading The Moon, made the Billboard Jazz charts and culminates in a collaboration with some of the finest players on the jazz scene today. As a composer, Lisa Ferraro has written music for ABC TV’s Wife Swap; Polygram Films; The Roberto Clemente Foundation; and the play The Other Side of the River, which aired on PBS stations. A talented songwriter, Lisa was commissioned by Major League baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates to write and perform the song More Than A Man commemorating the late great Roberto Clemente.
Lisa and Natalia are longtime friends who share a similar approach to art and life. Recently, they recognized that collaborating might lead to an elevated force in their creative lives and while still in its nascent stage, their combined efforts are proving to be undeniably powerful, infectiously joyful and deeply connected to Spirit. They are thrilled to be performing together this evening and in early 2020, will be launching SeekHer: collaborative, conscious, collective gatherings with meditation, music, movement, learning, co-creating, deep listening, respectful, safe discovery and able all, boundless joy.
Saturday, November 9, 3pm
A WITA festival tradition!
Sistrum, Lansing Women’s Chorus: Creating music that inspires, empowers, and entertains.
Saturday, November 9, 4pm
Singer-songwriter and pianist Anne Heaton has captured audience imaginations for over fifteen years with her songs that are, by turns, “tender, barbed and spiritual” (Washington Post). She’s been featured by the New York Times Popcast, played numerous times on NPR and shared the stage with artists such as Jewel, Sarah McLachlan and jazz drummer Max Roach. The New York Times music podcast called her music “absolutely gorgeous” and with “To the Light,” her seventh studio album, due out this November, Heaton is surrendering to her love of collaboration more than ever before.
“Pema Chodron refers to a Hopi Prophecy that says we no longer live in the time of the lone wolf,” Heaton explains, “and instead advises that we look and see who is around us. To me, this means that it’s more important than ever to create and live collaboratively. On this record, I wanted to stay connected to my music community across the country even though I was rooted to a place as the primary caregiver to my two daughters, now 8 and 6-years old. As each song was written, I thought of a musician-friend who might help me bring it fully to life. Then I reached out to that person. In this way, I was able to co-produce these songs with some amazingly talented friends including Alex Wong (Vienna Teng, Delta Rae), Mona Tavakoli (Jason Mraz, Raining Jane), Liam Davis (Justin Roberts) and Greg “Stryke” Chin who created my first ever electronic track!”
Other songwriters who contributed to the album include Natalia Zukerman, Shannon McNally, Beth Wood, Mai Bloomfield, Steve Dawson, Chaska Potter, Duke Levine, Frank Marotta, Jr., Meg Hutchinson, Jennifer Kimball, Erin Zindle and Laura Donohue. Even Heaton’s own daughters contributed by coming up with the initial ideas for the “Celebration Song” and the “Donut Song!”
“You never know what’ll show up when you sit down to write songs or what exactly the sound will be when you head into the studio to record, but what I believe has come through sonically on this record is music that’s rooted, danceable and more ‘in the body,’ while lyrically what has emerged is an invitation for us to connect to our essential joy and sense of celebration even when we are going through challenges, personally, in our communities or globally.”
Just as a lotus grows in the mud, some of our most incredible moments are born of a hardship. The songs in this collection invite the listener to find the light in the dark but without racing through difficult moments, finding a way out or around but rather to “let yourself be.” “When I think how lost I felt en route to this perfect moment. All that had to go right and wrong for me to come here and own it” opens Heaton’s spoken-word section of the pop-rock “Celebration Song,” while in hymn-like “Hope” she sings over simple piano and violin “I carry hope in my heart even when I don’t feel hope.” In “Joy” she sings “I let my fears rise up out of me, like smoke floating over the sea, I find the joy in my heart early, open my eyes to the birds, the trees.”
From the electronic rhythm of “Joy, ” the Annie Lennox-esque driving quality of “Rise,” to the layered, soulful, reflective shades of “Hannah” and “To the Light,” these songs offer comfort while exploring a wide breadth of emotion and ways of seeing from celebration to utter silliness to working through grief to risking connecting to our joy no matter the circumstances.
The album also includes a storybook! In addition to the music, Heaton has crafted a book of stories, one to go with each song. Every song will have a tale of how it came to exist along with the creativity keys that inspired its completion.
“I’m really looking forward to sharing this music and to talking to people during a time when there’s a lot of disconnection and/or limited connections over social media. There’s been a disallowing of the healthy expression of emotions and I seek another way. I want to nurture the change makers, the empaths, those who are leading and lighting our way. I see these songs as a companion to those on the transition team (which is all of us), an oxygen mask for us while big changes unfold on the planet, old systems fall apart and we co-create new ones.”
I’m going back to what I can’t remember, I want to rise…
To the steps of the mountain lion outrunning your machine
You can bring your chainsaw, but you can’t cut what you can’t see
Dragonflies hum out past the metal and steel
I sit by the water ‘til the water reveals
That the lone wolf is no longer, I know the rhythm’s getting fast
I know the middle of the river is the only way we can pass
Why don’t we go there? (From “Rise”)
Saturday, November 9, 5pm
Jennifer Jones creates an instant sonic sanctuary with her peaceful melodies, soft harmonies and delicate acoustic guitars. Her calming, introspective lyrics and serene music resonate with all walks of life and allow audiences to experience a bevy of relatable, lingering emotions. Each song is akin to becoming a better person and finding new ways to grow emotionally and spiritually. The Ann Arbor, Michigan singer-songwriter started weaving her beautiful folk-gospel sonic creations while attending Eastern Michigan University. She sought inspiration from Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Green, David Crowder, Jars of Clay and a multitude of other artists.
Originally a classically-trained pianist and cellist, Jones met several college friends who encouraged her to add acoustic guitars, soaring vocals and intimate songwriting to her repertoire. For Jones, it was the next logical step toward honing her craft and pushing the limits toward a new musical journey.
Throughout her musical journey, Jones has shared the stage with Erin Zindle & The Ragbirds, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The War and Treaty, The California Honeydrops, Lindsay Lou, Antwaun Stanley, the Ebird & Friends Holiday Show and Theo Katzman. She’s also performed at The Ark, one of the nation’s premier listening rooms, as well as Michigan house concerts and music festivals, including Earthwork Harvest Gathering and Holler Fest.
“There is something for everyone – there is something for the lonely, something for those who need comfort, and something for those who want the hope of joy. I create for myself and then get to share it, I just hope people enjoy the creations.”
Nia & Ness | BUY TICKETS
Saturday, November 9, 6pm, $15
Nia & Ness are a black, lesbian, dancer-poet performance art duo based in Brooklyn, NY. The duo met and became a couple in 2013, and founded their company in 2016. They have performed at multiple venues nationwide, sharing their work that aims at a deeper understanding of their co-reality through intense investigation of their individual identities. They premiered their first evening length work, run., in August 2017, and have been touring run. nationwide ever since. They have been keynote speakers at the 2018 FLAME Conference at Brown University, and have performed their work at schools such as the University of California Riverside, NYU, Sarah Lawrence College, Temple University, Bard College, Harvard College and more. The duo has worked with the Sadie Nash Leadership Project Summer Institute; and been featured in a 2017 BRIC TV segment, a documentary for The Advocate, Windy City Times, Dance Writer Australia, BRN GRL WIN, the Daily Voice, Autostraddle and on Radio Free Brooklyn. They’ve also performed at Brooklyn Pride 2017 and Harlem Pride 2018; the 2018 Ohio Lesbian Festival, The Michigan Framily Reunion, SisterSpace Festival; were recipients of the BAX Summer 2017 Space Grant, inaugural recipients of the 2018 Virginia Giordano Memorial Fund, and were the winners of the 2017 National Women’s Music Festival Emerging Artist Contest and performers in 2018. This year Nia & Ness premiered their second evening length show titled home. and are currently on tour with this work along with run.. To follow them on their journey, check them out on social media @niaandness.