International Women's Day 2020

The Chelsea Symphony’s March 6-7 series, "Songs of Hope," is a celebration of the American experience in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th. It also features our first concert program of works entirely by living composers!

The motto for International Women’s Day 2020 is:

An equal world is an enabled world.

Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.

We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.

Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.

Let's all be #EachforEqual.

The idea of a commemorative month or day may not have personal resonance unless one’s individual experience or network includes a direct tie to the source, or perhaps if the event affords the luxury of a little more time (the coveted weekday holiday, if such a thing exists in your work structure) in which case it may be celebrated in, well, a different kind of way. 

It has not been until recently that my personal attitude towards such commemorative days or months has been anything more than ambivalent, at best. What does it even mean to have an institutionalized holiday designed to celebrate women? (To be clear, "women" here means the entire spectrum of women- and/or female-identified people). Further, what does it mean that such a celebration was deemed necessary for a group of people representing at least 51% of the U.S. population?

There are a myriad of reasons why it’s correct to say that we live in uncertain times. To my mind, one of these is the anxiety we feel owing to the disjunction between living in an age when it has never been more possible to share personal stories and form meaningful communities while at the same time living in a society that proceeds with a powerful momentum of institutionalized privilege for a small few.

It has become increasingly important to ground oneself in what one holds to be true in their identity and to find a community that supports who we are as we choose to express ourselves.

The same technology that connects us to larger communities often forces us to live increasingly physically solitary lives. In this context, it seems to me that opportunities to express our identities and to participate in communities needs to be brought out of the purely digital and social media realms and into real-world applications. As important and wonderful as it is to express solidarity with communities through social media, there is nothing as meaningful or impactful as coming together in the real world, and sharing a real experience. Music, whose power to move and to motivate is beyond question, is one way we can share an experience in person and in real time.

By being a part of the organizational leadership as the executive director (in a majority women-led board) I’m proud to be a proponent of presentation. To start a paradigm shift, we need to build a foundation of creative models.

As a featured performer in this concert (in a cast of four strong women), I’m thrilled to be in such awe inspiring company. To dedicate yourself to your craft is an act of revolution.

This concert represents one droplet in the wave for an equal, enabled world.

Creating viable models where inclusive recognition as the standard, not a list of checkboxes for a marketing team, creates space to allow for a richness to the collective human experience.

Please join us in celebrating women’s achievement through what is as much a part of our identity as our community - music.


The six featured artists on the March series are striking the #EachforEqual pose to motivate others and to make International Women's Day our day.

Making a positive difference for women everywhere, from left to right:
Bonita Oliver, Tim Kiah, Onome, Mark Seto, Matthew Aubin, Emily Wong, Michael Boyman, Jessica Santiago