Song of Songs 2019 with Amiche Artists

arranged and produced by Sarah Carleton and Lara Lynn McGill

with text adapted from Song of Solomon by Sarah Carleton and music selected by Lara Lynn McGill from various composers and time periods

performed by actress Sarah Carleton, soprano Lara Lynn McGill, pianist Karen Jen Lin, and violinist Conlon-Gutierrez

For the second time Lara Lynn McGill and I produced a performance focused on the text from Song of Songs. Rather than our first performance in 2014 that involved a more linear plot and imagining we looked at themes in the text and focused on three themes of love through music and acting. We were also able to include two incredible musicians who performed with us - pianist Karen Jen Lin and violinist Maureen Conlon-Gutierrez.

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Selections from the February 17th performance at the First Presbyterian Church of Beaver


Program Notes

There have been many discussions as to how one should read Song of Songs.

Some suggest it follows a story line, others that it is a collection of poems around themes of love. In this

adaptation we chose to look at the themes the poetry explores and how powerfully those

themes reach across languages and time. The structure of the performance mirrors in many

ways our friendship as creators and women. A beautiful part of our friendship has been the

ways we have stood as witnesses to one another’s lives, the good and hard. In this adaptation

Lara and I have taken the poetry spoken by the woman in the text and interwoven it with music

that explores the emotions the woman is going through. As friends you will witness us walking

through a journey of love as we sing and speak the words and witness one another’s joys and

sorrows.

In the original text there is a part played by a group of friends who are similar to the role of the

Greek chorus found in Greek plays. We are inviting you into this journey as the role of the

friends. The questions asked by the friends is a reminder that our choice to love impacts not

just our own individual lives but our communities. We are reminded that choosing to love

again and again is a part of pouring love into the communities we live in. It is an act of Shalom.

The structure of the performance can be visualized in the art form called Kintsugi, which is a

Japanese art form that takes broken poetry and repairs it with gold. The gold is a reminder of

the brokenness, a witness to it, it is also a reminder of the immense value that the pottery

holds. We begin the performance with a whole beautiful piece of pottery or love in all its joys

and discovery. The second theme is when love or the pottery is broken, the experiences of

betrayal, divorce, or death that we may experience in love. And the final theme is the repairing.

The choice to see the value of love and to decide to open one’s heart to love again. The gold is a

witness of the journey of the pottery just as you as our audience are a witness to the journey of

this poetry and music. Love can open us to great pain but in choosing to love again it is a

practice of choosing healing and Shalom for our communities.

May we choose love. Love that is stronger than our fears. Love that creates Shalom for our

communities and world. Sarah Carleton