HOLLYWOOD—Vox Femina, under the Artistic Direction of its Founder, Iris Levine, has become a Los Angeles institution. Vox Femina Los Angeles gives women voice through the performance of quality choral literature. Diverse in culture, age, race, belief and sexual identity, we are a chorus committed to commissioning new works and raising awareness about issues that affect us as a family of women. Through music, we aim to create a world that affirms the worth and dignity of every person.
Last month Vox held an intimate event called “Iris in Wonderland” designed as a pre-curser to the next concert in their 2009-2010 series. This concert, in which Vox celebrates the glories, wonders and gifts of the natural world and adds her voice to those calling for us all to save Mother Nature, caps a year of volunteer activities to help preserve LA’s green spaces.
The fanciful day, held in the beautiful award-winning garden of the Dos Mujeres Estate of Altadena, had an eclectic gathering of wacky cast of character actors providing merriment including the March Hare (Joseph Fiorillo), the Red Queen (Pamela Munro) the White Queen (Joan Potter) and the Mad Hatter (Eldon Turner).
Also in attendance was Disney’s Hanna Montana star, Romi Dames (who could have easily played the title role of Alice), remarking “I had a wonderful time at the garden party! The grounds were absolutely beautiful; it was a lovely setting to compliment the Vox Femina choral group.” Adding, “I was so moved by the music —everyone was misty eyed when they sang about the predicament of the whales. The choir did an amazing job, and I left feeling uplifted and inspired.”
The organization was founded in January 1997 by Dr. Iris S. Levine and Stacey L. Poston. When the 21 founding members of Vox Femina Los Angeles (VFLA) first appeared on stage as guest artists with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) in April 1997, their much-heralded debut added a sparkling new dimension to the cultural life of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region.
Since that time, VFLA has quickly established itself as one of the premier women’s choruses in the United States with a demonstrated ability to perform highly eclectic repertoire, some of which can be heard on several recordings. It has actively fulfilled its mission through an aggressive schedule of performances, touring and educational outreach. VFLA has demonstrated its support and encouragement of living composers through commissioning new works.
Funded through grants and private donations, VFLA has ended every year since its inception in a positive financial position. VFLA operates on a July-June fiscal year. For those interested, auditions are held every August. Since its inception, Vox Femina Los Angeles has attained a level of musical excellence, community support and financial stability that may well be unequaled in any other chorus in such a short period of time.
Dr. Iris Levine explains, “Our theme is inspired by the enchanting garden venue for our tea party – the historic Dos Mujeres Estate, and also a bow to the character Alice from the recent film ”˜Alice in Wonderland.’”
In a magical re-telling, a 19-year-old Victorian-era Alice, frustrated by a future impending arranged marriage; again, falls down the rabbit hole and re-encounter her Wonderland. After a mystical adventure through an enchanted garden she emerges an independent spirit, confidant, renewed and a visionary!
Vox Femina lived up to its promise of an afternoon of tea in Wonderland. Beginning their adventure with guided garden tours, they visit a celebrity rose garden that includes Betty White, Doris Day and Queen Elizabeth roses, then promenade through the Japanese Garden and finally, through the pretty Kitchen Garden. Patrons were heard describing the even as a magical experience of beauty, music, art, nature and the most elegant repast imaginable.
Then it was time for “Teas of the World” in the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Room” with an array of favorite and exotic blends accompanied by a savory High-tea Buffet. Following this was scrumptious desserts paired with a cup of coffee or splash of champagne. Fun was had by all.
Photographs Courtey Peter Brown are as follows:
Seated, Left to Right, Joseph Fiorillo as the March Hare, Pamela Munro as the Red Queen (Standing, Left to Right), Peter Brown as Stayne, the Red Queen’s reticent consort, Vox Vice President Joan Potter as the White Queen and event producer Eldon Turner as the Mad Hatter.
Actress Romi Dames and Vox Femina’s Artistic Director, Dr. Iris Levine
Dr. Iris Levine introduces the ladies of Vox Femina Los Angeles