Prairie Girl: circa 1955-67

Seven songs for mezzo-soprano and piano. These songs focus on growing up in a rural, isolated environment. Premiered at the Women in Music Festival, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY (2008);  WMP Concert Hall, New York, NY in collaboration with Chamber 16 (2011).

II. Forbidden Room

A scrap of wood, some old red paint---

makings of a fine birdhouse,

earning “The Grandma Seal of Disapproval!”


In the dark, grime-encrusted land of boydom,

the broken-toothed hag of a saw buckles.

Eight years of might sweats over callous wood.

Vise, wood, saw crash through to Kingdom come!


Crossly dragging his leg,

cane in hand, white head shaking,

Gramps sighs wearily at my birdhouse fantasy.

Watery eyes gaze at lost hope.


Pounding harder! Nails bending!

      “Damn!” he cries. Finger exchanged for nail.

By alchemy, kerosene and rust-filled sludge

      turn into red-orange smelly drips.

Masterpiece completed.

      Misshapen, malodorous, streaked.

Like my boydom, imperfect

"Forbidden Room" from 

Prairie Girl, circa 1955-67


Anna Schumate, Soprano

Mary Bopp, Piano (November 2010)

WMP Concert Hall, Manhattan

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