May 17 “Dreamland” Honors Mary Ann Bisio

  • May 13, 2009
[caption id="attachment_2886" align="alignright" width="194" caption="Debra Scroggins Sowerwine"][/caption]When Coro Pacifica, the young women's ensemble of the Pacific Youth Choir performs "Dreamland" Sunday May 17 in Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland, it will be an emotional moment for audiences and for the composer. Debra Scroggins Sowerwine wrote the music in memory of Mary Ann Bisio, a fellow member of the OBF Chorus. They met in 2001, Debra’s first year with the choir. Through an email, Debra shared her recollection of creating the music for her friend. “Mary Ann was a dear friend that I met through OBF Chorus, and I was deeply stunned and saddened by her death. In working through my shock and grief I wrote this women's choral piece to share with the other women at OBF as a vehicle for us to acknowledge our grief, as we gathered just months after she passed. After chorus rehearsal one day Peter Hopkins and Kathy Romey agreed to let those that wished to do so to stay and read the piece together. It was a moving experience for us all to express our emotions in such a personal way. Kathy suggested that we make a recording and give it to Mary Ann's parents as a memorial gift, along with a printed copy of the music. We recorded it a day or so later and I sent it to her parents.” Dreamland was premiered in Dallas in 2006 in an SATB version; the SSAA setting for women’s voices was premiered last year. Debra lives and works in Dallas, thriving with a large studio of private voice students and singing professionally, both with choruses such as the OBF’s, and as a soloist—she recently made her Lincoln Center debut, conducted by former OBF singer Dwight Uphaus. She was just named the Texas Music Teachers' Association Commissioned Composer 2010, with her commissioned composition to be Texas' entry in the 2010 Music Teachers' National Association competition. Still, she will find time to be in Portland as Mia Hall Savage conducts the Oregon premiere of Dreamland. “I wouldn't miss it for the world!” You can hear Dreamland at Debra's website The Pacific Youth Choir concert takes place at 5 pm May 17 in Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, NW 19th and Everett, in Portland. Tickets are available at the door. For more information click or call (503) 780-1675.