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Sep. 20, 2023

The National First Ladies’ Library and Museum hosts the world premiere of a new set of musical compositions inspired by the First Ladies of the United States at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 15 in Canton, Ohio.

The performance, titled East Wing Songs Volume II, features a lecture-recital format and will be performed by mezzo soprano Ann Marie Daehn, Professor at Missouri State University, alongside her long-time collaborator Dr. Elizabeth Avery. Musical compositions are the work of composer Linda Lister. The first installment of East Wing Songs debuted in Canton in fall 2022 and toured around the country.

Linda Lister is Professor of Music and Director of Opera at UNLV. She sings her own compositions on the Albany Records release Pleas to Famous Fairies. Her three one-act operas (State of Grace, Body of Art, and How Clear She Shines!) delve into subjects such as breast cancer survivorship, body image, and the Brontë sisters. "Exploring the writings of our First Ladies has been illuminating and inspiring.,” Lister said. “I hope my musical settings are able to enhance and spotlight their insights, intelligence, and empathy."

Texts were adapted from primary sources when possible, including letters, speeches, biographies, interviews, and diaries. Volume II will include songs memorializing First Ladies Louisa Adams, Ellen Wilson and Edith Wilson, Lady Bird Johnson, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton. This installment of the lecture recital will also include Civil Words by Jennifer Higdon, compositions inspired by Civil War era poetry.

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