April 23—Songwriting is like childbirth.
For composer Linda Rice Beck, the gestation lasted two years.
“We were supposed to play these songs two years ago, but because of COVID we had to push back,” she said, referring to a quartet of songs she wrote for the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble. .
The band will sing “The Raney Songs,” along with a lineup of composers ranging from Gwyneth Walker, Mark Sirett, Daniel J. Hall, Randall Thompson and more. The composers used poetry by Robert Frost, Julian of Norwich, Sara Teasdale, Langston Hughes and Hafiz.
Rice Beck based her music on the poetry of Raymond Raney, husband of ensemble director Linda Raney.
“They are tender and very poignant to me,” she said. “They are quite inspiring.
A Fellow of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Rice Beck has been a composer since childhood in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
“I started with the piano,” she said. “I’ve always been composing songs. I’ve written about 100 different songs. It’s mostly choral work.”
She didn’t realize she could become a composer until a professor at the University of Akron made the suggestion. Rice Beck specializes in music and education. She taught school before returning to New Mexico in 2004.
“I said, ‘I don’t have the experience for this; I am not professional. He said, “It comes from the heart.” “
Today, she begins on the piano, using a program called Finale to compose her work. His songs have been performed in Taos, Durango, Colorado, Ohio and Nashville.
“I don’t write real avant-garde music,” she said. “It’s pretty traditional. For me, making music is like giving birth. It takes nine months to get it so it can be released into the world.”
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
WHAT: “Songs of the Magnificent Creation,” Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble
WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1
WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, 208 Grant St., Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $25 plus fees; $10 plus military and student fees at sfwe.org. Mandatory masks and vaccines.