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March 10, 2003

Musical celebrating women's history comes to Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – In recognition of Women's History Month, the Women's Resource Office and the Women's Studies Program at Purdue University will present a program entitled Remember the Ladies: A Musical Celebration of Women from Colonial Days to the Present.

Denise Wilson and Michael Lewis of the band Traveler's Dream will perform the program at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.

Remember the Ladies celebrates the accomplishments of American women throughout history. Women whose voices are represented through song include pioneers, slaves, Native Americans, immigrants, mill workers, union organizers, suffragists, feminists, farmers, soldiers, mothers, daughters and wives.

Music for the program includes songs which traveled from foreign countries to the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries. Wilson says she actively searched for the music after 15 years of performing traditional music that rarely mentioned women.

"When women appear in folk songs at all, they are most commonly portrayed as murder victims or heartsick women waiting for their lovers to return from war or sea," Wilson says. "Finding songs to represent the experiences of socially and ethnically diverse women across three centuries was a challenging but incredibly satisfying experience."

Wilson, along with her musical partner and fiancé Michael Lewis, will play a variety of instruments including the guitar, Irish flute, mandolin, penny whistle and Scottish smallpipes. The performance will appeal to folk music enthusiasts, Celtic music fans, French music followers and history buffs.

Wilson graduated from Purdue in 1981 with a degree in French and earned a master's degree in 1985. She also holds a doctoral degree in American history. Prior to performing with Traveler's Dream, Wilson formed and toured with her ethnic band, Bon Jolais, for more than a decade. She also has served as a college history professor.

A professional songwriter and guitarist, Lewis has made guest appearances as a studio musician for nationally aired recordings. The Indiana Arts Commission awarded him a grant in 2001 to write four songs about Midwestern culture and history. Between performances Lewis also arranges and records music for other regional musicians at his recording studio, Middle Earth.

CONTACT: Karen Hall, Women's Resource Office director, (765) 494-9879, wro@purdue.edu.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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