News & Newsletter  

2024 Updates:

Press Release: Resounding Voices

MARCH 31, 2024 by LYN LOEWI

More than two dozen hymns from Resounding Voices have been accepted into a forthcoming publication by the Association of Anglican Musicians and Church Publishing, Inc. The hymns address the topic of Lent, Healing, and Renewal.  Titles include:


The WSMP is pleased to see these hymns reach a larger audience.  Resounding Voices was published in December, 2023.

If you have not yet downloaded all 73 songs, you can do so here.

Earlier Updates:

Young Women Composers Camp 2020 Commission


Women’s Sacred Music Project is proud to share the World Premiere of “I Cannot Dance, O Love,” which was composed by Sarah Kitten and used text from the Voices Found hymnal by J.W. Janzen. This composition was commissioned through an ongoing partnership with the Young Women Composers Camp.

YWCC, which is now Wildflower Composers, aims to amplify the voices of young female-identifying and non-binary composers, to allow them access to a high level of musical training, and to work towards a more equitable and diverse composition field. The camp is hosted at Temple University, Boyer College of Music and Dance. More information on the camp can be found at:

Executive Director, Dr. Edward Latham, nominated for Pauline Alderman Award


Executive Director, Ted Latham, has been nominated by the International Alliance for Women in Music for the 2020 Pauline Alderman Award for his recent chapter on Amy Beach’s music, published by Oxford University Press.

Amy Beach, “Phantoms,” Op. 15, No. 2 (1892): Analytical Essays on Music by Women Composers: Secular & Sacred Music to 1900

With “Phantoms,” the second solo piano piece from her Four Sketches op. 15 (1892), American composer Amy Beach adopts a “strategic” approach to tonality that manipulates formal, harmonic, and linear closure. The analysis presented in this chapter demonstrates, through a close reading of the phrase structure, harmonic vocabulary, textures, motivic design, and voice leading of the piece, Beach’s aptitude for tonal obfuscation, which she employs to convey a sense of the epigraph she borrowed from Victor Hugo: “Toutes fragiles fleurs, sitôt que nées” (“Such fragile flowers, as soon as they are born”). The melody she constructs is indeed fragile, floating as it does over various “misharmonizations,” and including not one but two gaps in its descent from ‸5 to the tonic. By avoiding explicit melodic reference to ‸4 and ‸2 and making abundant use of registral coupling, Beach compellingly captures the ethereal quality of the flowers described by Hugo.

New Executive Director and Board Member Appointed


At its May 15 meeting, the Board of Directors unanimously and enthusiastically approved Dr. Ted Latham as the new Executive Director of the Women’s Sacred Music Project, and Ms. Lisa Willson DeNolfo as the newest member of the Board. Dr. Latham and Ms. Willson DeNolfo’s bios are reprinted below. Welcome, Ted and Lisa!

Dr. Edward D. Latham (B.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University) is currently Director of Liturgical Music at St. Thomas of Villanova Parish in Villanova, PA and St. Katharine of Siena Parish in Wayne, PA, and Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of the DMA in Music Performance at Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance in Philadelphia, PA, where he was the recipient of the 2008 Lindback Award and the 2007 Teaching Academy Award for excellence in teaching. Dr. Latham’s book, Tonality as Drama: Closure and Interruption in Four Twentieth-Century American Operas, is available from the University of North Texas Press. He is a Research Associate in the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr College, where he directs the 30-voice Bryn Mawr Renaissance Choir, and is both the Music Director of the 40-voice Villanova Singers and the 60-voice Main Line Singers. As a professional singer, he has performed with the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir (the resident choir of the Philadelphia Orchestra), the Philadelphia Heritage Chorale (with Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli, and Juanes, for Pope Francis), the Philadelphia Singers, the Philadelphia Chamber Choir, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, and the Minnesota Chorale, and has appeared in concerts and productions at the Kimmel Center, the Arden Theater, The Boyer College of Music and Dance, and the Philly Fringe Festival. He is a Yale Whiffenpoof, and sings locally with the all-male groups The Tonics and the Orpheus Club of Philadelphia.

Lisa Willson DeNolfo (MM, Vocal Performance, Manhattan School of Music; Juilliard Opera Center; Academy of Vocal Arts), a leading soprano singing throughout Europe and the United States, has taught voice for twenty years, including at her Willson Vocal Academy on the Main Line for eleven years. In addition to maintaining her private studio, Lisa is choral director for the Musical Coterie of Wayne’s Women’s Chorus. She was on staff at Merion Mercy Academy for seven years as a private voice instructor and Choral Director and has been an adjunct voice professor at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Lisa’s students have have been prize winners in numerous competitions such as NATS, Tri-County Concerts Youth Festival, The Classical Singer and America’s Got Talent. Her students have gone on to prestigious universities and conservatories such as Harvard, Boston Conservatory, the Manhattan School of Music, The Berklee College of Music, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Steinhardt School, NYU’s New Studio on Broadway, Cap 21, Boston University, Temple University, and University of Miami, to pursue their careers in classical performance, musical theater, commercial music, jazz, music education, music business, and music therapy.

Executive Director, Women’s Sacred Music Project

FEBRUARY 13, 2019 by ADMIN

Applications are closed.

In anticipation of the retirement of founding President Lisa Neufeld Thomas, the board of the Women’s Sacred Music Project (founded in 1995 in Philadelphia) is soliciting proposals from experienced church musicians interested in assuming a leadership role in the organization by September of 2019. A short history of the organization may be found here.

The board seeks to engage qualified candidates with a passion for the work of women composers in submitting proposals of how they would carry forward the mission of WSMP in relation to their current professional interests and priorities. While the position up to now has been a volunteer role performed by the founder, there is seed money for a part-time salary and/or administrative assistance, as well as a designated fund for commissioning new hymns, anthems,  or liturgical music from women composers and writers. The Board is open to amending titles and job descriptions to allow concentration on the music and program, with the Executive Director position separate from the Board Chair.

Building on the foundation of the supplementary hymnal Voices Found (2003) and numerous commissions of hymns and anthems over the years, types of proposals might include

However, other ideas are also welcomed and encouraged. Rather than prescribing specifically how the mission is to be carried forward, the board is seeking entrepreneurial individuals who would bring their own personal stamp to building on an important legacy.

Applications are closed.

Commissioned anthem “The Song of Hannah”


To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the publication of Voices Found, the Women’s Sacred Music Project commissioned a new anthem from Philadelphia-based composer Andrea Clearfield.  The Song of Hannah is a choral setting of the Biblical passage from 1 Samuel chapter 2, in which Hannah praises God for giving her a son, Samuel.  

On Friday November 9th, 2018 The Song of Hannah received its premiere at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, as an anthem during the opening Eucharist of the 2018 Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. Director of Music Thomas Lloyd directed the Cathedral Singers.

On November 18, 2018, when the Song of Hannah was appointed in the lectionary,
the anthem was also performed at Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square, St. Martin in the Fields, Chestnut Hill, and again at the Cathedral.  The anthem will be published by G. Schirmer in 2019.

Andrea Clearfield is an award-winning composer who has written more than 150 works for orchestra, opera, chorus, chamber ensemble, dance, and multimedia collaborations. Clearfield creates deep, emotive musical languages that build cultural and artistic bridges. Recent works are inspired by Tibetan music fieldwork that she conducted in the Nepalese Himalaya. Among her works are ten cantatas for voices and orchestra, including one for The Philadelphia Orchestra. She was recently appointed the Steven R. Gerber Composer in Residence with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for their 2018-19 season. Dr. Clearfield was awarded a 2017 Independence Foundation Fellowship, a 2016 Pew Fellowship in the Arts and fellowships at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, American Academy in Rome, Yaddo, Ucross, Wurlitzer Foundation, Copland House and the MacDowell Colony among others. Her music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard and Seeadot and recorded on the Bridge, Sony, MSR, Albany, Crystal and Innova labels. Passionate for building community around the arts, she is founder and host of the renowned Salon featuring contemporary, classical, jazz, electronic, dance, and world music.

Commission: “Mothers of Moses”

OCTOBER 6, 2016 by ADMIN

Commissioned by WSMP, the premiere of a new chamber composition “Mothers of Moses” was presented at Rosemont College. Music by Rene Orth, libretto by Ellen Frankel,  Set for three singers and two instruments, the performance featured students of the  Curtis Institute led by the composer.  An interfaith symposium with panelists commenting on the libretto text preceded the musical performance.

Browse the program for details of performers, panelists, and sponsors.

A second performance was heard at the Germantown Jewish Center on April 2nd, 2017.  It was followed by an interfaith panel discussion and Seder.

20th Anniversary Celebration

OCTOBER 16, 2015 by ADMIN

Scores of Women’s Sacred Music Project supporters joined in the happy celebration of its twentieth anniversary at the dinner October 15, 2015 at the Overbrook Golf Club.  The Rev. Erika Takacs and the Boys and Girls Choir of St. Mark’s Church, Locust Street, sang musical tributes to the honorees, the Rt. Rev. Frank Griswold, former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, retired Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts, and Rosemont College.  Each of the honorees had been key supporters in the beginnings of the WSMP.

The dinner climaxed a significant fundraising campaign to provide a solid base for the future work of the group.  The WSMP board set aside funds as the Margaret M. Healy Commission Fund, to enable the WSMP to commission works carrying forward the mission of the Women’s Sacred Music Project. Margaret Healy, former President of Rosemont College, has been a strong, generous, and longtime leader and supporter of the Project and recently retired from the Board. She was the key leader in this campaign.

The remainder will make possible the important “Mothers of Moses” performance on October 6, 2016 at Rosemont College, and other WSMP initiatives. At the dinner Lisa Thomas, President of the Women’s Sacred Music Project, introduced composer Rene Orth, who will be composing for the October 16 event.

The WSMP is deeply grateful to all who made possible these significant steps forward.

Sharing our Voices

OCTOBER 26, 2014 by ADMIN

A Multifaith Gathering in Song

Alice Parker, a well-known American composer and choral director, has commented that, “Music is, for me, the most potent means of communicating that exists to unite people.” In that spirit, The Women’s Sacred Music Project and Rosemont College presented “Sharing our Voices,” on Sunday, October 26, 2014  in the Chapel on the Rosemont College campus in Rosemont, PA.

With the goal of bringing people together and making friends through sacred song, five area choral groups representing Jewish, Christian, Islamic faiths and Sufi traditions, gathered to share music from their own traditions. Each group performed and then taught one song to the chorus members and the gathered community, giving all participants the opportunity to enrich and expand their spiritual and musical horizons.

Participating groups:

MIRAJ (Margot Stein, Rayzel Raphael, and Juliet Spitzer). MIRAJ is a Jewish feminist a cappella trio blending their names, visions, and voices to offer richly harmonic, original compositions performed with soul and spirit.  MIRAJ offers music for rituals, offerings for Shabbat and holidays, and new   interpretations of traditional liturgies.

The Rosemont College Chapel Choir, directed by Mary S. Callaghan. The R C Choir consists of a generous group of volunteers who enjoy singing and praising God through their voices. These are College students who manage to attend practices in the midst of busy days on campus.

The St. Mark’s Choir of Boys and Girls directed by Darryl Roland, with Erika Takacs, mezzo-soprano. The newly formed Boys and Girls Choir of Saint Mark’s Church builds on the English cathedral tradition of training young voices to provide liturgical leadership in song.

The Sufi Singers, directed by Jeanne Hockenberry. The Sufi Singers is an ad hoc group made of members of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship. Their repertoire is gathered almost exclusively from countless songs sung earlier by M. R. Bawa Muhayaddeen, a Sufi Saint and Qutb of the present era, who came to the United States in 1971 and founded this Fellowship for the guidance of all those who are on the path of Truth and Light regardless of race, color, religious affiliation, gender, caste, or ethnic background.

SheWho, directed by Karen Escovitz. SheWho is Philadelphia’s feminist women’s vocal ensemble dedicated to the beauty, power, and importance of women’s voices.  They sing to celebrate their diverse experiences of Spirit, and to promote social change and justice.

Interfaith Concert: Celebrating Esther

March 16, 2014 by ADMIN

Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square


Kun fa ya Kun, God says Be and it Is (Islamic text set to medieval conductus)

“Esther” from Women of Valor by Andrea Clearfield, soprano duet with instruments

O frondens Virga, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) soprano solo

Ave Regina Caelorum, Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704) SATB

Abendfeier in Venedig, Clara Schuman (1819-1896) SATB

Mein Stern, Clara Schumann, soprano solo

Esther (1718) Act III by George Frederic Handel (1685-1756)

Further information

Isabella Leonarda
Clara Schumann
Hildegard of Bingen

WSMP celebrates 10th anniversary of Voices Found


2013 marks the beginning of a year of celebration for the Women’s Sacred Music Project. It is the 10th anniversary of the publication by Church Publishing, Inc. of the Episcopal hymnal supplement Voices Found: Women in the Church’s Song. Voices Found is the first publication of liturgical music that focuses on music by, for, and about women.

The publication resulted from early pioneering by a women’s study group organized at St.Mark’s, Locust St., in 1995, following a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church. That group was interested in encouraging women in the pews to find their voices in the Church. They wanted to worship with inclusive language materials and liturgical song by women. The Reverend Paulette Schiff, Associate Rector of the church, encouraged the group and presided at an inclusive language Eucharist in the Lady Chapel of St. Mark’s. She asked Lisa Neufeld Thomas, a member of the group, to find and play music for that service. When Mrs. Thomas found some appropriate music Paulette sang it at the service and supported the formation of a singing group to present the music that was generated. That choral group became known as the Lady Chapel Singers, a small ensemble that sang for the service at St. Mark’s and in time presented music by women in liturgical and concert venues throughout the US and abroad. Mother Paulette frequently sang with the group and participated in some of their tours. Most of the repertoire of the Lady Chapel Singers was published in 2003 in Voices Found.

In 1996 activities of the singing group came to the attention of then Diocesan Bishop Allen Bartlett who supported more extensive research and eventually introduced a resolution at General Convention to direct the publication of music by, for, and about women by Church Publishing. General Convention passed the resolution in 1997. Lisa Neufeld Thomas, leader of the Lady Chapel Singers, became convener of the several hymnal committees, and is now President of WSMP. She is most grateful to Mother Paulette for her initial support and nurturance of the infant project and to Bishop Bartlett, without whom Voices Found would never have been published. Therefore the first celebration of the 2013 anniversary, April 13, 2013, is a tribute to these two Church leaders.

Symposium and Concert: Women of Valor


The Women’s Sacred Music Project, the Daylesford Abbey, and the Germantown Jewish Centre presented an exciting performance of Andrea Clearfield’s “Women of Valor Suite,” with a newly commissioned piece, “Hagar,” composed by Clearfield, libretto by Ellen Frankel, and performed in a special chamber version. Featured were sopranos Elizabeth Racheva and Suzanne Du Plantis.

The concert, which took place at the Daylesford Abbey on Sunday afternoon, September 18, 2011, was preceded by a symposium focusing on the image of the Woman of Valor described in Proverbs 31 and in Muslim tradition, exploring Jewish, Christian and Muslim responses to this figure. Presenters were Susan Teegen-Case, librettist Ellen Frankel, Zakiya Islam, and composer Andrea Clearfield.

The program was repeated on September 24, as the lead-in program for Germantown Jewish’s Centre’s observance of S’lichot, a midnight penitential service in preparation for the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

Andrea Clearfield originally composed “Women of Valor,” her doctoral dissertation, as an oratorio for soprano, mezzo-soprano, narrator, and orchestra.  The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony premiered it in April 2000.  She subsequently wrote a chamber arrangement for soprano, mezzo-soprano, piano, violin, and percussion.  The oratorio highlights women in the Hebrew Scriptures, and was conceived as a midrash on the Proverbs 31 text describing a woman of valor, or in an Anglicized translation, “the goodly wife.”

WSMP became interested in the chamber version of “Women of Valor” and presented an aria from it, “Jocheved” in 1997.  The aria is a lullaby sung by the mother of Moses as she puts her tiny son into a basket and slips him into the Nile.  WSMP later commissioned an SSA choral arrangement of “Jocheved’s Song” so that The Lady Chapel Singers could sing it.  It was recorded on the CD, “Magdalene and the Other Mary.”   A simple version arranged for cantor, keyboard, and congregation is published in the Leader’s Guide to Voices Found.

Voices Found: Choral Anthem Contest

NOVEMBER 14, 2009 by ADMIN

The Women’s Sacred Music Project is proud to announce the winners of the Voices Found Anthem contest. WSMP has awarded two first prizes of $3000 each.

All texts are from the hymnal supplement Voices Found. The compositions were premiered at the Voices Found symposium held November 14, 2009, at the Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

Ruth Watson Henderson has an international reputation as one of Canada’s leading composers and as an admired pianist and organist.

Known especially as a composer of choral works, she has done much to promote the artistry of children through her wealth of compositions for treble voices, using the expertise gleaned over the 28 years she served as the accompanist of the Toronto Children’s Chorus under Jean Ashworth Bartle, until they both retired in 2007. She has at the same time written a wide spectrum of works for adult choirs – an activity started while she was accompanist of the Festival Singers of Canada under Dr. Elmer Iseler.

Her works are acclaimed, performed and recorded worldwide. Her pieces are often featured as the title track on recordings, such as My Heart Soars (TCC), Come, Ye Makers of Song (TCC), The Last Straw (Amabile Boys Choirs) and When Music Sounds (Oriana Singers). The Elmer Iseler Singers released a CD, Sing All Ye Joyful, devoted to the works of Ruth Watson Henderson.

Although most widely known for her prolific output of choral works, Ms Watson Henderson has also written numerous instrumental compositions. As well as her solo organ pieces, these include her Intrada for Trumpet and Organ, her Fantasy for Saxophone and Organ, and Suite for Violin and Organ.

Recognized for her lifetime of service to music, Ruth has been paid many tributes by the music community. She was honoured by the conferring of an honorary Fellowship by the Royal Canadian College of Organists (FRCCO); she received the National Choral Award for Outstanding Choral Composition for Voices of Earth, and the Distinguished Service Award by the Ontario Choral Federation. As a tribute to her on first her 60th, and then her 70th birthdays, numerous fine choirs performed entire concerts of her works; these choirs included the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Toronto Children’s Chorus and the Oriana Women’s Choir of Toronto.

Ruth Watson Henderson continues to serve as the Music Director at Kingsway-Lambton United Church in Toronto.

Fiona Fraser began her musical studies on piano at age 7 and began composing music at age 9.

Since graduating from Sydney University in 1983 with Honours degrees in Arts (History) and Social Work degrees, Fiona has led an eclectic career. She worked initially as a mental health Social Worker in rural NSW and Canberra before transferring to the Commonwealth Australian Government where she worked as a policy advisor in a number of health and welfare areas including Aboriginal health. She also managed a major research and development project for the Australian Customs Service in the use of biometric technology to facilitate border control. During this time, Fiona pursued her musical interests as a church organist and choir singer, composing music for her own use or for use in a liturgical context.

Fiona returned to university in 2005 to undertake her first formal studies in composition and studied at the Australian National University’s School of Music with eminent Australian composer Larry Sitsky and leading theatre composer, Jim Cotter. She completed a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours and the University Medal in 2008.

Fiona was awarded the ANU’s Harold Allen Memorial Prize for the leading composition student in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 she was awarded the Peter and Lena Karmel Anniversary Prize in Music awarded each year to the best graduating student in the School of Music.

Fiona has built up an impressive portfolio of works including 4 orchestral works, a one-act chamber opera, choral works, songs, theatre work and numerous chamber and solo instrumental works.

The ANU Symphony Orchestra premiered her first orchestral work Piscean Pandemonium in October 2006. They also performed a second orchestral piece, Mabbul, based on the biblical flood story and its relevance to global warming, in October 2007.

Also in 2006, the Canberra Wayfarers, in conjunction with Music da Camera, performed Fiona’s Prayer for Peace at Canberra’s Albert Hall on UN International Peace Day. This work for 3 soloists, choir and string orchestra written following the London terrorist bombings in 2005, is based on prayers for peace from different religious traditions.

Canberra-based groups, The Gryffin Ensemble and DominantSeven have both premiered new works by Fiona Fraser in 2007 and 2008 and the Gryffin Ensemble will be recording To Boldly Go in 2009.

Other major works include Quiddity for solo harp, recorded in concert by the ABC in 2008, a 5 movement suite for brass quintet, premiered by the ANU Brass Ensemble in May 2007, a 3 movement flute sonata, premiered at the ANU School of Music in May 2006 and numerous songs and choral arrangements. In 2005, Fiona also contributed music for Canberra Repertory’s acclaimed production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.

Currently Fiona is working with the Canberra Street Theatre who received an Arts ACT grant to assist in developing and staging Fiona’s opera .A Capital Idyll, in 2009.

In 2009 Fiona was awarded a Commonwealth Post-Graduate Scholarship and is currently engaged in Phd studies in composition at the Australian National University. She also teaches composition in the pre-tertiary program at the ANU School of Music and is the Director of Music at Holy Covenant Anglican (Episcopal) Church in Canberra.

Her research interest is the influence of theosophy on composers in the early part of the twentieth century. She has already typeset and edited a series of “Nature Studies” by the early twentieth century Australian composer Phyllis Campbell which were published by Keys Press in 2008.

Dorothy J. Frisch is Composer-in-Residence and Associate Organist of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Southbridge, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Calvin College (Bachelor of Arts in Music, with a concentration in organ), and the University of Akron (Master of Music in history and literature). She has studied composition with Alice Parker and Jeanne Cotter. Since graduate school, she has worked in Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts as composer and organist. She has played the organ in Baptist, Catholic, Christian Reformed, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed, and United Church of Christ churches. Most recently, she was Interim Music Director of Elm St. Congregational Church in Southbridge (2007), Choir Director/Organist of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Putnam, Connecticut (2005-2007), and Cantor/Organist of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2002-2004). Throughout her career, she has focused on encouraging as many people as possible to use their musical gifts in worship, arranging music as needed. She taught vocal music to grades K-7 of St. Matthew Christian Academy and wrote two Christmas plays for the students.

Dorothy is the arranger of the songs for Glad to Be Alive!: A Musical Character Education Program of 54 Songs for Elementary Children by Kathryn S. Atman. She created and ran a pilot program of several of the songs for St. Matthew Christian Academy. Volume I of Glad to Be Alive! will be published in 2009. Her choral anthem “O God, Our Lives Are Parched and Dry” will be published by GIA.

In addition to writing music for singers of all ages (preschoolers through adults) and for the usual church groups and instruments (children’s choir, adult choir, handbell choir, organ, and piano), Dorothy has specialized in composing and arranging music for unusual combinations of instruments and voices. In her time at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Dorothy has composed several anthems, the cantata One Cold, Clear Night in Bethlehem, “Exultation” for euphonium and organ, and “Gaudeamus Pariter” for euphonium and piano. She is a member of the Holy Trinity Choir and sings alto in the Holy Trinity Quartet. She is presently writing The Dawning Day, an Easter cantata scheduled for Easter 2010.

Dorothy is a member of the American Guild of Organists, Worcester Chapter. She is married to Kurt C. Frisch, Jr., Associate Research Fellow at Rogers Corporation, and vestry senior warden, choir member, and soloist at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

They are the parents of Kurt C. Frisch III, accountant and euphonium player, and Sarah E. Frisch, college student.