MUSE eNewsletter
Fall 2014
In This Issue
Season Opener
MD Update
Silent Auction
Mission Possible
Member Spotlight
Friends of MUSE

Scott E. Knox, Attorneys at Law

Season Opens Swiftly
Reaching Out, Filling Hearts

As I begin my second season with MUSE, Cincinnati's Women's Choir, I am grateful for the richness it has brought to my life. I've met so many wonderful people here, and am excited to celebrate the unique gifts we have to offer the community.

This season has already been busy and shows no signs of slowing. We held auditions, began rehearsals, attended our annual Grailville retreat, and performed several concerts. MUSE's first concert took place two weeks after we started. We revived our 2014 International Women's Day Concert "Beyond Borders: Stories of Courage Songs of Hope" for the faculty, staff, and students of Wilmington College. We offered our musical gifts for a fundraising performance for Lydia's House, a haven for homeless women and children, and for Cliftonfest, which had people dancing in the streets!

Our first self-produced concert will be on November 22, 2014. MUSE is excited to present, "Unresolved," together with our special guests, Cincinnati Collaborative Ringing Project (CCRP). "Unresolved" will address important issues that continually plague our society, including racism, confusion, and war. Although the issues are heavy and weigh on our world, our music will uplift, heal, and provide hope. We sing of peace, love, and joy. Listen for "Turn the World Around," a Harry Belafonte piece arranged for MUSE, CCRP, and steel drums. You will leave with a song in your heart!

Our concerts will take place at historic Memorial Hall at 2pm and again at 7pm. MUSE will also host a silent auction where concert guests can bid on an array of items, from Cincinnati entertainment and personalized, prepared meals to handmade crafts, and furniture. Following the evening concert, guests may enjoy hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

As we progress in our 32nd season, MUSE continues to educate, inspire, and entertain our audiences with music. We strive to make each concert an experience that moves you to think, feel, and act. I look forward to seeing you on November 22, 2014 for our silent auction and "Unresolved." You will not be disappointed!  


Peace and Joy,

Rhonda Juliano

MUSE Artistic Director

Administrative Update: 
MUSE Fills Vacant Managing Director Position

Last July, we learned that Haley Elkins would not be returning as Managing Director at the end of her contract year. Haley helped us grow in many ways this past year as we moved into a new era for MUSE. We would like to thank Haley, and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.

Since August, many people have been filling in the gaps to keep MUSE operating. We would especially like to thank Rachel Kramer, Accompanist/Associate Director Emerita, who returned to MUSE to see us through this time of transition.


Upon receiving notice of Haley's decision to leave, a Managing Director Search Committee convened. The committee, comprised of singing and board members, spent countless hours looking for that "perfect-fit" candidate. I am pleased to announce that we've found such a person.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Melissa Stephens, our new

Managing Director. Melissa's serendipitous route to this role has been a journey from Bloomington, IN to Princeton, NC, and back home again to Cincinnati. Her many leadership roles in faith communities have provided experience in volunteer recruiting, fundraising, and organizational dynamics. Melissa's most recent professional position broadened her experience to the nonprofit arena as the Executive Director of Shoulder To Shoulder, Inc., a poverty relief organization serving Northern Kentucky's urban core. Melissa is ardent about women in leadership, and attributes this to her mother, an original feminist who raised a generation (and now a second generation) in a bold awareness of the significance of their femininity. Additionally, Melissa is no stranger to the stage, and sings a strong alto in church choirs. We look forward to Melissa's added energy, organization, and passion for our work. Welcome, Melissa!  

Mollie Ward Jimmar, AI

MUSE Board Secretary, Managing Director Search Chair

One Fun-Filled Event! 
Concert and Silent Auction Action

Do you like a deal? We sure hope so, because weekend cabin packages, theater tickets, jewelry, and many more beautiful items are up for grabs - just in time for holiday gift giving! Visit the MUSE Silent Auction Fundraiser to find wonderful treasures, and to support MUSE's efforts in bringing songs of social justice and healing to the community.

The silent auction fundraiser will be held on November 22, 2014, at the MUSE Fall concert in Memorial Hall. There will be two performances that day, one at 2pm and an evening performance at 7pm. Bidding will be open before and after each performance, and concludes at 10:15pm. Participants need not be present to win. Bidders may register for a bid number and will be assigned a Silent Auction Ambassador who will track the status and activity of bids. Stay in touch via text or cell phone, and the item is sure to be yours!

Silent auction preview bidding begins with a sneak peek of select items on our MUSE Facebook page. "Like" us online to keep an eye out for specialty items and get a jump on the fun. If you can't attend the auction, you still have the option to "Buy It Now" on Facebook before the event.

MUSE would like to thank our Honorary Silent Auction Committee for their support:


* Diane Jordan Grizzard, BHDP Architecture, honored at the YMCA Career Woman of Achievement  

* Kathy Jorgensen-Finley, Director of Community Engagement and Diversity, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

* Tina Stoeberl, Owner, College Hill Coffee Co.

* Josh Wagoner, Board Secretary, Community Shares and Board Member, GLSEN


Purchase your tickets today for the concert, and please contact us if you are interested in volunteering to help with the silent auction fundraiser. For more information, email:

Written by Ramona Toussaint

MUSE Board Member, Silent Auction Chair 

MUSE Membership Fuels Our Mission
True to Our History. True to Our Future.

Held the past September, MUSE's annual Grailville retreat serves to focus the choir on music, welcome new members, reacquaint singers with the significance of MUSE membership, and confirm our social responsibilities.

2014's retreat showcased three presentations from our resident "founding mothers" on the impact MUSE has had in social justice issues from the 1980's through the 2000's. Through songs, stories, and pictures, each mother shared MUSE's involvement in varied causes. From women's rights and the anti-Apartheid movement to marriage equality, the choir learned the origin of MUSE's passion begins in its membership. MUSE's participation in these movements and its devotion to learn, educate, and take action sustains our mission and drives momentum in the current membership.

As we embark on this 32nd season, we are looking forward to continuing this education and action process. We want to reach out to more social organizations and connect so that our audiences can be involved, not only financially, but be aware of various types of oppressions, voices that are not heard, and the many forms of


Our November concert is named, "Unresolved." This powerful title tells of injustices that have been going on for centuries: police brutality, groups trying to gain equal rights and the right to vote, division and unrest in the Middle East, and racial discrimination. This is the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer, and although we've made strides forward we are still facing so many of the same old issues that now threaten to set us back. MUSE cannot address all of the issues, but we will take action where we can to help educate and bring awareness to these situations.


Written by Kristina Johnson, AI

MUSE Social Change Coordinator 

New Member Spotlight
Spotlight on New Member:Martha Leffler

MUSE welcomes Martha Leffler, who hails from Norwalk, OH. This smart SII (SII's are known for their leadership and intellectual aplomb) graduated from Ohio State, taught English in Ecuador for a year, and moved to Los Angeles for grad school to study clinical-community psychology (clinical psychology with a public health perspective). Martha moved to Cincinnati in July for a one-year pre-doctoral psychology internship at Talbert House. She cannot wait to graduate in June and finally be finished with school. Whew!

A lover of music and singing, Martha auditioned for MUSE after having had a positive experience singing in a collegiate choir. She believed it would be a good way to get involved in something besides work and to meet new people. Martha appreciates that MUSE has been so welcoming and friendly to her as a new member.

Fun Facts:
* Has 3 siblings
* Loves to bake and cook
* Is a hiker and loves the outdoors
* Is a reader when she has time
* Loves "MUSE-IC" (Martha's new word!)
* Plays the piano, cello, and is learning the guitar
* Favorite food(s): dark chocolate, home-made stove-popped popcorn, and peanut butter cream pie
* Book she's reading now: "Norwegian Wood," by Haruki Murakami
* Favorite word: LOVE
* Would you rather be a giraffe or an eagle?: "I don't know too much about either species, but I'd rather be an eagle because they can fly! But I wouldn't want to hunt other animals if eagles do that."


Written by Amy Arnold, SII

MUSE Membership Co-Chair

Donors are Fund-amental
FRIENDS of MUSE Give Vitality 

We are so grateful to all of our donors over these last 32 seasons. Happily, we consider each of you very dear FRIENDS of MUSE!
FRIENDS of MUSE have made it possible for us to sing at local events and demonstrations - often for little or no performance fee. We have been able to support the artistic work of talented composers and musicians, offer free concert tickets to members of our community in need, provide childcare support for parents at rehearsals and concerts, and continue our focus on both musical excellence and social change. Your gifts do so much more than just "keep the lights on."  

 MUSE earns income from concert ticket sales, program book advertising, fundraisers, performance fees, and MUSE Marketplace merchandise sales (staffed by volunteer 5th Section M  USE Members). Our members contribute annual dues to offset our membership activity expenses, though we always provide scholarship assistance to singers with financial barriers. MUSE also receives considerable financial support from ArtsWave, Community Shares, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and Ohio Arts Council.

To become a 2014-2015 Season FRIEND of MUSE - and a vital part of our community - please make your donation online at You can also make your gift by mailing a check to MUSE, PO Box 23292, Cincinnati, OH 45223. MUSE welcomes financial support from monthly subscribers and also offers direct bank-to-bank transfer (or ACH) as a payment option. FRIENDS of MUSE who give $25 or more will be listed on our website and in our concert programs or give anonymously if preferred. Contact us with any questions:

Again, thank you for your continued support. We look forward to singing for you soon!

Written by Sarah Meisch, SII

MUSE Board Member, Financial Committee Chair