News & Stories

Musicians at Home—Susan Nelson

November 4, 2020 | Susan Nelson

Since June, soprano, alto and pianist Susan Nelson has uploaded to Facebook more than 100 songs by women.

Chicago, Illinois - When I think about what I’ve been up to, it’s a lot of what most artists have been doing these days. Staying home, staying safe, and making lots and lots of recordings, either audio or visual. I’ve had the opportunity to perform Bach’s cantata for solo soprano, "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen," at the end of September. When we had our first rehearsal, I broke into tears with the thrill of finally getting to make music with someone outside of my living room! Other than that, the only things that I have sung are a few socially distant recording sessions, some very small weddings, and a funeral. 

I decided back in June to start doing more recording, initially for the church where I’m director of music (Grace Lutheran in Mt. Prospect), and then eventually for people on my Facebook page. Since the end of June, I have made well over 100 recordings of songs by women-identifying composers and songwriters. I’m hoping to be able to continue this through the end of the year, although now that I have more online teaching (both at Concordia University as an adjunct professor and through the Baroque Strong Voices program, where I serve as an outreach teacher), the time to record and edit these has become slightly more limited. 

I think one of the positive things that has come out of this, other than organizing all the sheet music in my house, has been that I have re-discovered some parts of my own artistic and creative abilities that I haven’t explored in a while. As a “working” singer, most of my job is to make sure that I help deliver a product for somebody else’s vision, for someone else’s ideals. When I’m working on my own things at home, I have the opportunity to explore new repertoire, sing with my authentic voice.  

That being said, I can’t wait to get back to making music with all of my colleagues here in Chicago and throughout the world. Live music gives us the opportunity to showcase our talents without the editing room, with all the thrill that comes from the unexpected, the bizarre, and the chance to see art getting made in front of our eyes.