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LISTEN (2019)

for SSAA choir | 10:00:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Anita F. Hill, Christine Blasey Ford (adapted from testimony)

Written for the women of Resonance Ensemble, LISTEN’s two movements set testimony by Anita Hill in 1991 and Christine Blasey Ford in 2018. The songs confront singers and listeners with these women’s challenging and powerful words, and raise the question of whether or not the Senate committees or indeed the world truly listened to them, while giving many observers whose hearts were broken by these hearings the opportunity for catharsis.



I. 1991

I thought he respected my work
[I thought] that he trusted my judgment…
He asked me to go out... with him.
What happened next,
and telling the world...
are the two most difficult experiences of my life.
I declined the invitation...
He pressed me...
His conversations were very vivid.
He spoke about
acts... he had seen in pornographic films…
women having sex with animals…
group sex…
rape scenes…
large penises…
large breasts…
his own sexual prowess…
I told him that I did not want to talk about this...
I would try to change the subject.
He began to show displeasure...
He commented on what I was wearing…
whether it made me more or less... attractive.
I felt I had a duty...
...When I was asked,
I had to tell the truth
I could not keep silent.

--Adapted from testimony by Anita F. Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee, October 11, 1991.

II. 2018

Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,
the uproarious laughter between the two,
and their having fun at my expense...

They were laughing with each other...

I was... underneath one of them while the two laughed —
two friends having a really good time with one another.

I am a fiercely independent person
and I am no one's pawn...
My responsibility is to tell the truth.

--Adapted from testimony by Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee, September 26, 2018.


Performances

  • 18 May, 2019: Resonance Ensemble at Cerimon House, Portland, OR
  • 03 Feb, 2019: Resonance Ensemble at Cerimon House, Portland, OR