Sophia Schwaner Recording Session

Schwaner’s song At Sea takes place in the ancient world at the time of the Persian Wars. The Greek queen Artemisia has allied herself with the Persian Emperor Xerxes and is leading his forces and ships into battle against her own people. In the throes of combat, she proclaims, “Just keep going, target the enemy, keep rowing, don't look at how they bleed. Not knowing, who is friend or foe, just go.” Full lyrics are available here.

Here is the song as Schwaner submitted it in spring 2019: That song was the starting point for her weekend workshop in August with her mentor Max Vernon and music director Benjamin Rauhala.

This is the final recording posted in November 2019.

 The professional ensemble for Schwaner’s song is listed on the program page and features Ashley Loren as lead vocalist. Among her professional credits, Loren was in the Broadway revival and national tour of Jekyll & Hyde.  Bios for Vernon and Rauhala are posted here.

 

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A young woman stand center frame in a recording studio full of recording equipment.

Sophia Schwaner in the recording studio. Photo by Natalie Powers.

 

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Five young women and a young man pose for a photo in a recording studio, smiling.

2019 Songwriting Challenge winners: top row; Emalee Flatness, Akira Sky, Sophia Schwaner. Bending forward; Tessa Barcelo, Breezy Love, Makai Keur. Photo by Natalie Powers.

 

 

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A group of six men and two women pose for a photo in a recording studio, arms around each other, smiling.

Sophia Schwaner (3rd from left) and her music director, Benjamin Rauhala (2nd from right) and mentor, Max Vernon (far right) are joined by vocalists for Schwaner’s song. From left; Josh Tolle, Devin Lewis, Nicholas Oliveri, lead vocalist, Ashley Loren; Adam J. Levy. Photo by Natalie Powers.

 

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A woman wearing headphones sings into a suspended mic in a recording studio.

Lead vocalist for “At Sea,” Ashley Loren. Among her professional credits, Loren was in the Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde. Photo by Natalie Powers.

 

In an interview after her recording session, Schwaner said,

“I was not expecting certain things about it [her recording session], like the intensity and talent of the singers. It was just amazing, and it was an exhilarating feeling to see your work come alive with really good artists, and really committed artists, so it was wonderful, one of the best things in my life so far.”

Additional photos are available upon request by emailing hutterv@arts.gov.