The National Women’s Music Festival has three choruses, Drum, Song and Ukulele. They hold practices throughout the festival and perform on Sunday morning on the SheRock Stage.
NWMF Drum Chorus –
The NWMF Drum Chorus was started by B. “Wahru” Cleveland in 2002 and was its director until 2022. Wahru was known for her ability to “get everybody drumming.” Women come with drums, shakers, bells, and dance.
The NWMF Drum Chorus is now led by Rani Biffle-Quimba. Rani studied with Wahru for several years, was a member of the NWMF’s first drum chorus, and has participated in this festival as assistant director of the NWMF Drum Chorus, a workshop presenter, assistant facilitator for the late night drum jams, and in performances with Sistah Ngoma.
Festival goers who participate can expect a few workshops, practices, and community. Additionally, those who join have the opportunity to perform in the festival’s Drum Chorus if they are available on the day of performance. There is no skill level requirement. It’s all about drumming dancing and having fun.
NWMF Vocal Chorus
Directed by tba
Check back soon for more information about the Festival Vocal Chorus
NWMF Ukulele Chorus
Directed by Jori Costello
Jori Costello is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer, playwright, visual artist, and teacher based out of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, AR. In her fifth decade of performing, Jori has been in several bands, choirs, been a solo performer, festival emcee, stage manager, dance DJ, and now in its 3rd year, the radio host for the women’s music show, Go Sistah Go.
She is well known for her part in the nationally touring band, Big Bad Gina, with Renée Janski and Melodie Griffis, and in the art-rock duo, Jorian Oxygen which grew out of The Jori Costello Band. Her one-woman musical tribute, Songs of My Soul, has been featured at 7 regional festivals and venues. Collaborating with actor/director Jules Taylor, Jori has added soundscape, original music, music direction, and live performance for several Northwest Arkansas theatres. Jori teaches private lessons in multiple instruments, serves as a session staffer at Girls Rock Camp Madison, and is the creator of a summer camp music program.
Since becoming fascinated with the ukulele, Jori has written about 3 dozen songs on this tiny, portable instrument. Sharing the love of ukulele has become a favorite activity at home as well as at various festivals. 2023 marks the 5th annual NWMF Ukulele Chorus directed by Jori and the 3rd year at Women Play Instruments – WPI – Festival on The Land. This year’s theme is Reason to Celebrate and will feature songs by Therese Edell, Deidre McCalla, and an original by Jori herself.
Listen to Jori’s radio show, Go Sistah Go, every Friday at 3pm CST www.KPSQ.org