“Out of the Ashes” performance combines music and poetry to describe the city of Phoenix and the bird

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“Out of the Ashes,” written by two local artists, will be the first of several concerts at Phoenix Chorale to perform for a new series entitled Rebirth. Earlier we spoke with the composer, Kira Zeeman Rugen, and Phoenix Poet Laureate Rosemarie Dombrowski for more.

This performance, “is a collaboration between Rosemarie and myself,” said Rugen. She added that it started with this vision that the new director of the Phoenix Chorale had about a “rebirth” in Phoenix.

Three years later this performance has taken on a little bit of a different meaning through all of the things that have happened in the world.

Originally, it was, “really about the bird and the idea that rebirth can happen anywhere.” This idea has now become “prophetic” according to Rugen.

The Phoenix Chorale partnered with Virginia Piper Center for Creative Writing and they put out a call for a poet. This is how Dombrowski got involved.

She applied for the position and was very excited to take part, “it was something I wanted to do desperately. I love the city, I have been serving the city for nearly four years,” Dombrowski said.

She wanted to be a part of something different, “I thought, ‘wow, to write the first song about Phoenix. Both the mythological creature and the city that it’s named after would be fantastic.”

Rugen shared that the textual aspect of the performance came first in the creative process and the music followed.

She said she is inspired by nature and healing, which, “this particular piece covers both of those topics very strongly.”

The sounds created came from the visualization of what a sunset looks like or a bird flying in the sky, Rugen said.

During the creative process there were many drafts Dombrowski said.

“The poem had to continue to evolve and it had to continue to evolve collaboratively as Kira was composing the music which I was not hearing so it was a very interesting process,” Dombrowski said.

Kira Zeeman Rugen, Choral & Musical Theatre Faculty, SCC
Rosemarie Dombrowski, Phoenix Poet Laureate

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