MUSE began her third decade by traveling to Montreal in July 2004 for the GALA VII International Choral Festival. MUSE performed the world premieres of “Liberty or Death Suite” by Bernice Johnson Reagon and “Mayim Maya” by Daniel Galay. Based on the life of Harriet Tubman, Dr. Reagon's suite was commissioned in honor of the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and MUSE's 10th New Spirituals Concert. Galay's piece juxtaposes an Israeli and an Arab folksong with klezmer clarinet and percussion accompaniment.
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Growing Into Our Roots, our third produced recording, was released in May 2005, featuring several of MUSE's latest commissioned pieces and many other favorites, including “'Swonderful,” “Waulking Songs,” and also “Emma” by Therese Edell. For our 2006 Spring Concert, we shared the stage with Holly Near and peace activist, Cindy Sheehan in a performance that brought major attention to MUSE’s emphasis on peace and our opposition to the Iraq War.
Our 25th Anniversary Season saw our 12th New Spirituals in April 2008 where we teamed up with the Central State University Chorus, Linda Tillery and Rosephane Powell and sang Powell’s newly commissioned work, “Hope Come True.” Our 25th Anniversary Spring Concert in June 2008 brought together many alumnae and several specially commissioned choral works. There were two sold out performances at Greaves Concert Hall at Northern Kentucky University. We rounded out our 25 season by traveling to Miami to perform at GALA VIII.
In March 2009, MUSE traveled to Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic where we performed in Justica Global’s international conference, “Art y Revolution.” In January 2010, we went to Marysville, Ohio to perform for the incarcerated women at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. We also recorded and released our fourth CD: We Who Make Our Meaning Clear. In December of 2010, we joined with the Umoja Men’s Chorus at the Warren Correctional Institution to record several pieces with them for their upcoming CD: Extend a Hand.
The years 2011-2012 were very significant for MUSE. We teamed up with Dreams of Hope, an LGBTQ youth performance group from Pittsburgh, for our 28th Annual Spring Concert, "Stand Together Make It Better” and in our 29th season, we were deeply involved with the 7th World Choir Games [WCG] that came to Cincinnati in July 2012. Both our fall and spring concerts for 2011-2012 season emphasized international repertoire and highlighted the coming of the Games. In the WCG competition, MUSE won a gold medal in the top “Champions” category for women’s choirs. Immediately after the competition, MUSE flew off the Denver to participate in GALA IX where we performed a specially featured hour-long “Coffee Concert.”
Our 30th season started with the announcement that our founding director, Catherine Roma, would retire at the end of 2013. The choir began in intensive nation-wide search for a new artistic director and in April, Rhonda Juliano, assistant conductor of the Seattle Women’s Chorus, accepted the position and began her transition to Cincinnati.
In honor of the 30the season, MUSE commissioned several original choral works, including those by Abbie Betinis, Elizabeth Edwards, Eric Lane Barnes, Rosephayne Powell, J. David Moore and Elizabeth Haskins. The choir produced three major concerts: a fall concert with guest artist Melanie DeMore; an International Women’s Day concert with two other women’s choruses, Walnut Hills HS Women’s Choir and the Grand Rapids [MI] Women’s Chorus; and our 30th Spring Concert which included nearly 50 MUSE alumnae who traveled from all over the country to celebrate and sing in several pieces in the concert. The 30th anniversary concert was performed to two packed and emotional houses at the new Corbett Theater for the Performing Arts in downtown Cincinnati where Catherine Roma conducted her final MUSE concert.