Where are they now? If you're talking about the starrier graduates of Academy of Vocal Arts, a cross section will be at Verizon Hall for BrAVA Philadelphia, the vocal finishing school's 80th-anniversary gala at 8 p.m. Friday at the Kimmel Center. Conducted by Christofer Macatsoris, the once-every-five-years event will feature soprano Angela Meade, bass-baritone Burak Bilgili and three tenors - Stephen Costello, James Valenti and Taylor Stayton. Dinner before, champagne reception after. Though the idea is to raise big bucks for AVA, the concert alone can be heard for as little as $20. Information: 215-735-1685 or www.avaopera.org.
- David Patrick Stearns
Cue the chorus. The drive to put a woman's image on a piece of U.S. paper currency is gathering steam, and 15 important catalysts for change are in the running, among them Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson and Rosa Parks. But it would seem the group advocating a female image on the $20 bill (displacing Andrew Jackson) missed an obvious name: Marian Anderson. When the Philadelphia contralto was refused permission to sing in Constitution Hall in 1939 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the social maelstrom drew in President Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, and ended in a moment of triumph on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that resonated with millions.
And here's a bonus: Anderson would be the first musician on a piece of U.S. currency, joining Australia (Nellie Melba), Austria (Mozart), Denmark (Carl Nielsen), Finland (Sibelius), France (Debussy), Germany (Clara Schumann), Hungary (Bartók), Norway (Kirsten Flagstad), and Sweden (Jenny Lind and Birgit Nilsson).
It turns out that Anderson was one of the top 100 women to be considered, says Susan Ades Stone, executive director of Women On 20s. But "when we applied a certain rubric of the lasting impact of the contribution, which we gave double weight, with the obstacles they faced, she just didn't compete," said Stone. Sounds like an invitation to a write-in ballot campaign to us. After all, no woman ever made history by following the rules. www.womenon20s.org.
- Peter Dobrin