A Centennial Celebration

Celebrating Peoria native Betty Friedan on the 100th anniversary of her birth...

Betty Friedan
Pictured: Betty Friedan was one of six valedictorians in the Class of 1938 at Peoria High School.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s birth, three pre-eminent cultural institutions have come together to present a series of programs related to the world-famous Peorian.

Peoria Symphony Orchestra
On November 20, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents HerStory: A Musical Tribute to Betty Friedan, including the world premiere of “Everywoman: A Friedan Centennial Memoire” in the Peoria Civic Center Theater. “Everywoman” is the work of Stephanie Ann Boyd, PSO composer-in-residence, who put music to Friedan’s words to tell the story of the Peoria native who helped change history.

The concert features internationally renowned mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung; narrator Deborah Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and opening remarks from Peoria Mayor Rita Ali. Maestro George Stelluto will present a free lecture at 6:30pm; the concert begins at 7:30pm with a reception to follow. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit peoriasymphony.org or call (309) 671-1097. In advance of the concert, the following events will take place in the PSO Cube, located at 101 State Street in Peoria:

  • 11/15: Musical Monday: Women in Music. Guests will explore compositions by Stephanie Ann Boyd, who will perform with violinist Sirena Huang at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public.
     
  • 11/16: Coffee and Conversation with Stephanie Ann Boyd. OLLI at Bradley University will offer an opportunity to hear from the Manhattan-based composer, who will discuss how she writes music about memorable women. Tickets may be purchased at bradley.edu/olli or by calling (309) 677-3900.
     
  • 11/17: Lunch and Learn. Community members are invited to engage in a Q&A session with Stephanie Ann Boyd at noon. Coffee and water will be provided; guests should bring their own lunches. The event is free and open to the public.    

Peoria Art Guild
The Peoria Art Guild, in collaboration with Big Picture Initiative, will pay tribute to Friedan with a special exhibition entitled “Peoria Women NOW” featuring works by Peoria women artists. The exhibit opens on First Friday, November 5, from 5 to 9pm and remains on display throughout November.

Peoria Riverfront Museum 
A special exhibit about Betty Friedan will be on display in the main-level display case beginning November 1. WTVP has condensed Barb Drake’s 1999 interview with Friedan into a half-hour program which museum visitors may enjoy. In addition, the museum is offering supplemental educational materials for teachers, created by members of the PSO’s Betty Friedan committee, aimed at students in grades six through 12. The lesson plan shares details of her life and how she influenced the world in seeking justice and rights for women. The 10-minute presentation is intended to encourage teachers to share in their classes and suggests activities that may be used for deeper discussion. The materials can be found at riverfrontmuseum.org

For details on these and related events, visit peoriasymphony.org or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn: @peoriasymphony.

Read "Betty Friedan: Yesterday and Today" by Barb Drake in the November 2021 issue. PM
 

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