Voices of a Different Dream—Ellen Mason, Annie Geheb, and Susan Windle–began creating and performing their unique blend of poetry and song in 1991. Since then, they have been heard in many venues throughout the Philadelphia area: in bookstores and libraries, living rooms and coffeehouses, concert halls and conferences, churches and synagogues, nature centers and art galleries, peace rallies and fundraisers for progressive causes. With no instruments but voice and gesture, their performances and recording highlight each woman's solo voice as well as the amazing resonances between them. Together they have made three recordings: Unimagined Possibilities, You Know My Name, and Refuge for a Soul. The two poets, Ellen Mason and Susan Windle, have authored Already Near You: Poetry in Concert, a collection of poems they have performed together over the years. The women of Voices dedicate all their work to challenging injustice and strengthening the bonds of love within, among, and between us.
Annie Geheb has been performing in Philadelphia area coffeehouses, festivals, bars, churches and concert stages for over 30 years. She sang as a chorister and soloist with Anna Crusis Women’s Choir for nine of those years. She has developed a broad range of musical styles, including folk, blues, country and gospel. By trade, she is a special education teacher who works as a support person for children with social and emotional needs. She feels that acapella singing gives her the greatest freedom to show what is in her heart. The experience of working closely with Ellen and Susan has opened her to create music inspired by the flow and feeling of poetry. This unique collaboration has strengthened and expanded her expressiveness and the power with which she can evoke meaning through music.
Ellen Ford Mason wrote her first poem to thank her great-grandmother for a handmade quilt. She has performed her poetry for over thirty years in many venues: at arts festivals, coffee houses, bookstores and schools, as well as in a church in Ireland and at the non-governmental Beijing Women’s Conference in 1995. Early on, she decided to memorize her poems in order to keep eye contact with her audience and loves to see a poem take up residence and transform someone from the inside. She is the co-author, along with Voices member Susan Windle, of a poetry collection entitled Already Near You: Poetry in Concert.
In addition to writing and performing, she teaches adults how to listen to each other with open hearts and clear minds and teaches poetry in the schools. She loves collaborating with Susan Windle to develop and deliver poetry lessons that help students love literacy and express what is in their hearts. Along with calligrapher Myra Diaz, Ellen has created a series of painted scarves that allow people to wear her poems.
Susan Windle, the founder of Voices of a Different Dream, is a poet, performer, group leader and teaching artist. A lover of collaboration in many forms, she has created and performed with composer Andrea Clearfield and jazz musicians Warren Oree and Sherry Wilson Butler. With visual artists Sara Steele and Alana Lea she has created fine art poem-prints: intimate, meditative settings of her poems with the artists’ images.
She has published three books of poetry: Already Near You (with Voices of a Different Dream partner Ellen Ford Mason), Between the Doors and Love Letters. With Voices she has made two recordings of poetry and song, Unimagined Possibilities and You Know My Name. Voices’ third recording, Refuge for a Soul, is nearing the end of production. Susan’s work and the work of her ensemble have been heard in concert halls, cultural centers, churches, synagogues, art galleries, coffee houses, street festivals and peace gatherings throughout the Delaware Valley and beyond.
Both Susan and Ellen are on the roster of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts as teaching artists. They work in Philadelphia area schools bringing poetry to children of all ages.