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Embroidered with Jagged Patterns

This is the title given to a commissioned work by Canadian composer Karen Sunabacka on the occasion of the 130th Anniversary of the Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg. Embroidered with Jagged Patterns will be played at WMC’s season opener on Sunday, October 22 at Laudamus Hall, CMU at 2 pm by Elation Pauls (violin), Paul Marleyn (cello), and Madeline Hildebrand (piano). Read more >

The story of this work is moving and fascinating, the inspiration coming from a poem by Sunabacka’s mother, Joyce Clouston, about the relationship between Joyce and her older sister Beverley. Beverley, medically fragile and disabled after complications at birth, suffered from day-long seizures at age six. Joyce drew close to Bev as she watched her struggle in a colonial world where people with disabilities were often hidden in institutions and not valued. As a child, Karen observed this relationship between her mom and her aunt and felt a closeness to Bev as well, especially because Bev stayed with the family on a regular basis. “Bev was always so excited to see all of us!”, writes Karen. She continues: “I used the final line of the poem as the title of this piece as I was inspired by this idea of relationships as embroidered jagged patterns that are deeply connected.

The pitch material, which is introduced slowly, comes from two motives I developed from nicknames my mom and aunt Bev had as children – Bevvie and Joycie. I turned those names into BEAABE and CADCBE. Embroidered jagged patterns, close relationships that can both be hard and life-giving, along with a Métis family deeply rooted on what is now known as the Canadian Prairies are the themes explored in this piece.”


Embroidered with Jagged Patterns

Beverley and Joyce.

They danced with butterflies along ancient trails.

They wrestled through thorny pathways and though riven,

their bond deep rooted like wind-blown prairie grasses.

Their inner lives entwined, embroidered with jagged patterns.

Beverley and Joyce.

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