“Hands Upon the Plow” commissioned by Peninsula Women’s Chorus

The Peninsula Women’s Chorus commissioned Hagen last year to compose a work for their “Trailblazers Project,” an ambitious, multi-year commissioning project that focuses on three pioneering American women: Harriet Tubman, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and Alice Paul.


Hagen’s commission in honor of suffrage champion Alice Paul features a newly written poem by Barbara Sexton titled “Hands Upon the Plow.” This piece celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote.


“Hands Upon the Plow” will be available in September of 2020 to purchase and perform. It is scored for SSA chorus, piano, and optional alto saxophone solo.


Hands upon the Plow

for Alice Paul



She likened our Movement

to mosaic tiles: more vibrant

and stronger when linked

by the mortar of women,

our undaunted will.


She placed trembling hands

upon the true plow,

told us not to let go,

to push hard till we reached

the end of each row.


She claimed No New Worlds

without female power—

peace, progress, discovery all grow

in our hearts, our wise voices,

our votes.



~ Barbara Saxton (2019)


Posted on

October 14, 2019

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