In 1985 Rachel Alexander moved to Michigan from Missouri, where she had been the co-founder, assistant director, and accompanist of the St. Louis Woman’s Choir. After moving to Lansing, she decided to start a chorus here, and in January of 1986 the Lansing Women’s Chorus was born.
Rachel Alexander directed the chorus (renamed Sistrum in 1989) for the next 15½ years. Her vision for the chorus was one of musical excellence, rooted in feminism and her belief in the power of women singing together as a tool for social justice.
In 2001, Rachel passed the baton to Meredith Bowen, who continued the commitment to excellence, both in music and in message. Meredith completed her Masters in Choral Conducting, from MSU, in 2005. She began to pursue her DMA in 2012, and in the Spring of 2016, Dr. Bowen accepted the position of Director of Choral Activities at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. After a national search, Sistrum invited Meghan Eldred to become artistic director in the fall of 2016. Over the years the women of Sistrum have grown together, facing challenges, respecting differences and supporting each other.
Our name comes from a musical instrument, a rattle used in ancient Egypt. It was kept in constant motion as a symbol of Isis, the sacred and ever-changing Life Force. We draw upon the words, music, and energy of women composers, arrangers and poets to educate, entertain and inspire our audiences.