Program Notes for Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower”

Dear Friends,

The quote above is from the protagonist in Octavia E. Butler’s seminal and prophetic novel, Parable of the Sower. It is the perfect sentiment to name the powerful energies that came together to bring to Maine Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, an opera by Toshi Reagon. The conversation began many years ago along two parallel tracks running unbeknownst to one another.

 In June of 2019, Indigo Arts Alliance co-founders Marcia and Daniel Minter invited their friend Toshi Reagon to perform as part of Indigo’s grand opening. It was during this time that Toshi shared she was touring an opera she wrote with her mother, Bernice Johnson Reagon. Marcia was at the time a long-serving board member of Portland Ovations and brought to Aimée Petrin the idea to bring this new work to Maine. The two of us began brainstorming and soon learned that a longtime artistic collaborator of Toshi’s, Judith Casselberry — musician, scholar and Bowdoin College faculty member — was working to do the same.

 Over three years was spent in discussion and planning amongst all the organizations involved. In 2022, Bowdoin College’s McKeen Center for the Common Good invited Toshi to be their Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow. With that, Indigo Arts Alliance joined forces with Toshi Reagon, Bowdoin College and the Maine Humanities Council to activate a year-long series of dynamic programs called Parable Path Maine, (

Parable Path Maine develops community collaborations that bring people together to name precarities, expand networks, and craft solutions to create a framework for community organizing through artistic engagement. The goal of these activities centers around engagement and community-led activities surrounding the belief systems and interrelated social issues that impact healthy living in Maine and the world. 

It has been an incredible experience to walk along this path with so many passionate community activists from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds. This journey has been a testament to the power of the arts as a tool for social change. We cannot wait to share with you Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower.

 Parable of the Sower in operatic form is a landmark piece for our time. A work of great beauty and deep contemplation, Parable is expansive and shape-shifting. It will inspire your mind, body and soul. You all are in for a transformative experience.

 We are immensely grateful to Toshi Reagon for this brilliant labor of love that gives us the honor of paying homage to the genius of Octavia E. Butler.


Marcia Minter
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Indigo Arts Alliance

Aimée M. Petrin
Executive & Artistic Director
Portland Ovations