Walden’s Summer of Creativity Create-a-Thon took place from June 27 to September 14, and raised over $7,400. Members of the Walden community engaged in creative projects of their choosing to support Walden’s programs and to engage with one another creatively and collaboratively. Not all the projects involved composing, or music at all. The Summer of Creativity was a way to celebrate all the ways our Walden community is creative, and to provide nourishing creative connection while physically distanced.

Below are glimpses of these 14 amazing projects.

Katie’s Jewelry Design and Creation

Katie Schoepflin Jimoh, a member of the Walden School Players, writes: “Last September, when I was about 7 months pregnant, I took a metalsmithing class and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. When things started to shut down in March and concerts were being cancelled, I decided it was the right time to build a jewelry bench in my living room, a goal I’ve held for over a decade. I am pleased to be able to share my progress designing and creating a piece of fine jewelry from scratch.”

David’s Walden Impressions

David Keller, a CMR alumnus, writes: “For this fundraiser, I will be composing a new electronic music piece called “Walden Impressions” using sounds I recorded during the Creative Musicians Retreat, and I’ll look forward to sharing the finished product with all of you!”

Gaela’s Travel Journal Labyrinth

Gaela Dennison-Leonard, an administrative staff member, writes: “During shelter in place, I picked up a creative project I left by the wayside a couple years ago. I have handwritten travel journals from a fellowship I did, but my handwriting was tiny, and paper records are fragile! For my Summer of Creativity, I want to make something new and shareable out of these journals.”

Joel’s Musical Voyage

Joel Hobbs, a CMR alumnus, writes: “I’m going to write and record a new album of music – “A Voyage Through The Universe Within.”  The music will be a synth-based exploration of meditative and rejuvenating soundscapes. Gallantly, I will also attempt at least one epic guitar solo to blow the dust off a 1957 Fender Princeton Tweed Amp.”

The Runnymede Singers’ Virtual Choir

The Runnymede Singers, a community chorus based in Washington, DC, writes, “Our values align closely with that of the Walden School – the joy of singing, musical growth, and giving back to our community.

We are engaging in Walden’s Create-a-thon through our big summer experiment – our first ever Virtual Choir video!  We are creating a virtual performance of Down to the River to Pray, from the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, as arranged by Sheldon Curry.  We plan to post it around Labor Day 2020!”

Josh’s Jazz and Folk Forays

Josh Burdick, a YMP alumnus, writes: “I hope to use this as an impetus to play more, and record some. Largely folk music for dancing, but including forays into jazz-like things, and possibly other sounds. These will be appearing on my nascent Youtube page.”

Matthew’s Rags to Riches

Matthew Thurber, a Walden friend and supporter, writes: “I took piano until age 16 and have always remained connected to the instrument but haven’t really developed my playing skills further. A month ago, I picked up the old Scott Joplin book and started to play the Gladiolus Rag, of which some vestiges remained. How excited I felt! And my joy proved infectious, as my 6-year-old daughter quickly came and started dancing on the rug next to me. So my project for the rest of the summer is to finish learning the Gladiolus and to also learn, or start to learn, two more classics: The Entertainer and The Maple Leaf Rag (the favorite of my father Robert, who played by ear).

Danielle’s Blessing for Patients

Danielle Schindler Cheung Danielle Schindler Cheung, a board member, alumna, and past faculty member, writes: “My creation project for Walden is in two parts. First, to compose a blessing for my patients who lose their lives in the Emergency Department. Second, to create a process for reaching out to patients’ families in their new grief, by sharing this blessing with them.”Danielle’s Blessing for Patients

Liam’s Compositionally-Constrained Electronic Music

Liam Fissell, a YMP (and OYME!) alumnus, writes: “With this project, I aim to change the way I think about the music I’m making. Firstly, I’m going to read books on music and music theory. As I read these, I’m going to pick and choose techniques that interest me and use them to make electronic music that’s more interesting in terms of chords and melodies. Second, I want to avoid using the computer for sound creation altogether. I will use it to digitally manipulate and musically arrange sounds that I record from external sources.”

Peter’s Sunday Haiku

Peter Colohan, board vice-chair and CMR alumnus, writes: “Visit every Sunday for a new haiku!  If you like, please consider giving to Walden, but you can also just enjoy the haikus.

Beginning on June 21 with:

Summer solstice, June
Eastern deciduous trees,
Humid and happy.”

Ruth’s Family Opera

Ruth Hertzman-Miller, a CMR alumna, writes: “My project is a family opera based on H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds (libretto by Fiona Vidal-White). I have been working on it for several years and hope to complete it this summer as part of the Walden Create-a-Thon.”

Rachel’s Pathway Garden

Rachel Fissell, board member and YMP alumna writes, “I am very excited to be spending my Summer of Creativity in my garden! For my Create-a-Thon project, I will be planting on either side of the path to our front door. I plan to spend one or two hours a week working on this.”

Sarah’s Novella

Sarah Riskind, YMP faculty member and choral director, writes: “My original novella offers a new take on the “magic school” setting by drawing on my experience as a new tenure-track faculty member at a liberal arts college. Instead of teaching music in Illinois, my protagonist is hired to teach magic in Wisconsin, though she has no idea that magic exists until her first day of faculty orientation.”

Theo’s bitKlavier Song Cycle

Theo Trevisan, a past staff member and alumnus of YMP, CMR, and OCME, writes: “I’ve been keeping up with composing and solo voice practice since being stuck in quarantine, and one of the other projects I’ve been working on has been the development of Dan Trueman’s bitKlavier app. Combining all of those interests and projects has motivated me to start a song cycle, written for bass-baritone voice (me) and bitKlavier accompaniment.”