On Saturday, July 30, 2022, Cultivating Peace Vermont hosted two free performances of Earth Keepers, a mindfulness-based musical on the State House Lawn in Montpelier. The 45-minute interactive musical for all ages combined Earth-based chants that invited audience participation with monologue reflections on the interdependence of Earth, humans, and the impact of war/violence. Bells of mindfulness, participatory singing, and guided meditation established an environment rich in opportunity for engagement and respite.
“Our aspiration for this performance is to invite reflection, create connection, and motivate acts of civil engagement, inspiring new ideas of how to care for this Earth and each other.” – Ginger Cloud, author of Earth Keepers and Board Member of Cultivating Peace Vermont.
Cultivating Peace Vermont offered these two free performances as gifts to our Vermont community; a resting place to settle into the comfort of the Earth after over two years of surviving a global pandemic.
We asked participants at the performances to contribute to our Circle of Care sacred space dedicated to those who have suffered from the impact of war, inviting the wounds of our ancestors to evaporate and find freedom in the flow of water.
We are grateful to The Hummingbird Center for Common Ground and Barre Universalist Church for donating rehearsal space and Beth Mueller for our beautiful Poster.
Thank you to the many individual donors and community business sponsors that have made this production possible, including Vermont Bicycle Shop, Hunger Mountain Coop, ORCA Media, and Montpelier Alive!
This event was funded in part by a grant award from Montpelier Alive, with funds from the Montpelier Downtown Improvement District.
Earth Keepers Singers
Opeyemi Parham is a family physician who moved from feral to rogue status over her 22 years of conventional doctoring. For the last 16 years she has advocated for health consumers to explore the gaps in their wellness strategies:
–adding more sensuality
–acknowledging the roles our sexuality and our spirituality can play in health/disease
— owning our suicidal/homicidal tendencies (e.g. WAR),
She “edu-tains” as a healing artist and an artist, healing, happily retired and living in Montpelier.
Aro Veno carries a strong desire for peace, care for the earth and each other, justice and love to prevail. Aro expresses this desire in music and in how she lives. Aro has been writing songs, singing and praying for transformation in the world for most of her adult life. She came of age in the early 60’s and the principles of peace and love have stayed a part of her consciousness for all these years.
Aro Veno’s music can be enjoyed on Soundcloud.
Jessica Goodlin holds a BFA in music theater from Shenandoah University in Va. After college Jessica went on to study in NYC. Jessica has performed with Children’s theater and has performed with Opera North in Lebanon,NH. Jessica’s favorite credit was working with Tomie dePaola recording a song for his CD which is part of his book The Magical World of Stega Nona: A Treasury. Jessica just recently performed in LNT’s production of All Together Now, in Montpelier and works at a preschool in East Montpelier coincidentally called AllTogetherNow!
Shanda Williams is a grateful resident of the State of Vermont. A native from Hartford, Connecticut, Shanda has lived in Montpelier for over 4 years. When she is not working in the NonProfit sector or pet sitting (one of her favorite pastimes), she enjoys singing and being Treasurer of the Montpelier Community Gospel Choir and an active Board member of Lost Nation Theater. Giving back is part of her journey, and she has recently begun campaigning with The Vermont Kindness Project, to help teach others about the power of trauma informed care and resilience!
Ornella Matta-Figueroa is an energy worker and intuitive person in the world. Ornella is called to create spaces for healing, expression, connection, counsel, and integration. She is a whole hearted leader with experience in a variety of co-created non hierarchical and complex relationships both professionally and personally. She is certified in Dancing Mindfulness, a co-creator of Sacred Raves, and supports individuals as they develop interoception and challenge internalized supremacy culture.
Kathryn Tufano is delighted to co-produce and perform in Earth Keepers. She recently moved to Montpelier and has become acquainted with her new community through the many offerings of Cultivating Peace Vermont. She started dancing at the age of three and was a professional dancer for over 30 years, based in New York City. During her career she performed with many dance companies and toured extensively throughout the US and Europe. Earth Keepers marks her singing debut.
Darrell Brown is a Boston area transplant since 2020. Darrel is a musician, an after school and a swimming instructor with a special interest in percussion. He is a member of the local band Freedom Seeds.
Mary Mullaney is a devoted student of Thich Nhat Hanh and has been engaged with the Plum Village community for decades. She brings a depth of meditation practice to the performance and is our Bell Master.
Pat Carstensen found her “heart home” here in Vermont in the late 1970s. During those years she has volunteered for various organizations like the Barre Opera House, Lost Nation Theater, Kellogg Hubbard Library and Unitarian Church of Montpelier. She is excited about Earth Keepers and is happy to be of support.
Heidi Wilson’s passion is to share songs in service to community and the wild world; songs that celebrate the seasons, bring groups together, offer thanks, muster courage, and make room for healing and grieving. She is drawn to the potent and surprising journey of deep-listening and emergent music making. She has also been exploring the traditional music of her Swedish ancestors and loves to share old songs of the forests and fields. Heidi has been leading community singing groups in Vermont for the last 15 years including work with the Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture, Village Harmony, Burlington Integrated Arts Academy, Young Tradition Vermont, Unitarian Church of Montpelier, Interfaith Partners of St Johnsbury, and Sterling College. HeidiAnnWilson.com
Sound and Technical Coordinator
Lisa Smith is our goddess of sound and technical coordinator. She brings a wealth of experience in the healing arts, 30 years of high-end international experience in theatre, and solidity.
Lisa recently relocated to Montpelier and is emerging from retirement to support this production. Lisa loves to cook, cherishes friendships and nature.
Richard McEntire is a talented stage manger with a range of experience in performance art and production. He brings a gentle calm presence, able to nurture and direct cast in ways that enhance the visual and logistic elements of performance art. Quick to assist with lines or support the development of a scene, Richard’s contributions are numerous.
Ginger Cloud is a founding member of Cultivating Peace Vermont and wrote the mindfulness based ceremonial musical Earth Keepers. All production questions, performance inquiries, and volunteer requests can be directed to Ginger at CultivatingPeaceVermont@gmail.com.
Ginger is a mindfulness meditation practitioner and prolific artist. For the past two decades she has created art through various mediums including photography, fiber arts, jewelry, collage, paper mache puppets, and creative writing. Ginger’s art work has been displayed in community settings and festivals in Oregon and Vermont. A native Vermonter, Ginger spent her young adult life in Eugene, Oregon and now enjoys living in Barre Town, Vermont with her husband, two dogs and cat.
We are committed to grow diversity and inclusion in this performance. We encourage any person regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, economic status and other diverse backgrounds to participate.
” While the energy of our thoughts, speech, and action is powerful, this energy is infinitely more powerful when we join together with others. When we come together as a group, with a common purpose and commitment to mindful action, we produce an energy of collective concentration far superior to our own individual concentration. This energy further helps us to cultivate compassion and understanding. If we practice mindful sitting, walking, speaking, and listening together as a group, then everyone can feel the collective energy and everyone can receive nourishment and healing.
This collective energy can lead to collective insight and to a collective awakening.
Our collective compassion, mindfulness, and concentration nourishes us, but it can also help to reestablish the Earth’s equilibrium and restore balance. Together, we can bring about real transformation for ourselves and for the world.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Love Letter to the Earth