Three seasonal workshops took place in 2021/2022, as Calliope explored ways to return Back to Life — back our existence as community through pandemic times, but also how the pandemic seemed to have blessed us with a strong reconnect to nature and the connectedness with all living things.
Calliope welcomed Abena Beloved Green to direct workshop participants through the development of spoken word. In our first workshop, she instructed on and explored the beginning stages of creative writing through different lenses, writing to and as nature. Individuals were encouraged to explore their relationship with nature through the pandemic, and how we engage with it, and how it has affected us. Participants created first drafts of their pieces striving to sound impactful, and focusing on exploring what they wanted to say.
During the second session during KWF’s Winter Writers’ Retreat, an additional 15 people joined in -person, as we continued with the themes and prompts from the first workshop. This workshop included the prompt to write a five-line letter to a friend about an interaction that happened between themselves and nature through the pandemic. Participants were encouraged to engage and explore with other writers reciting their works aloud for others to observe. The goal was to move their written work from paper to the stage.
And finally, what we are so pleased to share with you here, is the third workshop which included participants who focused on developing and perfecting the performance aspect of spoken word. Those who had attended all three workshops had the opportunity to have their pieces recorded. Participants were guided through exercises that encouraged finding the voice of their poems, involving volume, tone, word emphasis, and speed exploration.
People have gathered throughout time to celebrate with special ceremonies and observances in order to mark the cycles of the harvest. Calliope’s Solstice Celebrations took place annually from 2017-2021 each summer from June 1-21 and winter from December 1-21 in honour of the sun’s seasonal movement in the sky (its highest point in summer and its lowest in winter).
The highlight of Calliope’s Solstice Celebrations have been two major events in Kingston, Ontario that occurred six months apart to mark the eve of Winter and Summer Solstices, respectively: “The Longest Night” on or around December 20 and “Midsummer’s Eve” on or around June 20.
In the weeks leading up to each, Calliope hosted various multidisciplinary arts workshops featuring facilitators from Kingston, and across Canada. The hope to preserve and modernize these gatherings by bringing all who celebrate earth-based traditions together to provide a true community gathering full of light, visual and performance art, and spectacle was realized thanks to collaborative creation with local and visiting artists, community members, and creators!
Note: Our gatherings were cancelled at the last minute in 2021 due to a Public Health order, but Calliope was able to still offer the Midwinter Meditation and Release Ritual online.
Calliope invites you to once again engage with Community and to enjoy spectacle and surprise as we prepare for the wheel to turn for the Longest Night of the Year! Join us throughout December for a series of visual and performing arts workshops! Each of our December workshops (and coinciding artistic discipline) will represent an element to our community solstice celebration finales presented Dec. 18-21st.
THE LONGEST NIGHT
Saturday December 18, 2021 :: The Longest Night Join us for a lantern procession through Douglas Fluhrer Park and your chance to release the dark as we welcome back the warmth of the sun with NorthFIRE Circus and a special L.E.D/Fire show featuring original music and projection! This year’s event/show will look a little different, but will feature some of your favourite characters who have been eager to reconnect after a year apart. SAVE YOUR SPOT FOR THE SHOW HERE. We will also be making candles again this year for those who would prefer to do the fire meditation at home. Orders open December 1, 2021 and our meditation will be live on social media and in this space by 9pm December 20th.
DRUM UP THE SUN
Drum up the Sun in 2017 – my how we’ve grown.
Drum Up The Sun with us at dawn on the actual Solstice: Tuesday, December 21, 2021. We’ll have a small ceremony and performance by Kingston Taiko Drumming Community!
We will be welcoming the sun back in fashion this year, as we’ve sent invitations out to a few special guest drummers for our sunrise ceremony! Join us along with the Taiko Drummers of Kingston if you’re up early, as we drum up the sun for the Winter Solstice at The Woolen Mill end of the park! We’ll gather at 7:15 am on Tuesday December 21, weather permitting. We’ll bring the coffee, you bring your drum (or not).