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20th Annual ~ The Finale


December 21, 2012 is the fabled Winter Solstice that some consider as the final date of the Mayan calendar. Will it be the end of all? Or is it a launching point for transformation?

For Winter SolstiCelebration, it will be both. The tradition comes to an end in 2012 as the creator, Amy Martin, retires after two decades of producing live spiritual events. Yet Winter SolstiCelebration leaves behind a spiritual landscape in North Texas deeply shaped by the event. It provided a vital place at the table during the holiday season for the spiritual-not-religious and those of non-mainstream faiths.

To that end, the theme of Winter SolstiCelebration 2012 is Transformation. SolstiCelebrators spanning all 20 years of the event return to perform, even coming from New York, Arizona, Washington and California. Together they will explore how the idea of transformation has shaped their lives and that of Winter SolstiCelebration.

SolstiCelebrators will bring the theme to life through the trademark Winter SolstiCelebration blend: song ~ ritual ~ dance ~ magic ~ music ~ poetry ~ ceremony ~ circus arts ~ meditation ~ storytelling ~ and conscious movement. The event is scripted and emceed by Martin.

The non-profit group Earth Rhythms has presented the event since 2007, replacing Celestial Rhythm Celebrations. Earth Rhythms plans to continue its successful series of spiritual music concerts and outdoor festivals based at White Rock Lake with Martin as president emeritus.

Twenty years ago on a Winter Solstice night, Winter SolstiCelebration began with hundred or so people gathered in a rented building on White Rock Lake, and grew into an beloved Solstice service drawing more than 1000 from a variety of faiths. The event will end as it began two decades ago, with the beat of the drum and the words of a poet.

SolstiCelebrators for 2012

Monica Lecrone
(2008, 09, 12)
Laurie Willis
(2007, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Charlene Widzinski  (2012)
Constellation (2000, 01, 02, 03,04)
Drums Not Guns (2005, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Kobushi, taiko drums
(1993, 94, 97, 98, 12)
Mindful Movement
Lisa Ware of Yoga4Love (2012)
Circle of the Wildwood (1997, 98, 99, 2000, 12)

Kim Corbet, trombone
Freddie Jones, trumpet
(1998, 2000, 01, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Geoffrey Ricketts
(1999, 2000, 01, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09,11,12)
Tommy Stanco, guitar (1994, 95, 2012)  ~ and vocals
Andrew Tinker, keyboards (2011, 12)
Kelly Tomlinson, bass (2012)

Cornell Kinderknecht, flute
(2005, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Martin McCall, percussion (1995, 97, 98, 2012)
Sarah Reinke, cello (2012)
David Rosenblad, guitar (2010, 11, 12)

Circus Freaks (2009, 10, 11, 12)
Bryan Lankford (2001, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Spoken Word
Tim Cloward
(1993, 94, 2001, 03, 12)
Jeff Davis
(1992, 93, 94, 95, 96, 2000, 01, 12)
Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson
(1999, 2001, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Amy Martin
Reverend Bob (2012)
Kerri Arista
(2011, 12)
Lainey Bernstein
(1999, 2004, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12)
Chi Sing (2006, 07, 12)
Gary Floyd (2009, 10, 12)
Robin Hackett (2010, 11, 12)
Tom Prasado-Rao (2005, 07, 08, 10, 12)
Rahim Quazi (2005, 10, 11, 12)
Somos (2006, 12)
Shanti Webb
(2009, 11, 12)

Over 400 performers (including three large choruses, Celestial Voices, Singing Unity and Women's Chorus of Dallas) have participated in Winter SolstiCelebration.

Notable repeat SolstiCelebrators not performing in this year’s event include Annie Benjamin (vocals), Julie Bonk (keyboards), Lora Cain (dance, prose), Lane Cawthon (martial arts), Cary Cooper (vocals), Gay Mallon-Frank (ceremony), Lama Dudjom Dorjee (ceremony), Karen McIntyre (dance), Martha Murphy-Hall (poetry), MosaicSong (vocals), Sultan’s Dreams (drum & dance), and Winfrey Bells Morris Dancers (dance).

Interesting SolstiCelebrator Notes & Highlights for 2012

The event is bookended by Jeffrey Davis, the only continuing performer who was in the very first Winter SolstiCelebration in 1992. He is flying in from upstate New York where he is a successful author and creativity consultant. He contributes poetry for the Naming Ritual and The Turn, and performs a Hafiz duet with Freddie Jones on trumpet. Freddie Jones has been with the event since 1998 and has made 13 appearances, the most of any performer besides storytellers Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson.


Cornerstones of Community ceremony features representatives of the core spiritual constituencies of the event’s history: Eastern/Buddhist, pagan/Earth centered, New Thought, Unitarian, humanist, progressive Christian, and spiritual not religious.

The Turn is the ritualistic descent with music by Sojourn and dance by Monica Lecrone into 3 minutes of silent darkness. The emergence into light is assisted by audience flashlights and stage candle lighting by dancer Charlene Widiski. It is concluded by the ethereal "Flower Duet" with two giant glowing creatures of transformative consciousness by Circus Freaks who symbolically meld with representatives of mankind and take us into the future.

Conscious Movement & Chanting

Audience participation yoga and chakra toning is led by Lisa Ware, new to the event and emblematic of the future. She is joined by singer-guitarist Shanti Webb who leads the audience in Om Nama Shiviya, a call-and-response chant for Shiva, the Hindu goddess of transformation. Music by Sojourn. Shanti started in 2009 and has sung twice since.

Members of the Circle of the Wildwood date back to the Women’s New Moon Circle, led by Amy Martin, which was the ceremonial core of the event in the late ‘90s. They present a circle dance and chant evoking the transformative power of the Earth.


Monica Lecrone defined the dance approach for The Turn, the ritualistic descent into darkness and emergence into light, in 2008 and continued for two years. She is flying in from Arizona to reprise it with music by Sojourn.

A dance of new life is presented by Laurie Willis, who has performed Middle Eastern for the past four years, first with Sultan’s Dreams and then as a soloist. Laurie was newly pregnant at last year’s event. Her son Cort is now four months old. She performs with four drummers and a flutist.


The Japanese taiko of KOBUSHI, who originated drumming for the event, energizes the space with an opening blessing. Kent Multer performed as a soloist, and in KOBUSHI and the drum ensembles Conundrum and Rhythm Tribe with Martin McCall.

The event concludes with a dance though the ceremonial gates of new beginnings, propelled by the West African sound of Drums Not Guns. They've been the event's ceremonial drummers since 1995.

After the procession is a drum and dance show reliving the history of drumming at the event, starting with KOBUSHI, then Middle Eastern drum and dance from Constellation, and concluding with Drums Not Guns, with possible guest appearances from members of  Sultan's Dreams.


Harpist Geoffrey Ricketts started in 1999 as Geoffrey the Bard, a pre-show storytelling and music set. He then performed as a soloist and in ensemble with others.

Flutist Cornell Kinderknecht started at the event in 2005 as a member of No Rhyme or Reason, and performed each year after as a soloist and then leader of the house ensemble Sojourn, ultimately becoming the event's music director.

Singer/guitarist Tommy Stanco stands in for his brother poet Joe Stanco and other members of the 1992 and 1993 Stanco Family Christmas who have passed on. "Silent Oak Tree" was written by his niece Natalie when she was 9. He will be joined by Kelly Tomlinson on bass. Rev Bob (Farley Scott) follows with a humorous tree blessing. Expect some squeenching! . Farley was part of the Summer Solstice events at Club Dada.


Bryan Lankford does sleight of hand while discussing what the event has meant to him. He has performed 5 times since 2001.

Spoken Word

Storytellers Gene and Peggy Helmick-Richardson began in 1999 and have performed 13 times. They tell a trio of transformative tales.

Poet Tim Cloward has performed solo and in the Dancing Tongue ensemble which originated the poetry. He was also the ultimate Boogeyman, a roving character whose symbolic coat carried the darkness. He repeats his very popular piece "Kangaroo" with help from musician Kim Corbet in his first year.


Lainey Bernstein began in 1999 as a chant singer and rejoined in 2004 as a vocalist, performing in every event and eventually serving as co-music director. She performs with the trio Somos and in the operatic "Flower Duet" with Robin Hackett who first performed in 2010.

A rollicking song of rebirth, “Every Day,” is by pianist Andrew Tinker who just joined the event last year.

Chi Sing leads a heart-bonding ceremony with the audience to the moving “One Heart “ by Gary Floyd. ChiSing has presented chanting and ceremony 3 times since 2006 and Gary has sung 3 times since 2009.

Rahim Quazi performs “Almost Home,” an ode to the uncertainty of change. He first performed in 2010 and has performed twice since.

Kerri Arista finds the connections that weave “Everything.”  She first performed in 2011.

Somos, a popular acapella act from 2006 with Lainey BernsteinJen Wanamaker and TP Paz performs “We Are.”

Earth Rhythms Presents ~ Winter SolstiCelebration ~ FlowFest ~ CommuniTREE ~ Earth Rhythms Store

@2009 Earth Rhythms, Inc.
381 Casa Linda Plaza, Box 137
Dallas, Texas 75218

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