nourish ∙ a call to community action

Can sharing an artistic experience bring otherwise disparate people together? What about combining art with sharing a meal? What can we learn – as artists and as people – when we listen to voices that are unlike our own? 

Last year, the DePauw School of Music set out to explore these questions in partnership with six other music schools from all over the country. From Los Angeles to Philadelphia, musicians cooked meals, performed concerts and had meaningful conversations with people they otherwise may have never met. We gathered over music and food to learn one another’s stories and better understand our shared humanity. Each nourish event uniquely reflected the challenges, opportunities and communities in which these musical institutions reside.

This year, we want to do it again – but on an even larger scale. We are issuing a call to fellow musicians and music schools to join us this fall in hosting your own nourish event. 

We’ve assembled galleries of photographs, videos and written testimonials from each of the 2019 nourish events so that you can get an idea of how similar or different you’d like your own to be. Click on the thumbnails below to open their corresponding galleries. Feeling inspired? Check out our toolkit for more information on how to get involved – and then reach out to us to confirm your participation.

nourish ∙ putnam county

Putnam CountyWho participated? 
Beyond Homeless, Inc.
Bridges Restaurant
DePauw University
United Way of Greater Indiana
Office of the Mayor of Greencastle, Indiana

Where did it take place? 
Greencastle, Indiana

What happened?
On November 18, 2019, residents of Greencastle, Indiana – including members of the local homeless shelter, musicians and other members of the community – came together to share music and a meal. The evening started with a baking workshop and a meal at Bridges Restaurant, followed by a community sing. DePauw’s director of choirs Eric Schmidt led participants in songs from the Justice Choir, an organization that encourages group singing for social justice. Afterwards, breakout sessions encouraged members to discuss poverty in Putnam County.

Several volunteers chose to spend the night sleeping in tents in a continued effort to raise awareness about poverty and homelessness in their community. Gloves, mittens, hats and other winter items were donated along with cash gifts to Beyond Homeless. 

nourish ∙ los angeles

ColburnWho participated?
Colburn School of Music
Urban Voices Project
John Wesley Community Health Institute

Where did it take place?
Los Angeles, California

What happened? 
On November 13, 2019, music students from Colburn Conservatory headed down to Los Angeles’s Skid Row – just six blocks from their school – to participate in a neighborhood sing hosted by the Urban Voices Project. The Urban Voices Project is a choir made up of Skid Row residents with an open-door policy: It is the product of a collaboration between Colburn teaching artists, staff from the John Wesley Community Health Institute and, most importantly, the members of the choir! During this nourish event, participants prepared a meal of hot chili to serve up alongside a helping of shared music-making.

nourish ∙ columbia

University of South CarolinaWho participated?
University of South Carolina School of Music
SPARK Laboratory

Where did it take place?
Columbia, South Carolina

What happened?
Students at the University of South Carolina’s School of Music and members of the school’s SPARK Laboratory, a leadership initiative designed to get musicians thinking creatively about their future careers, turned their nourish event into a brainstorming opportunity meant to generate sustained partnerships with members of their community. In attendance were representatives from community organizations such as the South Carolina State Museum, Benedict College, Harriet Hancock LGBT Center and South Carolina Public Radio. The evening featured live performances by USC’s leading chamber ensembles and a presentation on the winning projects in SPARK’s Creativity in Music Competition. Those projects included concerts with local refugee communities, recitals that paired music with meditation and more. For USC, the hope is that bringing together community leaders and music students, faculty and staff will generate more community-minded projects. 

nourish ∙ el paso

El PasoWho participated?
El Paso Pro-Musica
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Center for
    Arts Entrepreneurship
Bergamot Quartet
YWCA Transitional Living Center
El Paso Symphony Orchetra “Tocando” After-School Music Project

Where did it take place?
El Paso, Texas

What happened?
In 2015, El Paso Pro-Musica launched the Young Artist Development Series – a collaboration between UTEP and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland – wherein teaching artists from Peabody coach UTEP music students in community concertizing. For their nourish event in mid-November 2019, El Paso Pro-Musica hosted the Baltimore-based Bergamot Quartet for a week. Members of the Bergamot Quartet collaborated with UTEP music students in a series of music-making events around El Paso. The week began with a pop-up concert in a local coffee shop featuring music by living composers and continued with residencies and performances for the El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s “Tocando” program for youth and the YWCA Transitional Living Center, a refuge for women and children who have faced homelessness and domestic abuse. According to El Paso Pro-Musica, more than 1,800 people, including “members of the community, students from the university level [and] students from elementary, middle and high schools were exposed [to music] and nourished by this incredible week.”

nourish ∙ philadelphia

nourish-philadelphiaWho participated?
Curtis Institute of Music
Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission

Where did it take place?
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What happened? 
One Wednesday a month throughout last fall, musicians from the Curtis Institute of Music traveled to the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission to share lunch, music and conversation with members of the mission who are struggling against homelessness. For Mike D’Aquilante, volunteer and community relations manager at SBRM, the performances helped deliver a sense of dignity to the guests. “We want to … say that ‘you are experiencing a tough time right now, and going through some trauma and crisis, but life can get better.’ Curtis really helps us with that and [the performances] set an atmosphere at the lunch meal … bringing a sense of peace and an elevated lunch service.” Hue, a guest at SBRM, told organizers, “This is the best event that Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission has ever had.” For the musicians, they hope that these events marked the beginning of a multi-year partnership that will include interactive performances, food service, and composition and songwriting opportunities for residents.  

nourish ∙ cu boulder

University of Colorado – BoulderWho participated?
Entrepreneurship Center for Music at CU Boulder’s College of Music
CU Boulder students
Post Brewing Company

Where did it take place?
CU Boulder Campus, Boulder, Colorado

What happened?
Realizing that they had a disparate community right on their own campus, music students at the University of Colorado Boulder held a nourish event on November 15, 2019 meant to bring together students who may otherwise never have the occasion to interact. Organized around the idea of group improvisation and bebop – a genre of music that organizer Katie Skayhan describes as having “evolved through community development” – the evening started with a shared “bebop-era” supper of fried chicken and waffles and continued into an evening of music-making. And they dove right into the deep end! Participants were taught how to interpret and perform John Zorn’s “Cobra,” an improvisational musical game that involves “guerilla tactics.” 

nourish ∙ greenville

GreenvilleWho participated?
Members of Sigma Alpha Iota from Furman University
The Woodlands Nursing Home

Where did it take place?
Greenville, South Carolina

What happened?
On December 7, 2019, members of the Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity of Furman University spent a day serenading residents of The Woodlands Nursing Home with solo performances and a Christmas carol singalong. After making music together, residents and musicians shared a meal and conversation. For participant Mary Pauline Sheridan-Rabideau, one of the highlights of the experience was discovering that two of the residents had taught in Furman’s music department for decades. They not only harmonized beautifully during the singalong, but were happy to share their advice for the graduating seniors in college. 


Want to get involved? Download your nourish toolkit here.

Eum Porta, diuturna/accusare/censuram; Esse Avertat, funnii; Eaque Parata, quam wisi amet modi lius nescit modi dicta quia iure

Eum Porta, diuturna/accusare/censuram; Esse Avertat, funnii; Eaque Parata, quam wisi amet modi lius nescit modi dicta quia iure

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