Celebrating the solstice

Talented Islanders will gather remotely to signal the end of 2020.


With mid-December marking the turning point toward the lengthening of the days, the winter solstice is certainly something to celebrate. This year, in lieu of the annual holiday party, the Chilmark Library will be hosting a virtual celebration on Dec. 19. “The Winter Solstice: Return to the Light” event will feature a number of talented Islanders providing entertainment in the form of music, poetry, and drama.

“We wanted it to be a nondenominational celebration of the end of 2020,” says program coordinator Tracy Thorpe. “We need that more than ever this year, and it’s always been a hopeful reminder of the sun returning.”

The Zoom participants include some of the Island’s most lauded poets, including Arnie Reisman, Mark Alan Lovewell, Donald Nitchie, Jill Jupen, and Spencer Thurlow. Reisman, the former Martha’s Vineyard poet laureate, will read a poem he wrote in response to the current state of the world titled “The Plague’s the Thing.” Lovewell will read a poem, as well as offer a performance of a song appropriately titled “Song of Winter.”

The musical portions of the celebration will include performances by the Bullards (on guitar and cello), Mary Sossong performing a traditional air and reel for fiddle, and Nancy Jephcote and Paul Thurlow doing a duet for guitar and violin.

The Chilmark Players will perform a skit and excerpts from “A Child’s Solstice in Wales,” while Valerie Sonnenthal will offer a short sound healing experience with crystal singing bowls, which many have described as listening to angels sing.

As noted in the press release for the library celebration, “For Druids, celebrating the winter solstice is a recognition that things are difficult, and a call for hope that everything will soon improve.” A very appropriate message for the end of a challenging year.

“Solstice Celebration: Return to the Light (a virtual event),” Saturday, Dec, 19, at 7 pm. Sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library. Email tthorpe@clamsnet.org to sign up and get the Zoom invite.