Applewild School In Ears ‘n Eyes Artwork Cafeteria Installation

Roger Goldenberg

Roger signs “Motherless Child” in the shop at Applewild

Roger and I took a trip to Applewild School in Fitchburg Massachusetts on May 29th, 2015 to witness the installation of Roger’s and the Students’ artwork, created during our Creativity Workshop Residency in march 2015. The paintings were to become a permanent gallery installation in the dining hall at Applewild.

It was a stunning, unseasonably warm, late May day. Perfect for a ROAD TRIP which Roger and I both happen to enjoy immensely! The drive from Portsmouth, NH to Fitchburg, MA was uneventful aside from our chatter about recent events, musical, artistic and otherwise. A couple of “little old ladies” catching up! Traffic got a little dicey here and there but, for the most part, the trip down was smooth sailing.

We pulled into the south end of Applewild School and parked near the auditorium. Our first task was to find Tally Lent so we could sign the painting called “Motherless Child” which the school had purchased as a gift for outgoing Head of School Chris Williamson. We walked up to the main office and ran into Erica in the lobby. She called down to Tally to let her know we were on our way. As we passed Chris Williamson’s office, he welcomed us back to Applewild, thanked us for coming down for the unveiling and we shared a story or two. Chris is a warm and welcoming person and we immediately felt back at home in the Applewild Community! We were only here for 3 days in March but it feels like an In Ears ‘n’ Eyes home base because of all the kind wonderful people!

Matt Langley, Roger Goldenberg

Matt Langley & Roger Goldenberg in the shop at Applewild School prior to unveiling of Roger’s and the Student’s artwork at the Applewild Dining Hall

We headed up to the wood shop to sign the painting. Skip welcomed us into his beautiful, bright, clean shop and, on the workbench in the back, sat “Motherless Child” waiting for Roger’s signature before framing. We took a few pictures of the signing and then headed back to the Cafeteria for the unveiling.

On our way down the hill, Sarah Sanford popped out of the main building for welcome hugs and laughs. The end of the Applewild School year was very near so everyone was busy winding down but staying focused to the last minute! Our ceremony in the cafeteria was one of many to come in the following days. A crowd was already forming in front of the cafeteria and we spent some time reacquainting with students and teachers. As more arrived we walked into the dining hall and, once inside the room, turned to see five painting mounted to the wall, just above the entrance. The paintings command the space nicely and bring a giant splash of lively color, depth and movement to the room.

Roger Goldenberg

Sarah Sanford oversees the unveiling of Roger’s work (large center) and the student’s work in the Dining Hall at Applewild.

Once all had arrived Sarah talked about the In Ear ‘n’ Eyes residency for a few moments. She mentioned the impact of our work on everyone in the school and how students and teachers would now be able to relive those moments each time they viewed the paintings here in the dining hall. Chris Williamson talked briefly about the transformation he went through during our residency. Chris was initially skeptical of the connection between Roger’s painting and the In Ears ‘n’ Eyes music being performed during our opening concert in March. He explained that as he saw us work with the students and, after a few conversations with Roger and some of the musicians, he started to “hear” the connection between music and art. Another IENE success story! Thanks to Chris Klaxton, Taylor O’Donnell, Scott Kiefner and Jonny Peiffer for making that happen!

Roger and I talked briefly, thanking Applewild for being such a welcoming community and for having the vision to see the value in making art and music so important in their daily lives. We reached every student with this residency and the main reason is that Sarah Sanford and Chris Williamson and all the faculty and staff at Applewild place such a high value on a complete education that embraces art and music.

After the unveiling we stayed and dined with the students and faculty. What a wonderful way to spend a stunning spring morning! Thank you Applewild School for being an incredible community of caring and welcoming folks!

In Ears ‘n’ Eyes Creativity Workshop travels to Applewild School

The IENE Creativity Workshop was hired to perform, teach and inspire at the Applewild School in Fitchburg, Massachusetts March 3, 4 and 5th, 2015. Six of our personnel worked with 217 students from grades 4 – 8 and rubbed elbows K – 3, the youngest of Applewild’s budding musicians, artists and scholars. On Tuesday at 11am  we unloaded and set up for our opening performance before the entire student body and faculty. Our set list was carefully chosen and crafted to reflect the school’s focus on the Harlem Renaissance. Included in our performance were Duke Ellington’s composition Jump for Joy, the title song from his musical of the same name (1939), Langston Hughes’ poem Dig and Be Dug, the gritty and poigniant poem Satchmo by Melvin B. Tolson, and the traditional Negro spiritual Motherless Child.

Dig and Be Dug

Applewild sixth graders were split into two groups; musicians and artists, to be taught to create conversations between jazz and expressionist painting.

Applewild sixth graders were split into two groups; musicians and artists, to be taught to create conversations between jazz and expressionist painting.

“I stay cool, and dig all jive,
That’s the way I stay alive.
My motto,
as I live and learn,
Dig and be dug
In return.”

                                by Langston Huges



King Oliver of New Orleans

has kicked the bucket, but he left behind
old Satchmo with his red-hot horn
to syncopate the heart and mind.
The honky-tonks in Storyville
have turned to ashes, have turned to dust,
but old Satchmo is still around
like Uncle Sam’s IN GOD WE TRUST.

Where, oh, where is Bessie Smith,
with her heart as big as the blues of truth?
Where, oh, where is Mister Jelly Roll,
with his Cadillac and diamond tooth?
Where, oh, where is Papa Handy
With his blue notes a-dragging from bar to bar?
Where, oh where is bulletproof Leadbelly
with his tall tales and 12-string guitar?

Old Hip Cats,
when you sang and played the blues
the night Satchmo was born,
did you know hypodermic needles in Rome
couldn’t hoodoo him away from his horn?
Wyatt Earp’s legend, John Henry’s, too,
is a dare and a bet to old Satchmo
when his groovy blues put headlines in the news
from the Gold Coast to cold Moscow.


Some of Applewild School’s older set jammed to the blues while their classmates painted up some masterpieces in Visual Jazz

Old Satchmo’s
gravelly voice and tapping foot and crazy notes
set my soul on fire.
If I climbed
the seventy-seven steps of the Seventh
Heaven, Satchmo’s high C would carry me higher!
Are you hip to this, Harlem? Are you hip?
On Judgment Day, Gabriel will say
after he blows his horn:
“I’d be the greatest trumpeter in the Universe
if old Satchmo had never been born!”


Applewild's forth grade improvised painted duets while  IENE personnel classmates improvised tunes on their flutophones

Applewild’s forth grade improvised painted duets while IENE personnel classmates improvised tunes on their recorders

An Applewild collaborative student painting masterpiece!

An Applewild collaborative student painting masterpiece!