Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content

Stone Church Arts Presents Fire and the Ecstasy: The Music of Hildegard of Bingen, October 12


The Fire and the Ecstasy: The Music of Hildegard of Bingen
7:30 pm, Saturday, October 12

The Chapel at Immanuel Episcopal Church
20 Church St., Bellows Falls, VT 05101

BELLOWS FALLS: Saint Hildegard of Bingen lived in the 12th century and was a creative force. Also known as the Sibyl of the Rhine, she was, among many other things, a musician and composer. She bent the rules and traditions of the medieval church into new forms of musical expression. She is the first identifiable composer in the western world. Her sublime, life-affirming music has been rediscovered in the last several decades and will be performed on Saturday, October 12, at 7:30 pm at the stone church on the hill, Immanuel Episcopal Church, 20 Church St., in Bellows Falls.

The Fire and the Ecstasy: The Music of Hildegard of Bingen will feature Ruth Cunningham and Melinda Gardiner, both performing on harp and vocals. This public concert is a part of the weekend workshop/retreat, Hildegard of Bingen: Magistra, Mystic, Musician, taking place this same weekend, October 11-13, at Stone Church Center.

Ruth Cunningham is a classically trained musician, a sound healing practitioner, and a founding member  Anonymous 4. She combines these skills to improvise music that connects people to the healing and spiritual power of music. She specializes in improvisational sacred music from varied spiritual traditions in both liturgical and concert settings. Her solo program Light and Shadow encompasses a mixture of music including several traditional chants from Western and Eastern traditions as well as Ruth’s own compositions and improvisations. The texts include Medieval Latin Marian texts, Sanskrit texts, prayers, and poems by Ruth’s sister Elizabeth Cunningham. She accompanies herself on Medieval harp, Renaissance flute and recorder, piano and shruti box.

With Anonymous 4, she performed in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East and made twelve recordings with harmonia mundi and one, Voices of Light by contemporary composer Richard Einhorn, for Sony Classical. After leaving Anonymous 4 for a number of years to study music and healing, Ruth rejoined the group in 2007 and sang with them until the group disbanded in 2015. 

Ruth’s most recent CD releases are Light and Shadow: Chants, Prayers and Improvisations and Harpmodes: Journey for Voice and Harp. She has released two CDs of multi faith chants with colleague Ana Hernandez: Blessed by Light and  HARC: Inside Chants. Among her other recordings are Sacred Light with harpist Diana Stork on the At Peace Music label and Ancient Beginnings which is part of the Open Ear Center’s music for healing series.  She is featured on Invoking the Muse a CD with Frame Drummer Layne Redmond released on the SoundsTrue label.

She was part of the women’s ensemble of Early Music NY and participated in their CD Music of Medieval Love . She has also performed and recorded with the Renaissance vocal ensemble Pomerium. She is a regular member of the professional choir at St Ignatius of Antioch in New York City. As a sound healing practitioner, Ruth works with individuals and groups on using the voice and music as tools for healing and transformation. She collaborates with other healers and musicians in a variety of settings and is interested in integrating sound healing and performance. Ruth played and taught a sound healing class for the Integrative Stress Management Program at St Vincent’s Hospital in NYC from 2001-2007. In 2001-2002 she was among the musicians who offered their services at St. Paul’s Chapel, which served as a refuge for the workers at Ground Zero.

Ruth received a B. Mus. in Performance of Early Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and taught recorder and renaissance flute at the Amherst Early Music Workshops for sixteen years. She is certified as a cross cultural music healing practitioner (CCMHP) by the Open Ear Center where she studied with Pat Moffitt Cook. She has also studied vocal improvisation with Rhiannon.

Melinda Gardiner is a Registered Nurse and Certified Music Practitioner (CMP)® , with nearly 50 years of study, teaching and work in integrative healing and medicine.

From 1969 to 1977, Melinda was a senior student of Michio and Aveline Kushi studying, and then teaching traditional Japanese healing, food preparation and arts.

From 1980 to 1999, Melinda studied The Therapeutic Touch extensively with Dolores Krieger, RN, PhD and Dora Kunz.  She has taught Therapeutic Touch at various venues, including Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, NY, and created the modality of Unitative Listening for the Music for Healing & Transition Program for the training of Certified Music Practitioners.  Unitative Listening is based on the process of Therapeutic Touch.

She completed Level I and Level II Sound and Tone Training with Don Campbell at the Institute for Music, Health and Education in 1993-1994, studied the traditional use of sound during her apprenticeship from 1980 to 1996 with Native American elder OhShinnah Fast Wolf, and intensively studied Gregorian chant with Father Columba Kelly at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey in Indiana in 2002. 

As a clinician, singer and harper, Melinda has been offering therapeutic music to patients in many settings since 1990.  She became a Certified Music Practitioner in 1998. Currently she is a therapeutic musician for Community Hospice of Columbia-Greene Counties, Catskill, NY, and at Columbia-Memorial Hospital in Hudson, NY.

Melinda is a liturgical musician and cantor at Our Lady of Hope Church, Copake Falls, NY since 1984.

Experience the profoundly uplifting music of Hildegard of Bingen, 12th century mystic and composer, at 7:30 pm, Saturday, October 12 at Immanuel Episcopal Church, 20 Church St. in Bellows Falls. Tickets in advance are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors. At the door, prices increase by $5 to $25 general admission and $20 for seniors. For more information and to purchase tickets go to our website,, call 802-460-0110, or visit Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls.

Copyright © 2019 – 2021 The Episcopal Church in Vermont.