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Callanwolde Begins a New Chapter

By: Casey Parsons Bagby, Art Education Director

Callanwolde is our home.

I have worked for Callanwolde since 2001; I never tire of walking through her doors. Why is this, you ask? Callanwolde inspired me from the first day I walked on to her grounds. I got caught up in the magic of her history, the architectural surroundings, and the gardens. I never expected to walk in and see dancers, painters, singers, and writers. After all, Callanwolde is a house, right? Who would have thought back in 1920 that the master bedroom would one day house fifteen excited little girls, dressed in their pink leotards and tights, their tiny feet in ballet slippers? I suppose Callanwolde becomes a kind of romance for me: a love story compelled by twirling dancers, brushes moving across canvas, hands forming wet clay into vessels, nurturing not only the passion for the art, but feeding an integral part of my inner being.

Since I was a little girl, in the crib even, I have had a song in me. I would sing all day long, and then sing myself to sleep at night, much to the dismay of others in the household who were trying to sleep. I recently read a study suggesting that choral music performance quite literally synchronizes the rhythm of the singers’ heartbeats. The joined focus on breathing together in the same moment creates this harmonious effect within our bodies, and not just in the air around us. Is it any wonder that I love to stand in the middle of a choir, raise my voice in song, and dissolve into the sound and rhythm of those around me?

This fall at Callanwolde begins a new chapter of an already beautiful and remarkable history. I am thrilled to finally merge my passions for music and Callanwolde, as we embark on the beginnings of  what will become a fully-fledged Music Program. Ambrosio and the guys have been hard at work painting, pruning, pressure washing, and scrubbing. The Gardener’s Cottage looks almost new, in that charming 100 year-old building sort of way. What was once the small household of the gardener and his wife, is now the home of our budding Music Program, where I hope to instill the invaluable love of learning (and the sound of a perfectly tuned chord) in Atlanta’s next generation of fine musicians.

Why am I never tired at Callanwolde? The people I get to work beside, the students I meet, the artwork I get to enjoy, fills me to overflowing with pride and excitement for what is yet to come. You really do not want to miss this.


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