Center Garden Club's "Nature in Music" Explores Nature's Influence

From left: (Back row) Jennifer Wright, Leigh Porterfield, Janette Wittmann, (Front row) Madalyn Bryant, Kinsey Bryant, Tim Verner

May 23, 2022 - On April 26, 2022, the Center Garden Club sponsored the program “Nature in Music” at First Baptist Church for the community. This lecture/recital was designed and written by Janette Wittmann, local music teacher and Garden Club member, whose purpose was to remind the audience of how nature has influenced the development of music since time began. Music has been our vehicle to express our thoughts and feelings through sound. Throughout history, composers have used the muse Nature for inspiration.

Information was cited for the following categories included in Mrs. Wittmann’s exploration of nature’s influence on our music: seasons, water, birds, mountains, hills and valleys, prairies and meadows, trees, garden critters, flowers, and air and wind. For each of the natural categories, examples of orchestral, movie music, spiritual, opera, children’s songs, songs of yesteryear, choral, madrigals and rounds, Christmas, ballet, cowboy, college songs, patriotic, metaphysical, folk songs, sacred, pop and other genre.

Performers for the event included students Kinsey and Madalyn Bryant, Mrs. Jennifer Wyatt, Mrs. Wittmann, and guest performers Mrs. Leigh Porterfield and Tim Verner.

Examples illustrating the different categories were: “Over the Rainbow” (Vocal - Leigh P.), “Waiting for Sunrise” (Piano – Kinsey B.), “Icicles” (Piano – Kinsley B.), “The Engulfed Cathedral” (Piano – Tim V.), “The Birch Tree” (Piano and Gusli – Madalynn B.), “Trees” (Vocal – Leigh P.), “Kuckoo” (German Vocal – Madalyn B.), “Yellow Butterflies” (Piano- Kinsey B.), “Jumpin Junebugs” (Piano – Madalyn B.), “Blue Daisies” (Piano – Jennifer W.), and “Cotton Bale Blues” (Piano – Janette W.).

In final segment of the program, Mrs. Wittmann also introduced several unusual instruments: the “Sea Organ” in Zadar, Croatia and the Jean Siblius Monument of six hundred pipes in Helsinki, Finland. Mrs. Wittmann had visited both of the unusual instruments. She also introduced the beautiful manual Stalactite Organ located in the Virginia’s Luray Caverns which Center’s own Ann Harmon had once played. Mrs. Wittmann also cited the annual ice music festival held in Geilo, Normay where instruments are carved from ice and then played. In conclusion she encouraged everyone to view these musical wonders on YouTube.

From left: Carolyn Bounds, Janette Wittmann, and Cherry Jones

Through this most informative, inspirational, and moving program, produced and narrated by Mrs. Wittmann, the audience became vastly more aware of how the marriage of nature and music is therapeutice and inspirational, expressing beauty and showing us as Louis Armstrong used to sing: “What a Wonderful World!”