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"Simple Gifts" for Thanksgiving
November 26, 2020

“Simple Gifts.”  The phrase brings several things to mind:  

·      the familiar Shaker hymn written in 1848 by a Mainer (!) named Joseph Brackett

·      what we all are bringing each other in this year of limitations and loss, balanced by a whiff of new inner freedom

·      what we at Sunrise County Arts Institute and Sing into Joy strive to bring to those in our ever-widening circle

·      and in this season of giving, what we would ask to receive from you if you're willing and able.   


In March 2020 our income, based almost entirely on in-person singing and theater activities, plunged abruptly by 95%.   Our new Sing into Joy initiative is still in the maiden-voyage stage, with much more development in the works.

We’re happy and grateful to have our work supported at any time of any year!  But now there is an extra element of urgency if you wish your gift to be tax-deductible.  SCAI’s long-time 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor, DERC&D, is ending its operations for good by the end of December.  We need to receive tax-deductible gifts, via mailed checks made out to DERC&D/SCAI, no later than December 15.   These should be sent to us at Sunrise County Arts Institute, PO Box 277, Milbridge, ME 04658, so we can get them all to DERC&D and properly thank you.

If you don't care about a tax deduction and would like to simply give online, we joyfully accept PayPal donations using  as the recipient. Any amount, any time, helps us stay afloat and fulfill our mission.


If money is an issue—we understand the problem!— there are other ways you can support our work:

  • Sign up for our email list, here: here.  Our subscriber tribe will receive periodic special gifts and offers.
  • Like and follow our Facebook page: check out the weekly blog.  We also have a private group.
  • Gift a loved one with lessons—gift certificates happily provided. 
  • Spread the word to people who might like to know what we’re up to!


’Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free,
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
We’ll be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we will not be ashamed.
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ‘round right.

These words celebrated the Shaker principles of simplicity and humility, while the tune provided a neat little rhythm that could support the dancing the Shakers included in their religious services.  The Shakers, perhaps best known in our time for their beautifully functional furniture and crafts, were a radical cult in many ways, from their practice of complete celibacy (they adopted children to raise, and eventually the sect ended when the last elders died) to their rejection of rituals in favor of approaching Spirit directly, their completely communal economy—and their unusual elevation of women for that time.


We at SCAI and Sing into Joy plan to carry on for a long time to come—with some simple help from our friends.



Love and safe festivities to all,



P.S.   I’ve made a little unaccompanied recording of the song, and though I can’t attach an .mp3 to the blog, if you’d like me to email it to you, send me a note here.

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