Keep it light!

My family emerging from Williams Tree Farm. That’s Fern in the front, then Angelo (blond), Jocelyn (teal hair), Sam (hoodie) and Jesse (hat).

I received an email a few days ago about the 2023 Bloganuary Challenge. That’s when WordPress challenges its users to write one blog every day for the month of January. Blog-anuary. Get it? Anyway, they issue daily prompts and a specific “bloganuary” platform to share your daily entries. It’s fun!

I participated last year. I didn’t stop at 31 blog entries. I kept going well into the spring. Once I hit my hundredth blog, I stopped counting. My goal was 100 but I don’t remember why. What I remember is that about the time it started to warm up, I became very busy producing the Rockford Fringe and I stopped blogging. I missed it, but I promised myself I’d pick up again in the winter. So here I am.

Today’s blog is my way of e_a_s_i_n_g back into blogging. I’m going to keep it “light” and wrap up today’s entry with this picture of our house lit up for the holidays. Thanks for reading! -Connie

Connie Kuntz is the producer of the Rockford Fringe, a playwright and the music and comedy director for Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 Chicago. She lives in Rockford, Illinois with her husband and four children.

In Rockford, we ‘shake our instruments with intensity’

Great news: I won a 2022 Action Micro-Grant to produce the 2nd Annual Winter Solstice Poetry Caroling event. That’s Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. in Walker Park. Please save the date for this free, outdoor event. Everyone is welcome. Our first year was a wonderful success. Here’s some of the feedback.

"The jingle bells and drums were a GREAT touch. Hearing the different arrangements of voices - also very moving. What a great (new) tradition to add to our Christmas traditions
Thank you! I loved it so much." 


"We loved it, Miss Connie. Thank you!"

"Wonderful project."

"We LOVED it! It was a surprise for my family and our guests and everyone was enthused and excited about it. THANK YOU for the book of poetry and the candy/chocolate for the kids! I certainly thought that a live poetry delivery in the dark of the longest night was a gift all in itself! Thanks for sharing all of these gifts with all of us!"

"It was lovely, Connie and family—thank you so much for the visit."

"Amazing! So loving. So in the spirit."


Now that I have “proof” that poetry caroling is fun AND I have a grant, I have time dedicated to recruiting more carolers! Join us!

Poetry caroling is similar to Christmas caroling. Carolers meet at Walker Park at 3:00 and I hand out scripts. We have a quick rehearsal to assign parts, check pronunciations and establish rhythm.

We walk through the neighborhood, gently shaking a variety of acoustic, handheld instruments. Once at the doorstep, we shake our instruments with intensity for a few seconds. Once our “guests” are outside, we share a curated arrangement of poems.

It’s tremendously exciting! The way the poetry sounds and feels outside in the cold, dark night is amazing.

Poems or excerpts from poems will be selected and arranged from (at least) the following:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Dreams by Langston Hughes

Appalachian Elegy (select sections) by bell hooks

Let the Light Enter by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas

The poems selected reflect the spirit, hope, truth and love of the longest, darkest night of the year.

I’ll work on the arrangement a little closer to the date. The final “script” will move along quite nicely. We are at each residence for less than 10 minutes.

Everyone is welcome to come poetry caroling with us! All I ask is that you let me know you are coming so I print enough scripts and have enough snacks and wassail. I also will need to make sure we have the proper amount of cars organized for the caravan.

The details:

-Meet at Walker Park on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022 at 3:00 p.m.

-I’ll hand out scripts.

-I’ll assign parts and lead a quick rehearsal to check volume, pronunciations, tone, rhythm, etc.

-Chugro will lead the caravan safely to each destination.

-The homes / places we are caroling will know we are coming. We are not “surprising” anyone. We are not going inside anyone’s home. We are not asking for anything in return. We are not caroling any houses that do not want to be caroled.

-The schedule is tight because it will be cold. Now…save the date! Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. -Connie

Fern and Angelo prep for poetry caroling.

The grant is made possible through a partnership with the Rockford Area Arts Council, Rockford Art Deli, and the Rockford Area Visual Artist of the Year (Manny Tang, 2021).