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SCAI founder Danielle Woerner's new book!
July 27, 2021

Published in July 2021 by Sunrise Song Press:



July 8, 2021






Milbridge, ME, June-July 2021 – SUNRISE COUNTY ARTS INSTITUTE, INC. (SCAI) in Milbridge

will be creating two virtual productions with Downeast-Acadia youth this summer: a short choral

concert, and an original play with music. The project, called “Sunrise Voices”, is funded by a minigrant

from Healthy Acadia’s Downeast Maine Partnerships for Success initiative. Participation is

free, and open to people ages 9-20 from Washington and Hancock Counties who like to sing, act,

and/or play instruments.


Recruitment and casting are starting immediately. The goal is to create two videos during

July through early August, and post the finished productions online by August 31:

- a 15-20-minute program of choral music, and

- a play with incidental music, “The Lobsterman and His Wife: A Downeast Fairy

Tale,” which Woerner and the members of the Narraguagus JrSrHS Drama Club created in

2018-19, through a workshopping and performance process.


The Lobsterman script was based on the Grimm’s fairy tale, “The Fisherman and His

Wife”—but as Woerner describes it, “with songs, several additional characters, and a much more

redemptive ending for all of them” than the original Grimm’s story. “We had a short run at the high

school, just one weekend in spring 2019, and also took it out to UMM’s ‘Thou Art Faire’ and the

residents at Narraguagus Bay Health Care. All our audiences loved it.” The script was selected by

The Grand’s Fringe Festival for inclusion in its fall 2019 season in Ellsworth, though the early-

September festival timing proved too soon to reassemble the cast for performances.



“We made a good little show, and I’ve always wanted more people to have a chance to see

it,” says Woerner. “A virtual production now seems made to order.”


On a practical; note, she says, “We waited to kick off the active signup and

rehearsal/production phase till kids were out of school, as they’ve been under enormous pressure

with so many changes and so much virtual learning during the past academic year. A lot of them

couldn’t think past getting through finals.”


Now, she adds: “Doing most of the recording one-on-one and virtually will enable everyone

to work around their summer job schedules and vacations.” Some portions of the shows will be

recorded outdoors at SCAI’s bayside headquarters in Milbridge—“barring too much wind in the

microphones,” she quips.


Says PFS Coordinator Sara McConnell, “Healthy Acadia's Downeast Partnerships for

Success is thrilled to partner with groups like SCAI to provide opportunities for area youth to

increase protective factors and decrease risk factors of substance use. We can't wait to see this

project evolve."


SCAI’s $5,400 mini-grant for “Sunrise Voices” was originally announced before the Covid

pandemic struck in March 2020, and planned as an in-person young women’s Downeast-Area

chorus. Since then, the project has been reconfigured to accommodate the current performing-arts

reality: even though some activities are making a longed-for reappearance, there’s a slower return

to safe singing together in person. Through June, SCAI was busy laying the groundwork: learning

how to create virtual productions, obtaining needed software and equipment, and working with a

college-student intern who assists with recruitment and social media, and will help participants

prepare their vocal recordings.


For those interested in joining or volunteering to help the Sunrise Voices program, contact

Woerner through SCAI’s website:; its Facebook page,; Instagram @sunrisecountyarts; or call 207-546-2272.



"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.

This week's happy SiJ news: SCAI Launches "Sing into Joy" Online Singing-and-Wellness Initiative--and Receives Grant from Happy Vibes
October 28, 2020

 Singing as Your Path to Wellness—an Initiative of the  SUNRISE COUNTY ARTS INSTITUTE, Inc.


Danielle Woerner, President & Artistic Director

P.O. Box 277, Milbridge, ME 04658


Contact:  Danielle Woerner,





MILBRIDGE, ME, October 2020—This spring, Milbridge artist and entrepreneuse Danielle Woerner envisioned a way to do something positive about the effects of the COVID-19 quarantining that descended in mid-March.  It’s called "Sing into Joy: Singing as Your Path to Wellness." 

“I saw people deeply concerned about their health, especially their breathing,” says Woerner, an internationally recognized singer, voice teacher and writer, and the President and Co-Founder of the Sunrise County Arts Institute (SCAI) in Milbridge. “Almost everyone was becoming withdrawn, anxious and depressed because of all the losses,” she adds. “They missed each other, they missed their normal activities—and they missed the arts.  We all still do.”

Knowing that the elements of good singing also contribute overall to singers’ physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health, she developed this new SCAI initiative applicable to anyone.  Through a combination of free and paid offerings, including private lessons, workshops, and events for groups from corporations to colleges to churches, Sing into Joy offers a way for participants to keep connected and healthier through song, while staying safely at home and online.  

The new venture has already received special recognition, from the Happy Vibes Grant program founded by Olympic athlete and motivational speaker Jaime Komer.  The mini-grants, from $50 up to $500, are earmarked for “women-led, conscious, small businesses in need of financial support.”  SCAI received $311.  The program is funded by Komer’s Happy Vibes bracelet business and her public speaking appearances. 

“Our world is so much brighter with Danielle and organizations like Sing into Joy,” says Komer.  “We celebrate the empowering ripple effect Sing into Joy is creating and we are grateful to support with a Happy Vibes Grant.” 

“The support from Jaime and Happy Vibes is such a valuable thing for us,” says Woerner, “both for the financial boost, and the acknowledgement that we’re doing something that can make a difference.”

Sing into Joy currently has its own website,, a Facebook page and a private Facebook group, and regular blog posts.  Woerner is constantly expanding the scope of online activities, soon to include videos and a YouTube channel.  Later this month she’ll offer two of her long-successful workshops online, to small Zoom groups: “Finding Your Voice,” and “Healing the Wounded Voice.” 

“It’s especially painful that during this pandemic, when we could most benefit from singing, singing together is considered dangerous and irresponsible, due to the transmission of those fine aerosolized droplets,” she says.  “But this intermission is a great opportunity to develop our skills, boost our spirits and develop a wider community.”

Woerner also gives an appreciative shout-out to the CEI Maine Women’s Business Center and the Sunrise County Economic Council.  “SCEC was on board right away in May, offering helpful weekly small-business workshops.  And CEI has provided sophisticated, highly personalized training resources, all for free, helping us shift our all-in-person work of the past into a new shape for the present and future.”


For more information about Sing into Joy or the upcoming workshops, contact Danielle Woerner through, or call 207-[phone # redacted in blog to avoid online harvesting]

Happy Vibes can be reached through its website,, and welcomes applications for its grants.



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