Presentations 2018-2019

Beverly Sills: A Lifetime of Resilience with Music as the Medicine that Heals

Operatic soprano Beverly Sills in costume as Sonia in The Merry Widow in 1977.
Beverly Sills as The Merry Widow, San Diego Opera October 1977

Presentation by Kathline Colvin, PhD2019
Creativity and Madness: Women of Resilience Conference – Santa Fe, NM, Drury Plaza Hotel Santa Fe

For Beverly Sills, singing was always a joyous occasion, and her remarkable talent for communicating a great depth of emotion was one of the memorable gifts she bestowed on her audience.  During her performances she crafted a magnetism that drew the listeners in to share her intense dramatic engagement. This was a quality unique to her artistry – she had a special ability to share the very soul of her characters – for hers was a voice of extraordinary beauty.

Kathline Colvin, Alan Titus and Beverly Sills Backstage during the San Diego Opera Production of The Merry Widow, October 1977. Courtesy of the San Diego Opera.
Kathline Colvin, Alan Titus and Beverly Sills in the San Diego Opera Production of The Merry Widow, October 1977. Courtesy of the San Diego Opera.

Beverly also embraced performance as a haven from the painful reality of living with the tragedy of her children’s disabilities. Those who know her story will recall that her daughter was born deaf, and her son with severe developmental delays. She has described her experience of her children’s disabilities as a “kind of shattering that never goes away… a kind of hopelessness that sits on you forever”. Yet she became one of the greatest and most beloved artists of our time.

Kathline Colvin Presenting her Beverly Sills: A Lifetime of Resilience Workshop
Kathline Colvin Presenting at the Creativity and Madness: Women of Resilience Conference – Santa Fe, NM | Photo by Katie Johnson

In this presentation I will explore the powerful influence of art, with music as the medicine that healed and nurtured this resilient artist.  And since I had the great pleasure of having Beverly as a mentor, I witnessed first hand the remarkable resilience of this extraordinary woman. There are special people who come into our lives for a time and leave an indelible mark that forever changes us – my relationship with Beverly was just such a gift. To this day her legacy lives on through me, and through the many others whose lives she touched, and it will be my pleasure to share those experiences and again consider how Art Can Heal Your Life.

Healthy Artists and Mood Disorders: Slaying the Dragons without Killing the Angels – “Art Can Heal Your Life”

Carol Rosenberger And Kathline Colvin
Carol Rosenberger And Kathline Colvin

Kathline Colvin, PhD with pianist Carol Rosenberger
Creativity & Madness Conference – Santa Fe, NM, Convention Center

Artists describe a significant relationship between their moods and their creative process. For this Healthy Artists Presentation we will explore Neuroplasticity, Flow States, Sensory-Processing Sensitivity and Mindfulness Practices as they enhance art making. Pianist Carol Rosenberger will share excerpts from her upcoming book To Play Again: A Memoir of Musical Survival, along with musical examples from the piano, illustrating the theme of using art itself as the “medicine” that heals. Carol was stricken with paralytic polio at age 21 and after 15 years of intense retraining she was able to resume her career as a concert pianist. Hers is an example of intense dedication showing us how an artist can “live inside their art”, take daring chances while in a “flow state”, and endure the process of healing to realize an ultimate victory.

We marvel at how extremely gifted people create art that touches our lives and bestows so much beauty on our world. Yet we can all unravel these mysteries by tapping into our potential to use art making as a healing tool to enrich our lives through “extraordinary ordinary creativity”.

Our Art Can Heal Your Life workshop will also explore creative wellness strategies to maintain a healthy body; manage anxiety and negative moods; understand the neurobiology of the highly sensitive person; embrace the concept of neuroplasticity which can “rewire the brain” and with specific training find long-lasting changes; and lastly reconsider Mindfulness practices as scaffolding to support optimal creative expression. Everyone will learn how to apply art making ideas to develop “extraordinary ordinary creativity” and find a useful balance for living an artful life infused with beauty, contentment and happiness. A workbook will be provided for everyone attending the afternoon workshop.

Enjoy a sample of Carol Rosenberger’s musical artistry with the final movement of Beethoven’s last masterpiece for the piano: