Lake Junaluska

At the Lake

Ashley Danyew | Lake Junaluska 2014

The air is fresh, sweet with the smell of roses. We've had fried chicken, collards, buttermilk cake (with chocolate frosting), and several tall glasses of sweet tea and my southern accent is already starting to come back. This can only mean one thing - it's Music Week!

Go-and-Do - Music & Worship Arts Week at Lake Junaluska.jpg

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that Music Week (held at the beautiful Lake Junaluska in NC) holds a special place in my heart (read more here and here). This year, I'm honored to be presenting a session and accompanying one of the choirs!

In my session this week, I spoke about ways to share music and ministry beyond the four walls of the church, with the people of your community. I'll post a full recap soon, but for now, here's a sneak peek!

Ashley Danyew | Junaluska_Seth Godin quote

I love this quote - such a great reminder of what matters and why we do what we do.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful week!

Music and Worship Arts Week

Lake Junaluska

I know it's been a few weeks since our trip to NC but our time at Lake Junaluska was too good not to share!  Here's a quick recap of our experience at Music and Worship Arts Week 2013:

- observing the middle school choir, under the direction of Dan Stokes
- meeting new people and catching up with good friends
- buying new music to play with SD
- accompanying two reading sessions
- attending an amazing organ recital, given by Andrew Henderson
- singing around the piano at the house
- learning a few new handbell techniques
- discovering the Blue Rooster Southern Grill (we ate there twice in one week AND we ran into our former pastor from Rochester and his wife BOTH times we were there.  Really, what are the chances?!)
- inspiring worship + inspiring sermons by Susan Leonard-Ray
- huddling under an umbrella on the deck in the evenings during summer rain storms

Blue Ridge Parkway

Love the Blue Ridge Mountains - there's something so peaceful about this view and that fresh mountain air.


The Rose Walk at the Lake did not disappoint and I loved making this walk to worship each morning and to seminars and rehearsals throughout the day.  Such beauty!


In the evenings, we spent some quality time at the lake house - so many memories here, including having the guys grill for us last summer!


SD had been waiting for this moment for an entire year - the best pulled pork sandwich (ever?) from Bogart's in Waynesville.  We had more than our fair share of good southern food during our week's stay!

Blue Ridge Parkway_2

On our last day, we took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway - can you ever get tired of this view?


The hydrangeas were in full bloom everywhere we went and I could not get over the blues and purples - my favorite!

Read about last year's trip here.

Off to the Lake!


It's Lake Week!

We're off to North Carolina for a week of worship, seminars, reading sessions (I'm even accompanying this year!), and a little R&R (including our share of southern food).  This is my sixth time attending Music and Worship Arts Week and I learn something new each time.  It's a time of renewal, inspiration, and fellowship and I always feel refreshed when I leave.  Here's to a great week!

P.S. Read about last year's trip here.

Image Credit: unsplash

Life Lately

Hi y'all!

It's been a little while since I've shared a newsy update with you and I thought there was no better time than the present!  Here's what I've been up to lately and what I have planned for the summer:

First of all, I finished my first year of doctoral work at Eastman - one year down, two (hopefully, two) years to go!

For the past few weeks (and until my summer class starts in July), I've been focusing on a few professional projects (paper submissions and academic CV, anyone?).  I'm also teaching a few piano students.  Have I mentioned that I love having a little bit of teaching back in my schedule?  I am learning so much being back in school and it's been wonderful to be able to immediately apply new ideas related to teaching and learning.

Over the holiday weekend, we visited SD's hometown of Sandy Hook, CT and enjoyed spending time with his parents, brother (who flew in from Utah), and family friends.  Of course, there was enough good food to feed a small village - everything from a southern-inspired menu of smoked ribs, cornbread casserole, and summer berry pudding to a New England seafood supper.  I even held a lobster!  It was wonderful to be "back home" for a few days.  Read more about our weekend here.

Later this month, we're flying south to NC for Music and Worship Arts Week at Lake Junaluska (read about last year's trip here).  In addition to a week full of inspiring worship, seminars, and events, we are greatly anticipating fried chicken and sweet tea dinners and at least one pulled pork sandwich from Bogart's in Waynesville (SD will tell you it's the best he's had).  Then, in July we're heading to Chicago for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy - I've been invited to present some of my research on creativity in music learning at two poster sessions and SD is graciously joining me for moral support!  (For those of you that may not know, a poster session is an opportunity for people to display their research and discuss it with others in the field.)  I'm honored to have this opportunity to share my work but I'm also thrilled to finally attend this conference!

Despite the lure of summer travel, Rochester is pretty wonderful this time of year.  The restaurants and coffee shops on Park Avenue become open-air in the summer months, spilling out onto the sidewalks with a very European feel (furry friends welcome).  People sit in the park with their paper bag lunches and books to pass the Noon-time hour.  Personally, we enjoy spending time in the late afternoon/early evening up on the roof of our building, admiring the view and relishing the peacefulness of the summer breeze (we're pretty sure it's a slice of heaven on earth).  There are festivals almost every weekend, celebrating everything from the lilacs in Highland Park to jazz to barbecued ribs and bluegrass to the historic Erie Canal.  We made a summer events calendar just to keep track of it all.  Our summer bucket list includes:

- dinner with friends on the roof - a night out at the Jazz Festival - an evening walk + gelato - homemade carrot cake - exploring a few of the neighboring towns during Canal days - Fried Green Tomato sliders - pleasure reading (just finished reading 7, currently reading EntreLeadership) - take-out taste test between the two leading barbecue places in town

Wishing you all a wonderful summer!


Music & Worship Arts Week


Last month, Steve and I flew down south for a week of music, inspiration, good company, good food, and a little R&R at Music & Worship Arts Week held at Lake Junaluska in NC. 

Music & Worship Arts Week is a time for church music directors, organists/keyboardists, choir members, instrumentalists, and more to bring their families and come together for daily worship, music-making, and inspiration.  I haven't been to Music Week in a few years and it was great to be back.

The days began with worship and then everyone split off into morning rehearsals (adult choir, chamber choir, young adult, youth, children, handbells, drama, instrumental, etc.).  Having participated in the Adult Choir and in the Chamber Choir in years past, I floated around this year so I could observe a different rehearsal each day. 

Everyone has a chance to go home for lunch before dividing up once more for afternoon activities: reading sessions, seminars, rehearsals, or a little R&R on the wide porches with rows of rocking chairs overlooking the lake.  After a break for dinner, there are concerts and other events in the evening.


There were so many offerings this year it was hard to get to everything!  I attended a reading session or seminar in every time slot all week long so I could soak up as much as possible. 

Reading sessions are a great way to hear new music and learn about emerging composers and we spent our late afternoons/evenings reviewing and sharing everything we had seen and heard during the day.  It was wonderful having a piano in the house where we were staying!


Favorite moments of the week? 

Learning about hymn harmonization in a seminar with Dean McIntyre, observing Mark Miller in rehearsal, learning a few new early childhood music activities, and soaking up this beautiful view every night with wonderful friends.


For more information on Music & Worship Arts Week, visit their website.