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"Seeds for El Hatillo" Video on YouTube

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
August 3, 2011

David Ripley, professor of music, trained as a singer. While he has written songs before, he doesn’t think of himself as a composer. And yet, from time to time, he is inspired to become one. The results of his most recent inspiration can be heard on YouTube in the video “Seeds for El Hatillo” which was made by Ripley to help former student and now Peace Corps volunteer Danielle Costanza '08 raise money for the small rural village in Nicaragua.

Costanza has been in the Central American country for almost two years, raising money for seeds and teaching farmers to grow their own food. Before she left for El Hatillo, the music education major shared her hope of joining the Peace Corps with Ripley, then upon arriving, telling him about the remote village where there is no electricity and no running water, where there is barely enough food to eat.

Ripley was stirred to action.

“Upon becoming aware of Danielle's mission, and holding the brochure in my hands, pondering its title and images, the desire was born in me like an event, a will and willingness,” Ripley says, adding that the music and the lyrics “came to me, and out of me, in about two hours.”

After bringing in students Chris Chagnon and Claire McCahan to provide harmony, Ripley recorded the song in May. A benefit concert held May 3 featuring  Ripley, pianist-composer Michael Annicchiarico '76, an associate professor of music, and jazz bassist Nate Therrien '06 raised $650 for El Hatillo.

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