A one-day event on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Elisif Bruun’s passing from a heroin overdose.

Communion is grounded in the truth that art soothes in the face of death; that creative gestures have the power to invoke a loved one’s presence so palpably that the veil between the living and the dead thins, allowing us to commune with spirits.

Centered on 10 presentations by musicians, filmmakers, artists, and writers dedicated to departed loved ones, Communion also features drawings by Peter Bruun and his daughter Elisif.

Thank you to Kristin Seeberger, whose generous donation to this project is dedicated to the memory of her son, James, who died of accidental fentanyl poisoning at age twenty in 2020.

About the participants

Maria Broom

Although nationally known as an actress for her recurring roles in HBO’s “The Wire” and “The Corner,” Maria Broom is also a storyteller and dancer with over forty years of performing and teaching in the US and globally. She is a Fulbright scholar and former news reporter for the ABC affiliates in Miami and Baltimore. She is on the theater faculty at the Baltimore School for the Arts. A native of Baltimore, Maria has received many awards and honors including the Eubie Blake Award, the Sarah’s Circle Award and the 2004 Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist.

Clarence Brown

Clarence Brown is a writer and poet, and in long-term recovery from a heroin addiction that lasted 27 years. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novella “Needs,” published by Brickhouse Books in 2012. Though a work of fiction, the book reflects his own childhood, addiction, and recovery. He believes writing to be part of his redemption.

Jamaal “Black Root” Collier

Jamaal ‘Black Root’ Collier is a multi-faceted artist and educator based in Baltimore. As a human beatbox, he has garnered recognition for his innovative use of vocal percussion and channeled his passion for movement and music into co-founding Beatbox Dads, a live performance program for kids. As a songwriter he has contributed to musical projects that have been nominated for Grammy awards. As a host and master teaching artist, Jamaal has shared his talents with audiences around the world.

Navasha Daya

Navasha Daya, called an “astral soul goddess” by Mojo magazine, is an exceptionally gifted and seasoned recording and performing artist, songwriter/singer, composer, producer, arranger, choreographer, arts curator and committed cultural arts and spiritual activist who is internationally known as a breath-taking performer. She is also Co-Founder and Director of the Healing & Performing Arts of the Youth Resiliency Institute and co-director of the Cherry Hill Arts & Music Waterfront Festival in South Baltimore.

Kondwani Fidel

Kondwani Fidel is an author, poet, and professor who uses storytelling to address global issues like education reform and civil rights. His words, particularly “You Can’t Clip These Wings,” defined the Baltimore Orioles’ City Connect initiative. Recognized by NPR as “a smart young Black voice,” Fidel has been featured on The Tamron Hall Show and honored by Baltimore Magazine. He authored “The Antiracist,” “Hummingbirds in The Trenches,” and “Raw Wounds.” Fidel currently is an Assistant Professor at Coppin State University in Baltimore.

Nancy Patz

Nancy Patz is an author and artist who’s written and illustrated 13 popular books – some, for children, are filled with rhythmic fun, and others reflect the weightiness of the Holocaust. Her paintings and drawings have hung in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions. Almost 50 years after her mother’s passing, Nancy began to work on recovering moments from their long-ago life. In poems, drawings, and paintings she confronted the painful silences of those many years and began to face her great loss. She lives in Baltimore and is currently working with her 7-year-old grandson on a book entitled There’s A Dragon in the Treehouse, and He Won’t Come Down!

Missy Smith (QueenEarth)

Missy Smith (QueenEarth) is a singer/songwriter and creative professional. She has over two decades of experience as a performer, educator, host, and event planner. She has worked in tech, start-ups, higher education, and nonprofit spaces. In that time, she has also released several albums of original lyrical and instrumental music, solo and with bandmates and open mic performers in the Baltimore music community. Her genres range from soul and country to hip hop and gospel.

Simoné Speed-Hamlet

Simoné Speed-Hamlet is a management professional with 8 years of experience in assisting non-profit and for-profit businesses, and who also has a passion for making an impact in her native Baltimore communities and beyond. Simoné is also an advocate for healing and healing spaces as well as a creative in her own right. She has been raised and trained in the arts through many Baltimore organizations and brings her creativity, imagination, and love along with her as she steps into the many arenas Spirit opens up for her.

Jan Sutcliffe

Jan Sutcliffe is a filmmaker living in Maryland. An accomplished long-form documentary editor with expertise in shaping programs for broadcast distribution, her passion is cinéma vérité, though she also excels in historical and interview-based films as well as advocacy projects. Over the past twenty years, she has worked with leading documentary filmmakers and television journalists including Bill Kurtis, Peter Gilbert, Tod Lending, Jonathan Towers, Bob Hercules, and Bob Schneiger.


Umbilicus was founded in 2012 in reaction to the generic contemporary percussion quartet, with the intention of promoting and performing a more experimental repertoire, much of it composed by its members. The players are Tom Goldstein, Paul Neidhardt. Michelle Purdy, and Will Redman. The name Umbilicus contains the letters U M B C, a reference to the acronym for University of Maryland Baltimore County, where the four musicians first met.

Alex Wu & Tim Beccue

Cellist Alex Wu, a Penn State University graduate, has performed with Symphony in C, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, and at various prestigious music festivals, alongside his roles as a faculty member at the International School of Music and a guest teaching artist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Tim Beccue, a cellist hailing from southern California, is an alumnus of the American Youth Symphony and has performed as a featured soloist with both the Westmont Orchestra and the West Coast Symphony. Alex and Tim are both completing their masters degrees at the Peabody Institute, and are founding members of Hextet, a string sextet that performs frequently in and around the Baltimore region.