Before Jennifer Zulli first set her eyes on the Hawleyville Chapel -- now, thanks to her efforts, the SOUND Center -- she was in a difficult place in her life.
She describes it as "one of those life-awakening crises." In 2010, she lost a baby through miscarriage. Then her house was robbed. Then she and her daughter were hit by a car in Treadwell Park. And in a separate accident, she broke her leg in three places.
Then the spot that would become the SOUND center came to her in a dream, she says.
"I was with my daughter -- and a son -- and I was walking into a church," she says. "And when I found it, it was exactly like in my dream." A year later, she even gave birth to a son.
The chapel itself was moved from Brookfield to Newtown in the 1840s. After buying it, Zulli and her husband did a lot of smudging and cleaning, and opened the doors last December. For nine months, the center has offered music therapy, creative arts classes and everything else, from yoga to cooking classes. They also offer reiki, massage and intuitive counseling (for more events, check out their website.)
And that's just in line with the vision she had after her dream:
"To make a center for artistic healing and spiritual awakening using music, sound and energy," she says. "To create an educational center that works with the expressive and creative arts and raises our spiritual consciousness."
A Juilliard-trained musician, Zulli has released her own music and continues to make musical therapy a cornerstone of her work -- what she calls "a mind-body-spirit culmination." In the past nine months, she's also brought on a staff of teachers. About 12 teachers and practitioners are now working in the space.
"The people who are searching for me are searching for more," she says. "They find this place. They take a lot of classes. Once they come in, they're here -- they're clients and customers for a long time."
And aside from the chapel itself -- which she describes as "highly energetic" -- she's hatching visions for the land surrounding it. Beyond the chapel, a lagoon-like pond could be cleared of trees, and the shady, overgrown field nearby could become a path for peaceful walks.
"I'd love to have one day a meditation treehouse overlooking the pond," she says. "Really, I'd just like to continue to grow and expand."