Darden Hanson Burns was born on June 18, 1954 and grew up on the east coast living in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania; Riverside, Connecticut; and Concord, Massachusetts. She moved to the Seattle area in 1973 and to Bainbridge Island in 1984.
Darden had a passionate interest in music from a very early age. She began studying the piano at the age of seven and playing the guitar at the age of eleven. She grew up singing and playing music in school, church and camp settings. Darden attended Carleton College, Cornish College where she received her Bachelor of Music degree, the Aspen Music School and Seattle Pacific University where she studied music education. She began teaching piano lessons in 1976 and taught many students out of her home on Bainbridge Island. This was her most rewarding and gratifying work. She was an active member of Kitsap Music Teachers Association, the local chapter of Music Teachers National Association. Darden enjoyed performing particularly as a collaborative pianist with instrumentalist and vocalists. She founded and directed for twelve years the home concert series “Musical Evenings on Bainbridge Island”, and then beginning in 2005 “First Sundays Concerts”, a concert series that presents professional classical and jazz artists. She was responsible for raising money to purchase the grand piano at Waterfront Park Community Center to make these concerts and other musical events there possible. Darden was a member of Grace Episcopal Church where contributed to the music program as a pianist, guitarist, and singer and occasional music director; then St. Barnabas Church where she sang in the choir. She produced two CDs of her music: a compilation of music for piano in 2015 and a collection of songs in 2018.
Darden enjoyed spending time in nature and was an avid hiker, skier and gardener until her health prevented her from participating in these activities. Darden loved her family immensely and being a mother to daughters Caitlin and Amelia, grandmother to Wesley and wife to Michael. Darden struggled with chronic illness her entire adult life and was an advocate for persons with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Syndromes. She explored countless therapies in an effort to improve her health and shared her research and experiences with others in a blog.
A memorial service in celebration of Darden’s life will be held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island on Saturday, September 14th at 11am, with Reverend Karen Haig presiding. Following the service, all are invited to a luncheon at the Burns residence.Memorial donations can be made to the Natural Resource Defense Fund.