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WAMFest - Words and Music Festival

 WAMFest 2015
“The Art of Healing: Veterans"

This program was graciously supported by Fairleigh Dickinson University, Bob and Patricia Pures, the National Endowment for the Arts, Atlantic Health System and the Morris Arts Council 

See the final 2015 festival report


October 14, 15, and 16

Florham and Metropolitan Campuses

This festival of words and music, featuring world-renowned artists and writers, veterans, students, and others, celebrates art made for, by, with and about veterans with the hope that it will help to heal the wounds of war in all of us.

Wednesday, October 14

WAMFest begins on Wednesday, October 14 at FDU’s Metropolitan Campus in The Metropolitan Lounge. SongwritingWith: Soldiers Founder Darden Smith will work with FDU veterans and veterans from the community to write songs together based on their experiences.

The Florham Campus Programs convene at 4 pm in the Orangerie. University Alumnus Tom Miller, a Veteran and accomplished artist who specializes in Military- and September 11-inspired artwork, will offer an interactive presentation with Professors George Cochrane and Judy Moonelis.

MAIN EVENT: Please join us at 7 pm. In Lenfell Hall, for "Love in the Time of War,” a concert, reading and discussion devoted to war, memory and the role art plays in healing.  

In this joint concert and reading, celebrated film composer Paul Cantelon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Everything is Illuminated) performs with Grammy-nominated singer Angela McCluskey (Telepopmusik, The Wild Colonials).  Cantelon will perform original music with prize-winning author J. Mae Barizo (The Cumulus Effect) in her poem “The Killing Time” and discuss her family’s history as prisoners of war in a Japanese war camp.  

Thursday, October 15

From 10:00 am through 2:00 pm, The University's College Writing Department will host the Fourth Annual FDU Chalk Haiku at "The Rock." (During this program, there will be a demonstration of Quilt-making in support of Veterans offered by Operation Quiet Comfort.)

At 1:30 pm,  Darden Smith will offer a collaborative songwriting seminar for all interested students in Hartman Lounge.

MAIN EVENT: Join us at 7:30 pm in Lenfell Hall for “Lyric in  a Time of War. “

Among the world's foremost string quartets, the American String Quartet will give a program that blends fiction, poetry and music in a meditation on war and remembrance. Joined by Kingsley Tufts Award-winning poet and essayist Tom Sleigh and National Book Award winner and veteran Phil Klay, they will perform a moving tribute featuring readings interspersed with the music of Beethoven and Shostakovich's String Quartet #8.

Friday, October 16

On Friday, October 16, at 12:00 pm, Darden Smith will meet with FDU's Creative Writing Club in Hartman Lounge.

MAIN EVENT: At 5:00 pm in Lenfell Hall, SongwritingWith: Soldiers Finale Concert. Darden Smith will perform the songs he’s written with students and veterans during the week, along with hits from his SongwritingWith: Soldiers catalogue. This event will be recorded and made into a CD celebrating WAMFest The Art of Healing: Veterans.

Following the conclusion of WAMfest 2015, Wesley Stace, critically-acclaimed songwriter and novelist, will host "A Conversation with Isaac Mizrahi" at 7:30 PM. Isaac Mizrahi, a leader in the International Fashion Industry for over 30 years, is the recipient of many accolades including four Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards. He has had the distinct pleasure of dressing some of the most distinguished women in the world including Audrey Hepburn, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Coveted by Hollywood's most stylish, his classic designs have been seen on the red carpet and are a favorite among celebrities such as: Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.  A reception will be held prior to this event.

About WAMFest

WAMFest is an annual series of readings, interviews, talks and performances hosted by Fairleigh Dickinson University. It brings successful artists of various art genres to the campus to inspire and inform students and the community. Past guests have included Bruce Springsteen, Robert Pinsky, Roseanne Cash, Eugene Mirman, Jonathan Demme, Talib Kweli, Mark Morris and Neil Gaiman.

All the events, which will be hosted by FDU Creative Writing Professor David Daniel are free. Each will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

We believe it's the most innovative and exciting program around. It certainly rocks.

For additional information, please email Kim Dennison, dennison@fdu.edu.


All events are free.

Please complete the registration form to ensure admittance as space is limited.

For more information:

Inside FDU newsletter coverage of WAMFest

FDU Magazine feature article

WAMFest 2015 is sponsored in part by the ongoing generosity of Bob and Patricia Pures, The National Endowment for the Arts, Atlantic Health System, The Morris Arts Council and by Fairleigh Dickinson University.

NEA Art Works

Healing Arts

Morris Arts