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FDU WAMFest! Words-Arts-Music Festival

“The Art of Change”

In case you missed it, or in case you were there, we have a spectacular set of photos of the Words-Art-Music Festival. The deck is ordered chronologically, begins with the opening of the Secret Garden, and features photos of Sway Calloway, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, student readers, SisterMonk, alumna Brynn Stanley, some great professors and, of course, Ice-T.

WAMFest 2016 coincides with Family Weekend at FDU. Students, parents, and members of the wider community are all welcome.

Due to limited capacity, advance reservations are recommended for some events.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

4:00-5:00pm: Opening Receptions:
Secret Garden and Sculpture Garden

4:00pm: Toast/Ribbon Cutting at the Secret Garden
4:30pm: Toast/Ribbon Cutting at the Sculpture Garden

Art Professor Judy Moonelis has been working with her students to create site-specific sculptures for ongoing display in these new reflection areas. The works will be revealed on this day. Attendees are invited to walk the Gardens and view the students’ work

5:00pm Lenfell Hall: Rap and Social Change

Registration for Bill Stephney and Sway Calloway

Bill Stephney, first CEO, Def Jam Records, responsible for launching the rap group Public Enemy

Sway Calloway, rapper, reporter, MTV News executive producer, co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show "The Wake Up Show."

Friends and colleagues across generations, these cultural influencers will discuss how the concept of change has affected – and been affected by – the music industry over the course of their careers.

Introductions: Ron Williamson, Class of 2017

Discussion Facilitator: Professor Howard Libov, Chair, Visual and Performing Arts Department

6:00-7:00pm The Great Hall/Lenfell Hall: Reception/Storytelling

Musical Performance given by Michelle Foster, Class of 2018

7:00pm Italian Gardens: Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Registration for Robert Randolph and the Family Band

One of the nation’s biggest funk, rock and soul bands will bring a party to Campus at 7:00 pm! Led by pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph, who is named by Rolling Stone as one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” the band has collaborated on stage and in-studio in recent years with artists like Eric Clapton, The Roots, and The Dave Matthews Band.

Friday, October 7, 2016

WAMFest continues as an outdoor festival. Along with innovative and energetic performances, this year’s program will enhance the “Fest” in Festival. Students will give readings and performances, display 3D Graphics projects, and there will be receptions and student art displays in the newest areas of interest on campus, the Secret Garden and the Sculpture Garden.

11:30-12:00 Student Performances: Italian Gardens

Poetry/Readings Given by Abhi Tadakamalla, Class of 2019

12:00pm Italian Gardens: Kathy Moser, The Voices of Recovery

Moser, an award-winning professional musician in long-term recovery will be on hand to give an interactive musical performance that will tie into the theme of “Recovery as Change.” This high-energy program will engage the audience and give a sense of how the process of recovery can be one of the most impactful life experiences of change one might ever encounter.

1:00-1:30pm Italian Gardens: Student Performances

Poetry/Readings given by Anne Fillenwarth, and Catherine Cooney Class of 2018

1:30pm Italian Gardens: SisterMonk

SisterMonk’s innovative music is female-powered, djembe-driven, rhythm-centric, and culturally diverse. Soulful vocals and powerful lyrics have gained the band a solid fan base from east to west coast. The band has appeared with such acts as Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Anoushka Shankar. Venues include NYC MTA’s prestigious Music Under New York program, The Mercury Lounge, and Rockwood Music Hall.

2:30-3:00pm Italian Gardens: Student Performances

Saxophone Performance given by Breyton Croom, Class of 2017
Vocal Performance given by Ron Williamson, Class of 2017

3:00pm Italian Gardens: Dina Hall and Andy Kilcoyne

Dina Hall is an award-winning singer/songwriter who’s recently released album, "Logic and the Heart," blends folk/rock and Americana instrumentation with intimately powerful vocals. Veteran acoustic guitarist Andy Kilcoyne joins Dina on stage.

4:30-5:00pm Italian Gardens: Student Performances

Poetry/Readings given by:

Sean Williams
Alyssa Lyman
Miles Britt, Class of 2019

5:00pm Italian Gardens: Brynn Stanley, Class of 2007

Brynn’s story exemplifies the opportunities our students in the Arts are given during their time on campus, and what they can take from these experiences in their future endeavors.

Brynn suffered from stage fright as a child. This changed when she came to FDU. After hearing her sing, her friends encouraged her to try out for the upcoming musical. She did, and landed the lead role. The following year, Brynn changed her major in pursuit of her passion.

Upon graduation, Brynn embarked on a singing career and moved to California in 2013. She worked with a producer to develop her own sound, a unique blend of jazz and pop. Her debut album, “Hello, California,” released in the Summer of 2015.

Introductions/Question Moderator: Allen Cohen, Professor, Visual and Performing Arts Department

6:15pm The Great Hall: Family Weekend Reception

8:00pm Lenfell Hall: A Conversation with Ice-T

Registration for Ice-T

Ice-T has typified the concept of “Change” throughout his whole career. He first came to prominence in the late ‘80s as a musician with affinities to both the Rap and Heavy Metal genres. However, he has spread his talents through many other disciplines. Since 2000, he’s played an NYPD detective on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." He also appears in the reality TV show "Ice Loves Coco" and has co-authored a new crime novel "Mirror Image." He’s a film producer as well, with the recently released “Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp.” Never at a loss for words, Ice-T will discuss his creative outlets in what will assuredly be an energetic lecture and wide-ranging conversation.

Introductions/Question Moderator: Dr. April Patrick, Lecturer of Literature, Director of the University Honors Program, Florham Campus.


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 are free.

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

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

Invited Artists


Bill Stephney

Sway Calloway

Kathy Moser


Brynn Stanley

Past years news stories

Inside FDU newsletter past coverage of WAMFest

FDU Magazine feature article


WAMfest is graciously supported in part by the ongoing generosity of Bob and Patricia Pures, The Morris Arts Council, New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and Fairleigh Dickinson University.


NJ Council for the Humanities

Morris Arts

See the final 2016 festival report.