WAMFest: the Art of Healing
WAMFest, the annual Words and Music Festival at Fairleigh Dickinson University, returns with a theme of helping veterans heal and will feature world-renowned artists of several disciplines who will perform and share their insights with audiences. WAMFest begins on Wednesday, October 14 and continues through Friday, October 16. It is free to attend and registration is required.
WAMFest is a series of unique performances, readings, interviews and collaborations, bringing together artists from various genres and media, to inspire and inform students who hope to one day follow in these artists’ creative footsteps. This year’s lineup features singer-songwriter Darden Smith, celebrated film composer Paul Cantelon, and The American String Quartet, regarded among the world’s finest string quartets, among others.
On Wednesday, at 4 p.m. in the Orangerie in the Monninger Center, FDU alumnus Tom Miller, a veteran and accomplished artist, who specializes in military and 9/11 artwork, will give an interactive presentation with professors George Cochrane and Judy Moonelis.
That evening at 7 p.m. in Lenfell Hall, Cantelon, Grammy-nominated singer Angela McCluskey, and prize-winning poet J. Mae Barizo will present “Love in the Time of War,” a concert, reading, and discussion dedicated to war, memory, and the role art plays in healing.
On Thursday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m, the College Writing Department will host the Fourth Annual Chalk Haiku in front of Hennessy Hall. Participants will write their haikus in chalk on the pavement.
At 7:30 that evening, “Lyric in a Time of War” will feature The American String Quartet, Kingsley-Tufts Award-winning poet and essayist Tom Sleigh, and National Book Award-winner and veteran Phil Klay. The program will blend fiction, poetry, and music in a meditation on war and remembrance.
Smith is known for his lyrical dexterity, and his ability to weave folk and Americana influences with rock, pop, and the musical influences of his home state, Texas, and is the founder of three non-profits that support others with similar aspirations and provide a venue for self-expression. Smith will lead private songwriting sessions throughout the week with veterans and FDU students. Then, at 5 p.m. on Friday, he will present “Songwriting with Soldiers Finales Concert,” performing songs he has written together veterans and students, as well as selections from his “Songwriting with Soldiers” catalogue.
WAMFEST was created in an effort to break down the barriers between different arts, and bridge the gap between the literature in academia and the literature of the people. The festival allows students to have intimate interactions with successful artists of various genres, which they normally would not have access to. Guests have included Bruce Springsteen, Neil Burger, Roseanne Cash, Eugene Mirman, and Robert Pinsky. The festival has been recognized for its groundbreaking programming by the National Endowment for the Arts. It is open to the public, free of charge. Space is limited and registration is required.
WAMFest 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. Learn more about WAMFest here.
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