November/December 2016

WAMFest 2016 Focuses on ‘Art of Change’

This year’s Words and Music Festival (WAMFest), held October 5 and 7 at the Florham Campus, highlighted the art of change and celebrated the artistry of musicians, rappers, an FDU alumna and current students in various indoor and outdoor events.

Sculpture Garden
The Sculpture Garden was officially opened by, from left, Peter Woolley, campus provost (Flor) and senior vice provost for government and community affairs; Ed Zimmermann, branch manager, Commercial Grounds Management Division, The Davey Tree Expert Company; and Judy Moonelis, art (Flor).

Two of the newest areas of interest on campus — the Secret Garden and the Sculpture Garden — were opened with ribbon-cutting ceremonies on October 5. Judy Moonelis, art (Flor), worked with students to create site-specific sculptures that were displayed in the areas. The reflection areas were officially opened by Moonelis; Ed Zimmermann, branch manager, Commercial Grounds Management Division, The Davey Tree Expert Company, which works on the campus’s landscaping; and Peter Woolley, campus provost (Flor) and senior vice provost for government and community affairs.

A discussion on “Rap and Social Change” with Bill Stephney, former CEO of Def Jam Records, and Sway Calloway, rapper, reporter and co-host of the radio program “The Wake Up Show,” followed in Lenfell Hall, Hennessy Hall. Moderated by Howard Libov, film and chair, visual/performing arts (Flor), the discussion covered the guests’ start in the music industry and how hip-hop continues to push for change in the industry. To read more go to http://view2.fdu.edu/fdu-whats-new/feature-stories/2016-2017/10/words-art-music-fest-2016-welcomes-ice-t-sway-calloway-bill-stephney-and-more/.

In addition, Robert Randolph and the Family Band performed funk and soul music in the Italian Gardens outside Hennessy Hall in the evening.

WAMFest’s second day featured musical performances by Kathy Moser, an award-winning professional musician, whose interactive performance was centered on recovery for change; the band SisterMonk; award-winning singer/songwriter Dina Hall and acoustic guitarist Andy Kilcoyne; and singer/songwriter Brynn Stanley, BA’07 (Flor), in the Italian Gardens.

Stanley’s set included a selection of songs from the Great American Songbook; an original song from her debut album Hello, California; and a jazzy version of Andy Grammar’s hit “Honey I’m Good.” Describing her appearance as a homecoming for her, Stanley said, “I discovered my talent and gift for music at FDU, and my mom and my grandma and all of my aunts went to FDU also.” Allen Cohen, music (Flor), one of her undergraduate professors, introduced Stanley to the audience. To read more go to http://view2.fdu.edu/fdu-whats-new/feature-stories/2016-2017/10/alumna-sings-jazz-hits-at-wamfest-2016/.

WAMFEST Performers
This year’s WAMFest featured guests included musicians and artists, from left, Bill Stephney, former CEO of Def Jam Records, with Howard Libov, film and chair, visual and performing arts (Flor), who moderated the discussion; Robert Randolph and the Family Band; singer/songwriter Brynn Stanley, BA’07 (Flor), with Allen Cohen, music (Flor), who introduced her; and April Patrick, literature and director, University Honors (Flor), who interviewed Ice-T, rapper and actor.

Several FDU students also showcased their varied talents at WAMFest. Musical performances by Melissa Foster, Breyton Croom and Ron Williamson were given, and Abhi Tadakamalla, Anne Fillenwarth, Catherine Cooney, Sean Williams, Alyssa Lyman and Miles Britt did readings of poetry and other writings.

WAMFest capped off this year’s celebration with a conversation between Ice-T, rapper and actor, and April Patrick, literature and director, University Honors (Flor). Attended by more than 500 faculty, staff and students, the discussion covered everything from his life on the streets in Los Angeles, Calif., and his musical and acting careers to his 16-year role on the TV show “Law and Order: SVU”; his new “lemonade” commercial for GEICO insurance; and his personal life, politics and legacy.

Patrick incorporated questions from members of the community into the discussion and asked Ice-T to give advice to the students. He reminded and advised them to “Only take advice from people whom [they] admire” and to “Have the courage to be original. It takes a lot of courage to be yourself.” To read more go to http://view2.fdu.edu/fdu-whats-new/feature-stories/2016-2017/10/words-art-music-fest-2016-welcomes-ice-t-sway-calloway-bill-stephney-and-more/.

WAMFest was supported by Fairleigh Dickinson University; FDU Trusteee Robert Pures, BS’67 (Flor), and his wife, Patricia; the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; and Morris Arts.