FDU’s WAMFest to focus on ‘Art of Healing’ for veterans, Oct. 14-16

Austin Songwriter Darden Smith will write songs with veterans at WAMFest.
Austin Songwriter Darden Smith will write songs with veterans at WAMFest 2015.

WAMFest, the annual celebration of Words and Music at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison and Teaneck, focuses on The Art of Healing: Veterans,  with a series of free workshops, talks and concerts from Oct. 14-16, 2015.

Austin Songwriter Darden Smith will write songs with veterans at WAMFest.
Austin Songwriter Darden Smith will write songs with veterans at WAMFest 2015.

Participants include such celebrities as singer-songwriter Darden Smith, film composer Paul Cantelon, The American String Quartet, Grammy-nominated singer Angela McCluskey, and prize-winning poet J. Mae Barizo, among others.

While all events are free, seating may be limited and registration is advised.

Past guests at WAMFest have included Bruce Springsteen, Robert Pinsky, Roseanne Cash, Eugene Mirman, Jonathan Demme, Talib Kweli, Mark Morris and Neil Gaiman.

Here is this week’s WAMFest schedule:


Teaneck Campus: Darden Smith starts songwriting session with veterans from FDU and the community, in the Metropolitan Lounge .

Florham (Madison) Campus: 4 pm, FDU Alumnus Tom Miller, a veteran and  artist who specializes in military- and Sept. 11-inspired artwork, will offer an interactive presentation with Professors George Cochrane and Judy Moonelis, at the Orangerie.

Florham (Madison) Campus: 7 pm, Love in the Time of War, a concert, reading and discussion devoted to war, memory and the role art plays in healing, in Lenfell Hall.  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.


Florham (Madison) Campus: 10 am to 2 pm, the fourth annual Chalk Haiku at “The Rock” will include a demonstration of quilt-making in support of veterans, offered by Operation Quiet Comfort.

Florham (Madison) Campus: 1:30 pm, Darden Smith will offer a songwriting seminar for all interested students in Hartman Lounge.

Florham (Madison) Campus: 7:30 pm, Lyric in  a Time of War, in Lenfell Hall. One of the world’s top string quartets, the American String Quartet,  will blend fiction, poetry and music in a meditation on war and remembrance.  Award-winning poet and essayist Tom Sleigh and National Book Award winner and veteran Phil Klay will perform a tribute featuring readings interspersed with the music of Beethoven and Shostakovich’s String Quartet #8.


Florham (Madison) Campus: Noon, Darden Smith will meet with FDU’s Creative Writing Club in Hartman Lounge.

Florham (Madison) Campus:  5 pm, SongwritingWith: Soldiers Finale Concert, in Lenfell Hall.  Darden Smith will perform songs he’s written with students and veterans during the week, along with hits from his Songwriting With Soldiers catalogue. This concert will be recorded as a CD celebrating WAMFest The Art of Healing: Veterans.

Florham (Madison) Campus: 7:30 pm, A Conversation with Isaac Mizrahi. Following the conclusion of WAMfest 2015, Wesley Stace, songwriter and novelist, will host this conversation with Mizrahi, a leader in the international fashion industry for more than 30 years. He has dressed Audrey Hepburn, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.  A reception will be held prior to this event.

WAMFest is supported by FDU, Bob and Patricia Pures, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Atlantic Health System and Morris Arts. For more details about WAMFest, drop a line here.


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