(Posted November 9, 2015)

Lift Ev'ry Voice, shown here from the event a few years ago, is at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, in the ballroom of Ellis Hall on the Juniata campus.
Lift Ev'ry Voice, shown here from the event a few years ago, is at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, in the ballroom of Ellis Hall on the Juniata campus.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College English students will be celebrating African-American literature in its annual open reading called Lift Ev'ry Voice, a coffeehouse at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12, in the ballroom of Ellis Hall on the Juniata campus.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments, such as coffee, tea, and homemade baked goods, will be provided.
In addition, Juniata's new a cappella group, The Eagle Tones, will be making its debut at the event.

Students participating in the program select and perform readings of literature or songs by African-Americans and other writers associated with the global African Diaspora. The theme chosen by the student coordinators is "The Music of Poetry" to reflect the cultural contributions African-Americans and the African Diaspora have made to music as well as literature.

"This year's organizers have chosen to highlight the interplay between music and literature in African-American culture," says Amanda Page, assistant professor of English. "The influence of jazz and blues music on African-American poetry is well known, but we will also be celebrating this theme as a way of showing that the boundaries between these art forms aren't as clearly defined as we would think. The dialogue between writers and musicians should make for a vibrant and dynamic performance."

"The link between music and poetry, given the shared rhythmic and emotional context, is emphasized in African-American and Black literature. Lift Ev'ry Voice aims to unite these artistic mediums," says Jason Lesser, an international student from London, England involved with planning the event.

Well-known authors such as Langston Hughes will be featured, alongside contemporary, perhaps lesser-known authors such as Natasha Trethewey.

"It gives students a space to showcase works by authors who may be overlooked in the eyes of the general population, and allows them to express themselves in front of the people they interact with everyday on campus and in Huntingdon," says Maris Wilson, student coordinator and a junior from Elverson, Pa. The event is sponsored by the English Department.

Student readers include:
Patrick Rutledge, a junior from DuBois, Pa.; Maris Wilson, a junior from Elverson, Pa.; DeMauray McKiever, a sophomore from Petersburg, Va.; Doug Pierce, a junior from Sandy Hook, Conn.; Jason Lesser,an international student from London, England; Rebecca Weih, a senior from Oakridge, Ore.; Tzipora Crandell, a sophomore from Needham, Mass.; Klaus-Peter Profus, an international student from Siegen, Germany; Molly Biddle, a community member from Huntingdon, Pa.; Katelyn Edwards, an international student from London, England; Connor Hunter-Kysor, a senior from Huntingdon, Pa.; Wendy Briggs, a senior from Springfield, Va.; Adam Rothstein, a sophomore from Huntingdon, Pa.; Emily Tone, a sophomore from Easton, Pa.; Daniel Welliver, associate professor of sociology; Anne-Marcelle Kouame, a freshman from Germantown, Md.; Madison Moreno, a junior from Doylestown, Pa.; Rosemary Dean, a sophomore from Cranston, R.I.; Maeve Gannon, a sophomore from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Allene Shih, a senior from Jackson Heights, N.Y.; Killian Sampo, a senior from Cascade, Idaho; Emma Johnson, a junior from Montclair, N.J.; and Matt Vasinko, a sophomore from Loyalhanna, Pa.

By Rebecca Weih and Douglas Pierce

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.