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Women\'s Literature is Focus of \'Unlock Your Voice\'

(Posted November 22, 2004)

HUNTINGDON. Pa. -- Juniata students will be speaking out in "Unlock Your Voice," a program of dramatic readings to celebrate the work of women authors. at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. in the ballroom of Ellis College Center on the Juniata campus.

The program is not appropriate for children. The event, which is presented as a coffeehouse program, is free and open to the public Refreshments will be provided.

"Unlock Your Voice" is produced by students under the direction of Judy Katz, associate professor of English. In addition to reading and performing during the 90-minute program, students plan rehearsals, organize publicity, decorate the room, and make refreshments.

According to Katz, the program was originally produced when the course was taught in the spring, as a celebration of Women's History Month, in March. However, the students had such a good time with "Unlock Your Voice" that Katz decided to continue the event even after the class no longer coincided with Women's History Month.

"The reading program is a great occasion to celebrate the work of women authors, as well as a great first public speaking opportunity for students," she says

Theatrically speaking, "Unlock Your Voice" has had a facelift this year. Instead of merely reading the pieces which they have chosen, students are putting in extra work and rehearsal time in order to make the event more appealing and dramatic. Katz believes that the change in the format will give the event "new life" and she hopes that the public "will come and see what new things we are doing."

There will be a variety of different works performed this year, including pieces by novelists and poets Susan Minot, Virginia Woolf, Lucille Clifton, Sylvia Plath, and Margaret Atwood. Several students are even opting to read personal works. Cheri Brown, a junior from Saxton, Pa,. will be reading a piece by her great aunt; while Renee Coffman, a senior from Huntingdon, Pa., will bring life to a poem by her mother-in-law.

Norman Krumenacker IV, a senior from Johnstown, Pa., will be reading in "Unlock Your Voice" for the first time. He says that the event is, "a great venue where women can push themselves beyond their limits, and do it with astounding support." Christy Stubler, a senior from James Creek, Pa., who will be reading in "Unlock Your Voice" for the fourth time, agrees. "The event is a great celebration of women's writing," Stubler explained. "I am always surprised at the diversity of the different pieces." This year, for the first time, works by Arab and Afghan women will be read.

Other Juniata students performing or reading selections are: Tricia Bitetto, a freshman from Ringoes, N.J.; Denique Conner, a junior from Rochester, N.Y.; Nichole Fernandez a senior from Stroudsburg, Pa.; Alcione Frederick, a senior from Huntingdon, Pa.; Emily Harris, a senior from Cranston, R.I.; Jennifer John, a senior from East Swanzey, N.H.; Steve Knepper, a junior from Blairs Mills, Pa.; Souzan Kurdli, an international student from Syria; Anne Laird, a senior from Altoona, Pa.; Lindsay LaPrad, a freshman from Brunswick, Maine; Lynne McCausland , a sophomore from Lancaster, Pa.; Jessica Shenker, a junior from Mercer, Pa.; Stephanie Stupic, a sophomore from Heilwood, Pa.; and Genna Welsh, a junior from McVeytown, Pa.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.