(Posted November 7, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- "Unlock Your Voice," a coffeehouse featuring dramatic readings of women's literature by Juniata College students, will be held at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11 in the ballroom of Ellis Hall in the Juniata campus.

The event, which is not appropriate for children, is free and open to the public. Free refreshments will be provided.

The yearly event is produced by students from Women and Literature, a course taught by Judy Katz, associate professor of English at the college.

"Every year the program has the mark of a particular class," Katz says, "as each class has a different personality." The program is organized, produced, and performed by teams of students in the class. In addition to performing, students plan and publicize the program as well as provide food, art, and music.

This will be the 14th "Unlock Your Voice" since its inception in 1994. About twenty readers from Katz's class will be presenting a wide array of topics, authors and literary styles throughout the program, which will run approximately 90 minutes. "Throughout history, women have been afraid to write honestly about themselves and their bodies, and have been censored when they have done so; in this program, we don't limit what is presented," Katz says.

Sophomore Dan Popernack from Hummelstown, Pa., is the only male reader in the program this year. His selection is a poem by Nikki Giovanni titled "For Saundra."

"It's a neutral piece about the creative process of being an artist," says Popernack. With his choice, he hopes to clear up problems with the interpretation of women's literature. He explains, "People approach the literature as women writing, not as writers who happen to be female."

"Barbie Disappeared One Day," by Ellie Shoenfeld, will be read by Kristen Yohn, a junior from Reedsville, Pa. The piece is a humorous tale which shows diversity from some of the other selections. "I think that they all will be great readings," Yohn said.

There also will be a repeat performance this year by Lisa Detweiler, a junior from Berwyn, Pa.. "Last year, I performed a song I wrote called 'Perfect World,' about accepting the things we can't change in life, emphasizing how we all try to make ourselves perfect," explains Detweiler. She continues, "I will be playing another song this year more directly related to women emphasizing everything that women share, and the power of the pen."

The event promises to be enlightening as well as empowering. "I highly encourage everyone who is slightly curious to attend, and even those who aren't. There is always more to learn," concludes Detweiler.

In addition to celebrating the works of women, the event also is a great opportunity for students to have a chance to perform in a public arena.

"It benefits the class tremendously, as students are able to develop public speaking and other creative skills through this program," explained Katz.

Other Juniata students performing or reading selections are: Ashley Appleman, a junior from Woodbury, Pa.; Kathleen Candando, a junior from Hatboro, Pa.; Charlotte Catton, an international student from Wetherby, England; Kazia Eastep, a sophomore from Williamsburg, Pa.; Saskia Haase, a freshman from Langen, Germany; Amanda Harris, a sophomore from Lewisberry, Pa.; Jennifer Hamm, a senior from Roaring Spring, Pa.; Elizabeth Koval, a senior from Wilkes Barre, Pa.; Erica Kross, a freshman from Etters, Pa.; Katie Lengel, a sophomore from Mountain Top, Pa.; Samantha Monty, a sophomore from Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Megan Moschgat, a junior from Ebensburg, Pa.; Ashlee Plank, a junior from Shirleysburg, Pa.; Michelle Schoonmaker, a senior from Arnold, Md.; Cindy Shontz, a nondegree student from James Creek, Pa.; Anna Sowash, a sophomore from Athens, Ohio; and Diana Umholtz, a senior from Pittsburgh, Pa.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.