Sunday November 15, 2020 – Thank you all for joining us at Wordsfest via Zoom for James Reaney: Words & Music. You can view an archived version of the event here: https://fb.watch/1NryVbGfTv/
A big thank you to Sonja Gustafson (soprano), Ingrid Crozman (flute), Stephen Holowitz (piano), and Oliver Whitehead (guitar) for your wonderful performances of selections from James Reaney’s poem “Brushstrokes Decorating a Fan” and Colleen Thibaudeau’s poems “Watermelon Summer” and “Lullaby of the Child for the Mother.”
And thank you, Carolyn Doyle, for being an excellent moderator and drawing forth the stories and recollections behind the music. Composers Stephen Holowitz and Oliver Whitehead first got the idea to set music to James Reaney’s “Brushstrokes Decorating a Fan” when they were asked to perform at his 81st birthday party on September 1, 2007. Their success with James Reaney’s work led to an appreciation for Colleen Thibaudeau’s poetry and composing the music for Adam Corrigan Holowitz‘s 2013 play Colleening.
Our grateful thanks to Joshua Lambier and Gregory De Souza at Wordsfest for helping us put James Reaney: Words & Music together.
About the composers: Composers Stephen Holowitz and Oliver Whitehead are members of the London jazz group The Antler River Project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hteyhpy3gcM
James Reaney’s Souwesto Home (2005) and Colleen Thibaudeau’s The Artemesia Book (1991) are available from Brick Books.
Earlier Wordsfest lectures on James Reaney:
2016: John Beckwith on James Reaney and Music
2017: Tom Smart on James Reaney: The Iconography of His Imagination
2018: James Stewart Reaney on James Reaney’s Plays for Children
2019: Stan Dragland on James Reaney on the grid
The James Reaney Memorial Lecture series celebrates the life and work of Southwestern Ontario poet and dramatist James Reaney, who was born on a farm near Stratford, Ontario and found a creative home in London, Ontario.
Our thanks to Wordsfest and the London Public Library for their support of the lecture series, and to Poetry Stratford and the Stratford Public Library for their support in hosting the earlier lectures (2010-2015).