The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas and the Fayetteville Public Library are teaming up with the Open Mouth Reading Series to celebrate Poetry Month. The SoNA Singers will perform nine powerful poems, and poets from Open Mouth Literary Center will premiere three newly commissioned poems. In this event, we celebrate the transcendent ability of the written word, as well as the ability of music to transform words by providing color, context and emotion.
Transcending Words is the latest concert in the symphony's SoNA Beyond series, which showcases the vast spectrum of possibilities for classical music to reach audiences in new and innovative ways. SoNA Beyond presents a variety of concerts, programs and other creative arts experiences that go beyond the symphony’s annual mainstage season of concerts. It rethinks the boundaries of what a symphony can do to innovate the art form, include new voices and immerse SoNA in the Northwest Arkansas community.
SoNA Singers is an auditioned group of choral singers from throughout the region. Directed by Terry Hicks, one of Arkansas’ most respected choral conductors, this group is SoNA's official symphony chorus, conducted by Music Director Paul Haas.
About Open Mouth Reading Series Poets:
Noelia Cerna is a Costa Rican poet based in Northwest Arkansas. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 7 and received a Bachelor’s degree in English from Westminster College in Missouri. Her writing has been published in audio form in Terse Journal, The Revolution [Relaunch], The North Meridian Review, the Plants and Poetry Journal, the Abantu Radio blog and Voices de la Luna. Noelia is a reader and poetry feedback editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal, an assistant poetry editor for Borderlands Texas Poetry Review, an associate editor for Sibling Rivalry Press, an editor for Nomadic Press, a poetry genre editor for Patchwork Lit Mag, a writing mentor for Pen America’s Prison Writing Mentorship Program and a recent recipient of the PEN America L’Engle-Rahman Prize for Mentorship and an English Literacy Instructor with the Ozark Literacy Council.
Gerry Sloan is a retired music professor who taught at the University of Arkansas for 43 years. In addition to music, he has had a lifelong passion for poetry, inspired by an amazing high English teacher named John Taylor. In 1990, he won the Words Award in Poetry presented by the Arkansas Literary Society in Little Rock. More recently he won first prize in poetry presented by the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Literary Contest. His collections include Paper Lanterns (2011) and Crossings: A Memoir in Verse, plus five chapbooks. Recent work has appeared in Nebo, Slant, Cantos, Xavier Review, Elder Mountain (featured poet), and Cave Region Review (featured poet).
Robin Bruce is a poet, singer-songwriter, and visual artist from Schertz, Texas. Her first writing forms were inspired by East Coast MC’s and expressed through local hip-hop crews in San Antonio. Currently, her writing is influenced by Eastern Wisdom Traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism and yoga studies; where she interrogates the intersection of eastern spirituality in America and racial construction through the lens of ultimate and relative truth. This is reflected in cross-genre texts weaving together poetry, non-fiction, fiction, essay, and image.