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'Words and Music' a hit at Hagerstown university center

May 04, 2008

"Words and Music" was held at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown on April 22 to celebrate National Jazz Month and National Poetry Month in April.

At the event, jazz musician Joshua Bayer and local poet Hope Maxwell-Snyder shared their talents with community members and USMH students and staff.

"The arts can inspire so much in people," said JoEllen Barnhart, USMH associate executive director. "Giving our students and community the chance to talk one-on-one with a published author and allowing them to escape for a little while into the world of jazz, is what bringing a cultural event to USMH is all about."

Hope Maxwell-Snyder read from her recently released book, "The Houdini Chronicles," which depicts a love affair between Harry Houdini and his muse, who falls in love with him after seeing his picture on the Internet. She also read from her published play, "The Back Room," which is based on true events that unfolded in Latin America during guerilla warfare.

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A Sheperdstown, W.Va., resident, Maxwell-Snyder founded the Sotto Voce Poetry Festival in her hometown and serves as creator and director of Somondoco Press, an independent publishing company. Maxwell-Snyder has a doctorate in Spanish literature from the University of Manchester in England.

Bayer performed jazz hits from his third album, "New Voice: Old Voice."

Bayer is a jazz bassist, guitarist and composer. He has performed at venues such as The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Detroit Opera House, Blues Alley, the Harlem Renaissance Festival, The World Jazz Festival and the New York Museum of Modern Art.

In between songs, Bayer explained the composition and makeup of the song he had just performed. At one point a student asked him why he chose a career in jazz vs. classical music. Bayer answered that people gravitate to what they are passionate about. He also discussed the similarities and differences between jazz and classical music, explaining jazz is based in classical music but draws on improvisation.

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