Arts consortium, Blue Guitar magazine launch annual arts festival

Event was a smash hit with attendees

by Elena Thornton, President, The Arizona Consortium for the Arts
ASU West — On April 26th, the Arizona Consortium for the Arts held its 1st Annual Festival of music, arts, cultures, and the celebration of the inaugural spring issue of The Blue Guitar magazine at the ASU West campus in Glendale.

The all-volunteer event was free and was attended by many people from the community. They were welcomed by ASU West student body President Andrew Clark and by the sponsor of the event, Nuha Sarraj, president of the ASU Kurdish Youth Club.

The community was treated to a robust sampling of music, dance, a Kurdish Fashion Show and readings by writers in The Blue Guitar magazine. It was truly a history-making day, made possible through the planning and organizing of consortium Co-Founder Elena Thornton and a cadre of other hardworking volunteers. The sound equipment was skillfully operated and generously donated for the day by local singer, songwriter and musician Brian Willia. 

The event began with musical performances by the Consortium’s talented Arizona Classical Kids under the tutelage of Maestro Zhanna Tevan. They played a variety of music from Russian to Italian to classical to "America the Beautiful."

The Consortium’s Artists in Motion children’s dance group led by instructor Diana Matatova, an ASU student, performed traditional Bucharian dances in colorful costumes, then quickly changed and entertained the audience with a hip hop dance.

The dances were followed by an equally colorful Kurdish Fashion show by ASU students and their friends, as well as readings by the Arizona writers and poets who are published in The Blue Guitar magazine.

Rebecca Dyer, the magazine's Editor in Chief, led the introductions of the readers. They read from their poetry, nonfiction essays and short stories. Those writers and poets who read, many of them currently in or alumni of the ASU MFA creative writing program, included:
  • Nadine Lockhart —- poetry
  • Fernando Perez — poetry
  • Melanie McCuin — poetry
  • John Haaheim — fiction and poetry
  • Cathy Capozzoli — poetry
  • Chris Emery — poetry
  • Ryan Holden — poetry
  • Stephanie Austin —- fiction
  • Lilvia Soto — poetry
  • Meg Files — poetry
  • Bill Warren — nonfiction
  • John Ledford - fiction
Also, ASU Professor Guillermo Reyes’ one-act play “Dudes of Orpheus” was performed by ASU students Stephanie Martinez, Matthew Konecni, Kevin Sahakian and Monica Ekabutr, and was followed by a talk and lively discussion between Professor Reyes, the actors and the audience.

Rebecca Dyer and her husband Richard H. Dyer Jr. worked tirelessly and diligently to bring to the community The Blue Guitar magazine, a brilliant work of art. The pages are filled with carefully chosen themes that colorfully and perfectly flow from page to page. The front cover and back cover were created by longtime local artist, painter and teacher Marjory Boyer, who works are vibrant and colorful. The community is grateful to the Dyers for this exquisite gem of a magazine, a gift they have created for our enjoyment, and we are already looking forward to future editions. The magazine is published online where you can submit content.

Folk singer, acoustic guitarist and harmonica player Neil Dicks entertained the audience with his wonderful repertoire of songs and music. The audience also was treated to Inis, a local Irish Band, who can regularly be seen at the Lis Doon Varna Irish Pub in Peoria.

Local rock band the Hunger Artists were the last performers of the day with a combo of singers, three guitars, drums, trumpet and xylophone.
We look forward to many future events by our local performers, artists and writers.

To learn more about The Arizona Consortium for the Arts, how you can join us, and to support future programs, please visit the website, or call 602-263-5373.

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