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Spokane Symphony Associates' Poetry to Music 2024

Anita Lewis, Jack Hattell, Rosalie Folger-Vent, Hilary Baird and Jonathan Middleton (L–R) of the 2024 Poetry to Music event
E.J. Iannelli
Spokane Public Radio
Anita Lewis, Jack Hattell, Rosalie Folger-Vent, Hilary Baird and Jonathan Middleton (L–R) of the 2024 Poetry to Music event

Young composers, mentors and organizers preview an event uniting words and music

Hilary Baird, Rosalie "Rosie" Folger-Vent, Anita Lewis and Jonathan Middleton joined E.J. Iannelli in the KPBX studio today to talk about this year's upcoming Poetry to Music event.

Now in its sixth year, Poetry to Music features the work of student composers from Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University, who take either original or pre-existing lyrics and pair them with original music. It's organized by the Spokane Symphony Associates and is meant to be both a creative platform and a fundraiser for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra.

Middleton is a professor of theory and composition at EWU and has been involved with Poetry to Music since its inception. He spoke about how the event has evolved, the number of participating composers, and the variety of their compositions. Lewis, who is involved with the Cantabile Chapter of the Spokane Symphony Associates, offered some background on Poetry to Music and its mission.

Prior to the interview, Folger-Vent performed her original Poetry to Music work, "Writing a Song," live in the SPR performance space. The piece was written for piano and voice with the composer's own lyrics. She later described how the piece came about and the development of her compositional approach.

Baird also gave some details on her original piece, "Supermoon," which was composed for alto sax and voice and incorporates an eponymous poem by Bridgette White. Folger-Vent returned to the performance space, joined this time by saxophonist Jack Hattell, to close the interview with a live performance of Baird's work.

Chris Cook, former Spokane Poet Laureate and second trumpet in the SSO, will also be participating in this year's Poetry to Music event.

Poetry to Music takes place on Saturday, April 27 at the Hamilton Studio (1427 W Dean Ave) at 2:30pm.

For more information and to sign up for the event, head to the Spokane Symphony Associates website and select the Poetry to Music button at the top of the page.

E.J. Iannelli is Spokane Public Radio's Arts and Music Director