An Evening of Veterans’ Stories
Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts hosts an evening of live music and theater featuring United States Veterans in performance at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2014, in the Quick Center’s Wien Experimental Theatre. The program, “An Evening of Veterans’ Stories through Music and Drama,” is co-presented by the Quick Center and the Creative Arts Therapies Programs of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, CT (VA CT). The event is free and open to the public (donations accepted for Creative Arts Therapies Programs at VA CT). Pictured: "Three Tears for the Red, White, and Blue," Robert Welby, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam (acrylic on canvas).
“An Evening of Veterans’ Stories” will be performed in two parts, beginning with a concert featuring soloists and ensembles of Veteran singers and musicians, associated with VA CT, performing a wide array of material. Song selections range from Ira and George Gershwin and The Great American Songbook to Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, from country’s Big & Rich and Tim McGraw to folk icon Pete Seeger. “I am always moved by the Veterans presentations. There is authenticity in their art, music and theater and tells their stories in a powerful way,” said VA Connecticut Healthcare Music Therapist Bobbi Blake, M.Ed, MT-BC. “For the Veterans, music is a means for them to express their stories, experiences and feelings. It gives them an opportunity to be visible, to re-integrate back into the community. Being able to share their music in this public forum is embracing and allows an acceptance that contributes to healing. It’s a welcome home.”
The second part of the program will feature a theatrical performance by the Veteran’s Home Front Theatre of “Confessions of a War Dog,” a play based on the book of the same name written by Veteran Peter Falcione, who also appears in the production. The play “Confessions of a War Dog” is a work-in-progress that recounts the story of love and loss between a scout dog and his handler. The Veteran’s Home Front Theatre of the VA CT began over 18 years ago and is dedicated to exploring the veterans’ journey. The group has created numerous original plays over the years (including a musical comedy) and has been the springboard for a documentary film called “No Unwounded Soldiers” by Rebecca Abbott. VA Connecticut Healthcare Drama Therapist Mary Lou Lauricella, MA, RDT, said, “The pain of Veterans’ experiences often never hits the air, rarely is shared, and is cloaked for life times in darkness, often creating isolation and alienation from those they love, the greater community and even themselves. Theatre provides a space and place for lifetimes of stories to be told, held, shared and witnessed. This holding space provides a safe container for us to not only tell our stories but connect us all through our common humanity.”
“An Evening of Veterans’ Stories” is being presented in conjunction with the art exhibition Your Branches Span the Sky, currently on view in the Quick Center’s Leitao Lobby through March 21, 2014. The exhibition features the artwork of U.S. Veterans participating in the Creative Arts Therapies programs at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, Conn. “I consistently feel honored to work with our Veterans and inspired by their courage to reveal their personal truths in the form of creative expressions,” said Laura Spinelli, LPC, ATR, Art Therapist at VA Connecticut Healthcare System. “Many Veterans discover the arts - visual, literary, music, drama - as an effective way to cope with their physical and/or psychological distress, or as a way to reflect on their experiences of the military and the transformations that take place as a result of war. The works also celebrates their strength, resilience and ability to transcend their darker journeys. This exhibit can serve to raise awareness about the importance of the arts for healing, and to provide outreach to Veterans who may be out there struggling.”
For information, call the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396. (1-877-278-7396), or visit www.quickcenter.com.