On April 25, Professor Jonathan Montgomery opened the second annual English faculty reading with, “We’ll show you we weren’t hired for nothing!” The reading was an opportunity for the English faculty at Front Range Community College to share their own pieces of writing with the community.
The room reserved for the event at College Hill Library overlooked sweeping views of the Front Range on the western horizon. Inside the room were rows of chairs for the audience, a table full of odd hats and stuffed birds, a podium and a guitar and amplifier, all signs that the reading was more than a typical lecture.
Over the course of an hour or so, six faculty members read more than 20 different poems and stories. Along with Montgomery, the host and M.C., Michelle Medeiros, Tino Gomez, Kate Spencer, Randy Russell and Mark DuCharme read literature to the audience members.
Many of the stories were personal, rooted in events in the readers’ respective pasts. Some of them were hilarious, while others held more series and contemplative tones. Some were performed, like spoken-word events, while others were shared as if in a coffee house.
Gomez’s Your Tongue, My Son examines his life growing up in a household where his mom spoke only Spanish and he spoke mostly English. In contrast, Russell’s hilarious recount of his experience with a vasectomy in Capt’n Eunuchs Doomed Privates left the audience laughing to the point of tears.
Some of the pieces were polished, published writings, and others were brand new, having been written in the days or weeks before the event. Many of DuCharme’s readings came from books that he has published. Spencer’s reading was a non-fiction, short story which, for her, was a new style of writing, as she moves away from poetry.
Montgomery kept the mood light with his banter between readings and his encouragement that the performers use the goofy hats and the stuffed, singing birds as props. Montgomery a natural performer, paid his homage to Prince, who had passed away recently, as he wore purple and comically used the late musician’s biography as his own during his introduction. He also used the guitar and amplifier as he closed out the show with his work All the Great Rock-stars are Gonna Start Dyin’.
Montgomery introduced each of the presenters with a brief biography and a few fun facts and also led the audience in a mid-performance energizer activity. During his dramatic readings, the table served as his make-shift stage.
On this cloudy, rainy night, a few flashes of lightening added effects to the performances, and the cool, rainy weather gave the warm room a cozy feeling. Events like these allow students and faculty a chance to interact outside of the classroom, and are especially fun when teachers act goofy or share serious parts of their pasts. The faculty reading afforded students the opportunity to see their instructors as more than instructors, but to actually get to know them on more personal levels.
Written by Alex Liethen
Photos from Alex Liethen