Donned in glittering gold leggings and a bird mask, Professor Jonathan Montgomery took the stage – which was littered with toy birds – on April 26 to kick off the third annual Instructor Reading. Professor Montgomery normally teaches English composition at Front Range Community College, but as he started his introductory poem, he and all of his colleagues would transform into birds. They were breaking out of their lectures and uniform name tags to perform poems, stories and personal works.
Josh Robinson, a theater instructor, started off with a piece from an upcoming performance he is participating in, Waiting for Godot. His piece was humorous, yet inspiring, followed by Mark DuCharme, a communications professor, who read several poems from a book he recently published.
The chair of the English Department, Tino Gomez, followed by reading several pieces interlaced with tips on how to properly play a vinyl record. Aaron Leff, an English composition professor, read his pieces complete with costume changes and accents to spice up the language. Michelle Medeiros, professor of English and communications, wrote about the toolbelt of a mother, including both empty yogurt cups and patience.
As Montgomery took the stage for his own readings, he continued what had become a game for the audience between each reader: mimicking the calls of the toy birds on stage. Fittingly, Montgomery’s pieces told the dramatic foibles of bird watching and looking for the a Northern Cardinal among a slew of sparrows, hilariously addressing the frustration of wanting something to be what it is not, and also wishing for incredible beauty among mundane life.
Randy Russell took the stage last. Russell, a professor who teaches everything from English composition to screenwriting, first read “We’re All in This Mad Dash Towards Death Together, but Don’t Rush Me,” a piece that lived up to its name. He ended with an authentic haiku with a 41 word-title, requiring air-quotes to indicate the start and end of the title.
The Instructor Reading was a reminder that the professors at Front Range are more than just teachers; they are talented writers, entertaining performers, and seasoned readers. Each piece lent insight into each of the professors’ lives, whether about their relationships with family members, or the struggle of writing.
The newly renovated Performing Arts Gallery was packed with students, faculty and staff, who laughed, connected with the professors, and took to the refreshments advertised on the memorable poster for the event: “Like, really good doughnuts.”