This year’s WAMfest to focus on veterans of war



“The Art of Healing: Veterans” will be the theme of this year’s edition of the annual WAMFest (Words and Music Festival) at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Park and Teaneck/Hackensack campuses.

The festival begins on Oct. 14, when singer-songwriter Darden Smith, the founder of Songwriting With Soldiers, will work with FDU veterans and veterans from the community on writing songs about their experiences, at the Metropolitan Lounge of the Teaneck/Hackensack campus.

Also that day, Tom Miller, a veteran who specializes in military- and 9/11-inspired artwork, will offer an interactive presentation with professors George Cochrane and Judy Moonelis at the Hartman Lounge of the Florham Campus, at 4 p.m. And at 7 p.m. at the Florham Campus’ Lenfell Hall, a program “Love in the Time of War” will feature music, readings and discussion, with contributions from film composer Paul Cantelon, singer Angela McCluskey and poet J. Mae Barizo.

Offerings on Oct. 15 will include a songwriting seminar for students by Smith at 1:30 p.m. at the Hartman Lounge, and a 7:30 event at Lenfell Hall titled “Lyric in a Time of War” and featuring music and readings by the American String Quartet, poet and essayist Tom Sleigh, and writer Phil Klay.

At noon Oct. 16, Smith will meet with FDU’s Creative Writing Club in the Hartman Lounge, and at 5 p.m. at Lenfell Hall, he will perform songs he’s written with students and veterans during the week, as well as other material.

WAMfest will officially end with this concert, though musician and author Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), who has been a major contributors to past WAMfests, will host a conversation with fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16.

All events are free, though attendees are asked to register in advance. Visit or


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