Poetry for Peace, Commemorating WWI

During the Spring of 2017, the Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS) and the Humanities Center at the University of Rochester came together in a collaborative initiative called Poetry for Peace, that commemorated the United States’ Centennial Anniversary of its entry into World War I. The multi-part program featured lectures and panel discussions on various aspects of the war, and also featured two concerts performed by the Rochester Oratorio Society.

In this episode of Conversations with Creatives, I had the pleasure of discussing the collaboration with Rochester Oratorio Society Artistic Director Eric Townell, Director of the Center for Humanities Joan Shelley Rubin, and with Kathryn Schumacher, author of “Letters from a Doughboy.”

Many thanks to my three guests, and to the Rochester Oratorio Society, for allowing me to videotape and share a segment of their rehearsal for Poetry for Peace, and share it at the end of this episode.

Click here for information about future concerts being given by the Rochester Oratorio Society.

Rochester Oratorio Society and Center for Humanities’ Poetry for Peace Program from CAROL WHITE LLEWELLYN on Vimeo.


Time Markers

:15 – Rochester Oratorio Society Artistic Director Eric Townell introduces the program

2:30 – Discussion and description of the collaboration

4:48 – Eric talks about the pieces being performed at the concert

5:40 – Eric talks about the title “Poetry for Peace” and discusses 20th Century composer Vaughn Williams’ incorporation of Walt Whitman’s poetry in his work

6:35 – Joan Rubin shares her experience as a cultural historian and her view that Walt Whitman’s reputation has changed over the centuries

7:10 – Eric discusses the healing characteristics of Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem

8:45 –┬áKathryn Shumacher talks about her discovery of her father’s letters, written while serving in WWI, that served as inspiration for her book, Letters from a Doughboy

13:30 – Insights on a panel discussion that incorporated the musical, medical and cultural aspects during WWI

17:30 – The importance of commemorating WWI, Rochester’s critical role during that time, how the war changed the face of western civilization

22:00 – About the U of R’s Humanities Center

25:14 – Excerpt of Rochester Oratorio Society’s rehearsal in preparation for Poetry for Peace concert