Brendan Slocumb’s The Violin Conspiracy follows Rayquan “Ray” McMillian, a Black youth from the South who must overcome various forms of prejudice to become a professional musician. Ray’s coming-of-age coincides with his development as a violinist; the joys and challenges he faces as a young man are mirrored by those he faces as a budding artist. Inspired by Slocumb’s novel, this year’s Centre County Reads selection, this panel will address the role of the arts in the process of growing up. Three invited panelists will consider not only fictional representations of coming-of-age, like books and movies, but also the real-life role art plays in making us who we are and enabling us to embrace our unique identities.
Suzanne Hall, Associate Professor of Music Education, Temple University
Suzanne Hall teaches courses in general music at the elementary and secondary levels at Temple University. She is a frequent presenter at conferences and provides professional development workshops on music and literacy integration strategies for school districts across the country. She is a published author of articles and books on the subject including Teaching Elementary Music: Integrative Strategies between Music and Other Subjects (Kendall Hunt 2013).
Spencer Tricker, Assistant Professor of English, Clark University
Spencer Tricker specializes in American literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His first book manuscript-in-progress, Imminent Communities, explores the uses and abuses of cosmopolitan rhetoric and feeling in the work of writers and public figures from the United States, Canada, the Philippines, and Hawai‘i. Tricker regularly teaches courses focused on coming-of-age stories in multiethnic American literatures.
Ann Holt, Assistant Professor of Art Education, Penn State
Ann Holt is an advisor and artist teacher with ArtsAction Group, an international community-based collective committed to facilitating arts initiatives with children and youth in conflict-affected environments. She is also co-editor in chief of Arts Culture & Development, a blind peer-reviewed, annually published journal on the role of arts and culture in global development practice.
Jess Rafalko, Graduate Student in English, Penn State
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