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Heroes’ Voices National Poetry Contest Reading: An evening of live music and poetry

From an email: 

On June 13 at 7:30 p.m., the Hylton Performing Arts Center hosts the Heroes’ Voices National Poetry Contest Reading, an evening of live music and poetry that explores many perspectives on war, peace, and military service. The performance culminates the Heroes’ Voices National Veterans Poetry Contest, which is a cooperative venture between Heroes’ Voices in San Francisco, CA and George Mason University in Manassas, VA. This event is free and open to the public, and more information can be found at

This year, the winning poems of the Heroes’ Voices National Veterans Poetry Contest represent reflections on war, conflict, and service. These include: “Home Without a Home” by Tim Connelly of Richfield, Minnesota (4th Prize), “Spouse of a Hero” by James Kennard II of Shelby, Ohio (3rd Prize), and “Squadron Requiem” by Michael Mullane of Annapolis, Maryland (2nd Prize). The contest’s top honor goes to “I.E.D.” by Bill Glose of Yorktown, Virginia (1st Prize), a resident of Virginia since 1979. Now a regular columnist for Virginia Living magazine, Mr. Glose participated in poetry readings at the Hylton Center’s 2016 Veterans Day Celebration. The upcoming poetry readings will also feature musical selections provided by Dr. Darden Purcell, Director of Jazz Studies at George Mason University and a third generation Veteran.

The Heroes’ Voices partnership originated in the spring of 2016 after a meeting with Rick Harrell, founder of the San Francisco-based Heroes’ Voices and a prominent exponent of artistic activities and programs for Veterans in the Bay Area. Mr. Harrell gathered with Hylton Center leadership to speak about his work with Veterans, which includes choral, guitar, and poetry workshop series. He also described a poetry contest that Heroes’ Voices was planning to sponsor, which would conclude with a public presentation of the winning poems augmented by music. The idea excited all in attendance and a decision was reached to engage in a bi-coastal collaboration. The Hylton Center, George Mason University, and the Veterans and the Arts Initiative co-sponsor the contest, create a performance for the presentation of the poems, and publish a chapbook of the best works. Rick Davis, Dean of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts and Executive Director of the Hylton Center, serves as a judge for the contest.

The Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Veterans and the Arts Initiative is made possible by: Amazon Web Services; Azalea Charities, Inc., Frank E. Lasch, Sr., Chairman and Founder; Dominion Energy; the City of Manassas; J Barrows Sales Training; Safeway Foundation; the Virginia Commission for the Arts; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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