It was not planned to be a gala affair…it just happened that way.

(Left to Right)  bill berry, jr. CEO/Publisher, aaduna Inc., Terry Quill, musician, "Jumping Joe"  Joe  Whiting, musician, Featured Readers:  Karen Faris, Charles "Seabe" Banks, Vanessa Johnson, Doug Curry, Bernie Williford/music accompanist for Vanessa) and  Howard Nelson

Once a year on the fourth Thursday of May, selected and invited poets, writers and musicians come together for a special evening of sharing their creative gifts that are delicately and fiercely wrapped in words and notes in the spirit and legacy of the ongoing impact of the Harlem Renaissance. Audience members came decked out in flapper dresses, glittering bow ties, and sharp and hip caps and hats marked by a frivolity of spirit and attitude that morphed to attentive listening as the music cascades for bodily movement, and the words reign a multitude of emotions and topics that challenge and enlighten.

It was not planned to be a gala affair…it just happened that way. 

The 4th annual aaduna spring 2018 fundraiser was convened in the Carriage House Theater, the engaging and intimate multi-use performance space of the Cayuga Museum of History and Art in Auburn, NY.  

Musicians Joe Whiting (saxophone and vocals) and Terry Quill (guitar and vocals) opened the evening with a vitality of sound that heralded what was to continue. 

Give a listen to aaduna CEO/Publisher Bill  Berry's welcome to the aaduna spring  2018 fundraiser "Free Style" 

aaduna’s publisher and “executive chief” of aaduna, Inc., bill berry, jr. welcomed the multi-generational, multi-cultural audience in a vocal cadence reminiscent of the street talk that resounded in Harlem on Thursday evening when the domestics were off; rapping with neighbors; looking to party and be engaged by the local poets, artists and dancers in a variety of venues and settings…the evenings of the Harlem Renaissance. Reborn. Re-created. In the spirit.

Howard Nelson poets and writers aaduna cayuga museum carriage house theater

Poet Howard Nelson, once again kicked-off the evening of words with subtle and intriguing homage to musical giants (some known, some not) who influenced his sphere of consciousness. Howard once again, set the poetic bar for readings, high. He does this every year…set the bar.

Here is Howard's ode to Sister Rosetta Tharpe!  LISTEN 

Vanessa Johnson aaduna gala at cayuga museum carriage house theater

Vanessa Johnson, a contemporary griot embedded with the spirits of ancestral beings flowed her graceful, poignant, and powerful poetic words with the keyboard accompanist Bernie Williford (who played with the Stevie Wolf band at last year’s fundraiser.) 


Doug Curry aaduna performer at carriage house theater Auburn NY

Doug Curry, a Blues poet, raconteur, and suave storyteller, made a repeat appearance at this year’s event. He weaved a richness of words that touched the audience, as he did last year.


Charles Seabe Banks reads aaduna gala 2018 Auburn NY

Charles “SeaBe” Banks bobbed and weaved in the spaces that exist between the letters composing words; soared with elegance, and exhibited his visual art influences in his painting of words.


Karen Faris aaduna spring gala 2018 Cayuga Museum Carriage House Theater

MEET HOT FLASH MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!  

Karen Faris pranced the stage and opened her emotional being to be observed and embraced by the audience. Through her understanding as to how words can transform consciousness, Faris concluded Round One and set the expectations for Round Two of readings.

The bar was raised.

As audience members interacted with readers and each other during the reception intermission, Whiting and Quill, Quill and Whiting elevated the overall ambiance in the theater with a thoughtful selection of tunes covering a diverse range of musical styles and influences. Their unique interpretation of established musical charts was refreshing and harkened the spirit of the Renaissance…that of discovery and exploration. 

Joe Whiting on saxophone and Terry Quill on guitar; both on vocals.

Carrie O'Grady, raffle coordinator

Keith Batman, candidate for the NYS Assembly and bill berry, jr.

Cayuga Museum Seward House Museum aaduna fundraiser 2018
Eileen McHugh, Executive Director/Cayuga Museum & Billye Chabot, Executive Director/Seward House Museum, Treasurer/aaduna board of directors

Round Two firmly established the theatrical ambiance of the evening. Experimental, dramatic, musical, challenging, this round emboldened the myriad themes inherent in Round One and challenged the perseverance of the audience to partake in levels of poetic discourse that is not normally available in Auburn, Cayuga County, or central New York.

aaduna thanks the featured readers, musicians, audience members, Carrie O'Grady, and especially Eileen Mc Hugh and Kirsten Wise of the Cayuga Museum for their support and willingness to make this event more than just special.

This event was funded in part by Poets and Writers with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

But, do not take my words and this review as gospel. Videos and photos show you and document the rich story of a gala that was not planned.

It just happened that way!


Eileen McHugh, Executive Director & Kirsten Wise, Curator / Cayuga Museum

Very special thanks and thunderous applause to Eileen McHugh (director) and Kirsten Wise (curator,) Cayuga Museum, for their unselfish support that easily went above and beyond. aaduna appreciates their generosity of spirit, and publicly recognizes that without their support, the annual fundraiser would be a Sisyphusian challenge. And we know how that turned out!

Kevin Barry and the Cayuga Museum, thank you for your unsolicited gift of items that aaduna was able to raffle, our first. Kevin's framed photos and accompanying booklet documented the spirit of the Renaissance.  The Cayuga Museum' s canvas bag, museum membership for a year, guest passes and a book describing the history of the Case Research Lab were fitting for an evening of remembrance and words.  Thank you.
Ron VanNostrand publisher Olive Trees and Musician
Ron Van Nostrand, Publisher/Olive Trees with wife, Toni Van Nostrand 

Ron Van Nostrand, a partner in a collaborative project simply referred to as “word, revisited”  a bi-monthly literary series in partnership with the Museum and aaduna, is a recognized musician, decades-old print literary publisher (Olive Trees) and dedicated contributor and supporter of the arts (literary, musical, theatrical and otherwise) in central New York, and especially Auburn/Cayuga County. Thank you for your vision, wisdom, and dedication.

And to supportive aaduna Board of Directors, we gracefully exist under the umbrella of your guidance and knowledge especially when needed. Thank you.

And to our readership and event audiences, and especially the aaduna all-volunteer contributing editors and staff, as well as social media platform participants, thank you, thank you, thank you.

aaduna editors and staff, each of you are appreciated. THANK YOU. And we will further recognize your vast contributions when the spring 2018 issue is launched.  

aaduna exists and thrives because of your support. 

Everyone, stay creative.



While a distinct and separate event, this fundraiser is part of the Cayuga Museum, Olive Trees and aaduna “word, revisited” initiative that brings a bi-monthly literary series to the larger community.  

aaduna - an online adventure with words and images - a globally read, multi-cultural, and diverse online literary and visual arts journal established in 2010.  Visit us at where we put measurable actions to our words.

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