Kerry Henderson, the executive director of the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice (and this year's leading man in the festival's production of Don Giovanni), gave the National Endowment for the Arts a charming interview this week on the NEA's Art Works podcast. (Click here to listen.)
The interviewer, the NEA's Josephine Reed, is struck by how Phoenicia came together to make the festival happen two years ago. She describes it as "putting on a show in the best Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney tradition." And Henderson still sounds delighted and gobsmacked by how the enthusiasm of the Shandaken community has made the festival "a huge success."
"To come along and say that we wanted to do a festival in town based upon the human voice must have been a little bit daunting for some people," Henderson says on the podcast. "But everyone came around, and very quickly. We went to town board meetings, we met with business owners, these were the first things we did ... explaining how we thought this could really help people here. A lot of people are on hard times, and the voice is so healing."
Preparations are already underway for next summer's Festival of the Voice, Henderson says in an email to the Watershed Post.
"We're already working full time on our season for next year and will be announcing the program soon with the opportunity for people to buy tickets early," Henderson writes. So stay tuned.
In the meantime, if you can't get enough Festival of the Voice, you can watch a two-part documentary about the 2011 festival as well. Part 1 is at the top of this post, and part two is below. Enjoy!