NWC News Desk

April's Interdisciplinary Cafe serves up nature writing, dogs and vocal harmonies

Posted April 3, 2008

P O W E L L, W y o. - The Interdisciplinary Cafe in Cody is stretching across several disciplines for its April manifestation - from nature writing and dogs to jazz and blues. They're all captured under one roof beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, April 11, in the lobby of the Park County Complex on Stampede Ave.

The one-hour monthly Interdisciplinary Cafe is sponsored on the second Friday of each school month by the Northwest College Cody Center. It's designed as a sweet transition from the work week to the weekend via a collaborative exchange between writers and musicians. Extra-fancy hors d' oeuvres and entertainment are free for the sitting.

The April entre features Garry Wallace, an assistant professor of biological sciences at NWC, and the college's popular Studio Singers.

Although Wallace employs on a daily basis his bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology while in the classroom, at night he indulges his literary side with the creation of his own original writing and with the close study of Cormac McCarthy's works. Wallace met McCarthy, the reclusive Pulitzer Prize winner, in 1988 and turned that auspicious occasion into his first published essay, "Meeting McCarthy." To facilitate his literary pursuits, Wallace acquired an additional master's in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College in Vermont.

Wallace's essays have earned recognition in the William Faulkner Writing Competition, "Best American Essays" and from the Wyoming Arts Council. They've been featured in Southern Quarterly, Owen Wister Review, High Plains Register, Hard Ground and other anthologies.

Wallace's biggest venture in the writing world culminated last spring in his book "Biography of a Bird Dog: a Labrador Retriever in Wyoming." In it, Wallace takes a philosophical look at life and the lessons to be learned from working with his dogs.

For the Interdisciplinary Café, Wallace will draw from his shorter writings inspired by nature, as well as excerpts from his book.

The Studio Singers will respond with a selection of blues, jazz and pop numbers. They promise a little something for all ages, from Nat King Cole's 1947 hit "Nature Boy" to Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan.

Mike Masterson, the group's director, says, "The cafe crowd is in for a real treat. The tunes are engaging, the singers are performing in mature styles, and the instrumentalists are exceptional. The whole Studio Singers group works together well as they express meaningful music in truly blended, ensemble ways."

The 14-member group features selected singers from several states and its own four-piece rhythm section.

The next and last Interdisciplinary Cafe of the season will feature Cody writer Bill Hoagland and the Montana Coyotes on Friday, May 9.