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Solid second take for Reading On The Hill

Variety was the operative word for the Reading On The Hill open-mic event recently at Luna Community College.

From poetry and prose recitations to Power Point presentations to stories and songs, the gathering had a little something for everyone. Hosted by Luna’s Humanities Department, Reading On The Hill returned to campus after making its debut this past April.

Students from a few Humanities classes formed the core of the event, which is fashioned like the poetry slams and similar open-mic happenings. But the nearly 30 participants included students, faculty and staff from different disciplines, and the diversity of what they presented and performed reflected that.

“The idea is to foster expression and creativity while giving students access to a venue that seems scarce in the local community (i.e. a podium, microphone, and the freedom and time to speak in a modality that best suits the personal or academic bent of the individual),” said LCC Humanities instructor Nathan Baker. Baker served as the emcee and also shared his own creative work, a short story that won recognition from and publication in the Santa Fe New Mexican’s Pasatiempo magazine.

Several presenters delivered sometimes bold, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes defiant expressions of self-identity. One of several multimedia presentations placed a premium on visuals, incorporating video as well as still photography from recent travels to Mexico. Another focused on sound – the innovative recordings of the Beatles. The father-and-daughter duo of Juan Ortega and Brenda Ortega, each renowned in New Mexico’s homegrown music scene, performed a song with guitar accompaniment. Another song,

performed a capella, also proved stirring. Two groups of students from a criminal justice class – who’ll be taking up opposing sides in an upcoming mock trial – served up a preview of their courtroom clash. Readings of stories, a couple of bilingual entries, and discussions of topics ranging from superheroes to mere mortals, from sports nutrition to gun control, rounded out the two-hour gathering.