Amanda Fortney is a professional musician and is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Prairie Wolf Spirits. She received degrees in Music and Letters from the University of Oklahoma and plays/sings in various bands, including Kestrel & Kite, Stranded at the Station, and The Stringents. She also performs in weddings (mainly for FCM Entertainment) and various other private gigs around town.
Ralph Ellison Foundation “A Solo Act” Performance
I had the huge honor of performing for the REF’s first ever “A Solo Act” in December of 2019. It was a salon type evening with dance by Nathaniel Abercrombie Tylor, spoken word poetry by Anthony Crawford, Jr, and dramatic readings of Ellison texts by Steven Oliven. In preparation for playing my violin that night, I had looked up Ellison’s record collection to see what music might go with his readings. I had a couple songs in mind, knowing he liked jazz and classical music-Summertime from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Vocalise by Rachmaninoff. Then I saw he actually had Porgy and Bess in his collection as well as some Russian composers, including Rachmaninoff, so I knew I just had to play these two songs.
After the evening was over, Anthony, Nate, and I just knew we had to combine our dance, spoken word, and music for the Gala the following February, so Nate and I came up with some music and dance to perform while Anthony performed his spoken word. I was also able to play some music while Steven read some text by Ellison. It remains one of my favorite performances/collaborations to date.