Louder Than a Bomb 2013 concluded last evening, and OPRF's Spoken Word team did an outstanding job:
- Natalie Richardson received the Literary Award for the most well-written poem from two-time National Poetry Slam champion Roger Bonair-Agard and competition sponsor the Young Chicago Authors (YCA) staff. Bonair-Agard said it was the best poem he heard in the entire festival.
- Camara Brown finished second in the individual finals at the Chicago Cultural Center on Wednesday. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was there to hear her story.
- Spoken Word finished third overall in the team finals.
Hannah Srajer, Haywood McDuffie III, Delaney Miller, and Chelsea Dixon rounded out the rest of the team.
Here is what faculty sponsor Jay Lind had to say after the competition concluded: "In my 12+ years as a teacher, I have been extremely fortunate. At Clemente and OPRF, as an educator, a coach, and a club sponsor, I have had the richest experience any teacher could ever hope for. With all of that in mind, my experience last night at the Louder Than a Bomb team finals at the sold-out Cadillac Palace Theater was, without a doubt, the highest point of my professional career.
"I was sooooooooo proud of our students as they stood on that stage and shared their stories. Their writing was outstanding, their poise was amazing, and their performances were spectacular. But maybe above it all was the way they handled themselves before, during, and after the show. They spent four hours in the bowels of the theater playing games and sharing stories with the other poets and performers in the 'competition.' They took time to tell each of their teammates what this experience has meant to them. They supported each other as the nerves began to build. They laughed a lot. They cried a lot. Me too. Once the show began, it was clear that they were happy to be there. They brought their positive energy into that theater, and it was obvious. They supported every poet and performer on that stage, and they listened to all of their stories. This is what the slam is all about. When it was all over, their families and friends rushed down the aisle to nearly suffocate them with love. The smiles on their faces said it all. My heart has never been so warm.
"We got a bit of a surprise a few days before finals. YCA announced that there would be three instead of the normal four solo poems in the team finals. This meant we might not be able to get all of our six poets on the stage. The team came together during the last week and decided to put together a second group piece and prepare it for the finals in order to get all of our poets out there. Until last night, they had never performed it anywhere outside of our office. It was the best of the bunch, without a doubt."
To listen to five of the teams six solo pieces and one of the two group pieces on the WBEZ website, click here.