Mighty Minstrels is a project founded by David Vincent Mills and his wife and poet Jen Valencia and poet Gary Every. Combining Mills' piano and keyboard compositions, Native American Flute and Drums, and sound effects with the poetry of writer/artist Valencia and award-winning poet Every, they forge a force of poets and musicians to perform original works in an unique format for audiences that are hungry for something different. Touching upon subjects ranging from the origins of the Blues, Native American mythology, to enlightenment and to the comedic, the group creates a rich and dynamic experience with many levels to enjoy. They continually search to create an original fusion of music, poetry, and eventually expanding into other arts.
2008 - Marilyn Sunderman Grant Recipients
Mighty Minstrels are excited to bring their style and genre to a new audience with the aide of the Marilyn Sunderman Grant. Mighty Minstrels under NORAZ Poets was one of the selected recipient for a $1,000 Community Grant from the SEDONA ARTS CENTER /Marilyn Sunderman Legacy Fund for the project.
The Mighty Minstrels will be performing at Red Rock High School funded by the Marilyn Sunderman Legacy Fund Community Grant. The Mighty Minstrels are made up of the poets Gary Every and Jen Valencia, combining their poetry with the musical compositions by pianist David Vincent Mills. The poetry-music trio will perform for students some of their material from their CD, and host a workshop to inspire young poets and musicians to create their own pieces.
Once the students get a taste for the poetry set to music, they will have a chance to try their hand at the genre. The classes will be encouraged to bring in their own poetry to put to music. Aspiring musicians in the groups will be asked to put their talents into action and compliment the fellow classmates poems. Classic poems like Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven and even Dr. Seuss will be available for example of how poetry was created with drum beats in mind and Mighty Minstrels will invite students to help perform these pieces.
The Marilyn Sunderman Foundation (MSF) was established to honor the memory of a Sedona artist who was devoted to creativity. She bequeathed a large body of her work to be sold and the funds used to establish a foundation. The Mission of The Marilyn Sunderman Foundation is to nurture creativity for the benefit of our Verde Valley Communities.
The MSF awards grants to selected recipients in the Verde Valley to assist in the funding of a project that is designed to foster a community that values creativity and expression and to increase public awareness of creativity as a part of everyday life. This may be in the area of education, arts and culture, technology or spirituality that contributes to the quality of life in a community.