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Spoken Word & Music Series

  • Featured musicians, poets and writers
  • Monthly events during the school year, September through May (with the exception of December) on the 3rd Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Free and open to the public
  • Sponsored by the MCC Foundation Annual Fund Campaign
  • Hosted by Stephen Campiglio

Note: All Mishi-maya-gat events are held at MCC on Main, Manchester Community College’s new Arts and Education Center at 903 Main Street.


Mishi-maya-gat is the Algonquian term for “Great Trail System,” a network of foot paths created by the native tribes of Connecticut. Within this system of trails, a “Great Path” connected one region with another. The site of the MCC campus is along one of these great paths and, thus, the naming of Great Path as the street leading to campus. It is in this spirit of historical and cultural significance that the arts series takes its name.

October 16, 2014

Michael Bisio, Acoustic bass

8:00 PM

From New York, a special appearance by the Bisio/Maneri Duo.

Michael Bisio has been bassist for the Matthew Shipp Trio since 2009; more information on the trio is available at Bisio invariably astounds audiences with the beauty of his tone and the intensity of his very personal musical language. His music has garnered praise from DownBeat and Jazz Times magazines. Journalist Paul DeBarros, in Signal to Noise, notes: “For years free improvisers have explored the tactile aspect of performance, in which the nature of the encounter between the player and the instrument becomes the subject of the music itself. Bisio is one of the few musicians who has managed to meld this high-concept sense of physicality with the soulful charge of jazz. His fiddle-high, scraped overtones create a tangled choir that is impossible to resist; his expressiveness with the bow is unmatched. Having whirled the listener into a transportive state, he gently shows them the way out.” As a recording artist he appears on no less than 75 CDs, and is the leader on 11 CDs. His most recent recordings include Floating Ice (duo with Matthew Shipp; Relative Pitch Records, 2012) and Reflexology with the Brian Groder Trio. For more information on all of his recordings, please visit his web site:

Mat Maneri, Viola

Mat Maneri has defined the voice of the viola and violin in jazz and improvised music over the course of his 25-year career. Born in Brooklyn in 1969, Maneri has established an international reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation, praised for his high degree of individualism, a distinctive marriage of jazz and microtonal music, and his work with 20th century icons of improvised music. Chicago Reader has stated, “Violist Mat Maneri has a sound all his own: with his mahogany tone and muscular low register, he slithers from note to note like a satiated snake.” In 1990, Mat cofounded the legendary Joe Maneri Quartet with his saxophonist father, drummer Randy Peterson, and bassists Ed Schuller and John Lockwood. The quartet’s recordings for ECM Records, Hatology and Leo Records were widely acknowledged by critics and fellow musicians as among the most important developments in 20th century improvised musicManeri’s 1999 solo debut on ECM Records marked his emergence as a musician with a singular, uncompromised voice. Pianist Matthew Shipp has called him “one of the five greatest improvisers on the planet,” reflecting a growing consensus of Maneri as a central figure in American creative music. Since then, the long list of musicians with whom he has worked includes luminaries such as Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Paul Motian, and William Parker, as well as influential bandleaders such as Joe Morris, Vijay Iyer, Matthew Shipp, Marilyn Crispell, Joelle Leandre, Kris Davis, Tim Berne, and Craig Taborn. Maneri’s recordings as a leader (trio, quartet and quintet) have been documented on Hatology, Aum Fidelity, Leo Records and Thirsty Ear.

Jina Ortiz, Featured poet

7:00 PM

Jina Ortiz holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from The Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA. She is an adjunct professor of English at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA. Her writings have been published in the Afro-Hispanic Review, Calabash, Green Mountains Review, Worcester Review, The Caribbean Writer andSolstice Literary Magazine, among others.  She is the co-editor of ALL ABOUT SKIN: Short Fiction by Women of Color, University of Wisconsin Press (September, 2014). She has received residency fellowships from the Art Omi/Ledig House International Writers’ Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Vermont Studio Center, The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, Can Serrat Residency in Barcelona, Spain, and most recently, as a Writer-in-Residence Fellow at CAMAC Centre D’Art in Marnay-sur-Seine, France.  She also received grants from the Worcester Cultural Commission and the Highlights Foundation.

Michael Fisher, Featured poet

Michael Fisher’s work has appeared in such journals as 5 AM, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Emerge, and Poolka. His first collection, The Wolf Spider, was published by Plan B Press, and has been described by Neon Magazine as “experimental and visceral; an insider’s view of life on the psych ward … and literary-savvy enough to name check and converse with some of the writers who have walked that road before.” About his second collection, Libretto for the Exhausted World, Peter Campion writes, “Michael Fisher manages to capture and render the sounds, sights, and feelings of modern life. But unlike so many contemporary poets, Fisher’s formal playfulness—his nervy, kaleidoscopic music—seems always to derive from real feeling, from the depth of emotion in his protagonist (Psi) and in his own sensibility. Libretto for The Exhausted World is an invigorating book—and a cause for gratitude.” Michael currently is an adjunct professor at Quinsigamond Community College and Assumption College in Worcester, MA.

Upcoming Events

November 20

8:00 p.m. - A special appearance by the esteemed translator and scholar of French poetry,
Mary Ann Caws, reading from translations of Tzara, Breton, Char, Eluard, and Desnos (all published by Black Widow Press of Boston, MA). For more info, please visit

7:00 p.m. - Pianist Francesco Blackmore, MCC music major and composer,
playing from his new CD, Music for the Soul. To hear a sample of his recordings, please visit

More information forthcoming.

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