Week Seventeen | Headwaters to Gulf: a Relay Zoom Reunion Wrap-up

1pm, Thursday, November 5, 2020

All communities, every state


Where’s the Mute Button? How to Raise Your Hand? Using the Chat Box.


Both literally and more broadly how life has changed from one year to the next.


With lead-ins from a few volunteers up and downriver, the bulk of the Zoom will be spent in a moderated share-out prompted by the question, “Why do you make this place home?”


I will perform two short “voice dances” interspersed between our conversation. These performances are part of an ongoing series being archived at alluviumtheatre.com and are derived out of one minute segments of footage captured during the Relay of Voices journey in 2019.

VOICE | Sarah Drake

An “artist in action” who leads non-profit arts efforts in Burkina Faso, West Africa as well as in her own home country along the Headwaters region of the Mississippi River. Voice gathered on the afternoon of July 26, 2019 walking through parks and gardens in St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids, Minnesota.

ENCOUNTER | Joseph Alley

Curator for the oldest museum in Arkansas—the Helena Museum of Phillips County—and general lover of history and the South. Voice encountered on the afternoon of September 27, 2019 touring the galleries of the museum.

ENCOUNTER | Lisa Walsh

Burlington native and community advocate, working to protect the vitality and infrastructure of the region through her role on the Iowa Mississippi River Parkway Commission. Voice encountered on the 20th of August, 2019 early in the day over lunch at The Drake and later that day at her home on the bluff.

What an amazing convening! …On November 5th, one year from our final day of the Relay when we reached the Mouth of the Mississippi River, we had the great opportunity to reconnect with 30 people who helped us make that journey and shared their voices with us along the way.

Starting with Blaise Pezold of St. Bernard Parish, who we had to miss last week due to Hurricane Zeta bearing down on his home in Arabi, Louisiana, but thankfully made it out ok and joined us in conversation… Blaise kicked us off with a round robin of understanding why home is home is home again up and down the river—whether it feels scenic and a paradise or treacherous and uncertain. Tune in to the recording below to hear the voices of the river reflect on this and also how life has changed from 2019 to the present day… so much change for so many.

Thanks to Reggie and Edna Petty of East St. Louis, Illinois, Lee Gundersheimer of Winona, Minnesota, Sally Fineday of Cass Lake, Minnesota, Richard Spilman down in Helena-West Helena, and Pat Audirsch in Marianna, Arkansas as well. So many and many more, thank you for sharing your voices and your time again. I think we have more to do, more reasons to come together, and a future path ahead that involves some advocacy via Reggie!—don’t forget his request! Send your ideas to me and I’ll make sure they get to him!

More to come, all along the river.