On March 20, Duke Divinity School Dean Richard B. Hays launched the Dean's Songwriters Series with a day of events featuring American folk singers and songwriters Pierce Pettis and Grace Pettis. The events included an exclusive "unplugged" lunch concert and dicussion with Divinity School students and staff, and a full-length evening concert open to the community. Dean Hays also performed with the artists.
The artists blended the storytelling of the American acoustic genre into the Divinity School's theological repertoire, and invited conversation about performance, songwriting, theological influences in their work. As part of the ongoing conversation between theology and the arts at the Divinity School, they discussed their life as Christians and artists, and about what it means to "give an account of the joy" in their music without ignoring life's complexity and pain.
The next event in the Dean's Songwriter Series will be held on Sept. 18 and will feature musician and storyteller David Wilcox.