Nov. 7 'Spirit Song' screening at Tennessee State Museum features MTSU student

Nov 04, 2019 at 07:00 am by Voice Wire

Middle Tennessee State University student Gareth Laffely

Tennessee State Museum will host a Nov. 7 free screening of "Spirit Song," a documentary featuring songs from the collaborative album, "Voices of the Guardians," by Native American composer, musician, and Middle Tennessee State University student Gareth Laffely and Emmy-winning producer, composer and pianist Lance Bendiksen.

The special screening will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Tennessee State Museum, located at 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. at Jefferson Street on Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

The project, which also includes narration by Wes Studi ("Dances with Wolves," "Last of the Mohicans," and "Avatar"), was filmed on the famed Skywalker Ranch in California, established 40 years ago by George Lucas, creator of the "Star Wars" movie franchise.

The film, which documents the recording of "Voices of the Guardians" and showcases the sacred tribal areas and nearby indigenous cultures that inspired the project, is an official selection of the 2019 American Documentary Film Festival and the George Lindsey Una Film Festival.

A trailer is available at

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the 21-year-old Laffely and a traditional Native American flute musical performance by the talented multi-instrumentalist. Laffely, an Honors College student who at age 17 became the youngest artist to reach No. 2 on the Billboard New Age chart, is of Native American ancestry, with a bloodline tracing back to the Mi'kmaq and Cree tribes.

Laffely’s passionate performances of original compositions that promote social justice and historical awareness are helping to propel him as an impact activist for the Native American community. He uses his music as a tool for advocacy and channels his own unique experiences to do good for others.

Recently named a recipient of the Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Laffely is one of only a handful of students, faculty or staff members in the Tennessee higher education system selected for the honor that recognizes significant public service. The award is named for Harold Love Sr., who served on the first Metro-Nashville Council in the early 1960s and later in the Tennessee House of Representatives.


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