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Folklore and music on Wednesday's Access Utah


The 2022 Fife Honor lecture happened last week on the USU campus, and this year it featured two people: Steven Hatcher, the Idaho Folk Arts Coordinator, and Damian Rodriguez, a Tejano musician who performed as part of the lecture. Damian Rodriguez is one of the winners of the 2023 Traditional Arts fellowships in Idaho, and he and Steven Hatcher have been working together for quite a while.

Steven Hatcher is the state folklorist and director of the Folk and Traditional Arts Program at the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He spent a decade living in four countries and on as many continents. Overseas, his experience focused on the educational side of public folklore through contract positions awarded by the State Department and as an expatriate hired in the local economy. At the Idaho Commission on the Arts, He documents, supports, and celebrates the folklife of Idaho through public programs and grant funding.

Damian Rodriguez served in the military during the Vietnam Era War and Iraqi Freedom. When he came home he used the GI Bill to attend the College of Southern Idaho and Idaho State University majoring in Mass Communications/Journalism. Always interested in music, at one point he was invited to sing at a Mexican Cultural Fiesta in Idaho Falls and he says his eyes were opened. When he saw a live Mariachi Band he decided to change his focus from English music to Mexican Traditional songs. Damian Rodriguez has also worked as a reporter and as an activist.

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Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.