The Gunnery Welcomes Documentary Filmmaker Kay D. Ray

The Gunnery is pleased to welcome documentary filmmaker, producer and director Kay D. Ray to campus on November 14. Ray, who is the aunt of Zhanara Ray-Tunis ’20, will visit classes, including Lincoln Turner’s Film Production Class, to speak about her work, and will present her newest film, “Lady Be Good, Instrumental Women in Jazz,” at an all-school gathering. The event, which is the first in The Gunnery’s 2019-20 Speaker Series, will be held from  7 to 8 p.m. in the Ogden D. Miller Memorial Athletic Center.
Returning to Seattle from film and video work in Vancouver and Los Angeles, Ray worked with Microsoft Studios for four years and was the senior film producer for the Experience Music Project, where she developed and created over 85 films and directed numerous interviews. Other recent film producing and directing projects include:

  • “Celluloid Seattle, Essential Seattle,” by New MOHAI films, part of a 2013 exhibition examining Seattle’s relationship with film, curated by celebrated Seattle critic Robert Horton at the Museum of History & Industry, Seattle
  • “Startup: Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution,” for Weatherhead Experience Design Group; part of a permanent exhibit on the history of the microcomputer and the software and hardware innovations that revolutionized the modern world at the Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque
  • “Anne Gould Hauberg, Visionary,” a documentary about the philanthropist and co-founder of the Pilchuck Glass Center, for Northwest Designer Craftsman
  • “Ernestine Anderson: There Will Never Be Another You,” a documentary film about the Seattle jazz and blues singer, for One Reel/Bumbershoot

Ray also filmed and directed three films for special needs schools in Granada, Nicaragua. She is currently on an east coast tour with the women’s band featured in “Lady Be Good.” A segment of the film, titled “Music With The Hormel Girls,” is at the SPAM® Museum in Minnesota.

Ray was a co-curator and filmmaker for “Jumpin' With The Big Bands” at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, Washington, an exhibit showcasing the story of jazz and swing through the Big Band Era of the 1930s and 1940s. She also was a co-producer of a “Women's Vote, Women's Voices” kiosk with Frause Visual for the Washington State Historical Society, which commemorated the state’s suffrage centennial in 2010.

According to Speaker Series Coordinator Melissa Schomers of the English Department faculty, two additional lectures are planned for this academic year. Both are based on the theme, “Compassion.” The winter term speaker will be Christopher Kukk, Ph.D., a Professor of Political Science/Social Science at Western Connecticut State University. Kukk is the founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, author of the book, “The Compassionate Achiever,” published by HarperCollins, and co-host of a podcast of the same name. 

In the spring term, The Gunnery will host Travis Tucker, Ph.D., program director at Wisdom House Retreat and Conference Center in Litchfield.  Tucker is the former Associate Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, and a former philosophy professor at the University of Hartford and the University of New Haven. He is also the founder of Students of Character, a not-for-profit organization seeking to bring philosophically-based character education to low-income students throughout Connecticut and the mid-Atlantic region. 

Events in The Gunnery Speaker Series are open to the community. Admission is free. To register, please call (860) 350-0177.

The Gunnery Speaker Series builds on a longstanding tradition that extends to the days of school founder Frederick Gunn, who organized town debates on Friday evenings. In more recent times, the school has welcomed prominent guest speakers, including: former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (2000); Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt and sports commentator Peter Gammons (2004); poet Naomi Shihab Nye (2007); the Rev. Ralph Lord Roy, civil rights activist (2009); New Yorker writer Ian Frazer (2010); environmentalist Bill McKibben (2011); motivational speaker and Special Olympics Athlete Loretta Claiborne (2012); author Andrea Wulf (2016), slam poet Taylor Mali; author and journalist David Owen and author Andrew Postman (2018); and Max Boot P’20, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, columnist for The Washington Post, and global affairs analyst for CNN (2019).

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Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.