This afternoon, my husband and I trekked down to Olympia (a 1 1/2 hour drive from Redmond!) for a storytelling event. I found the posting on the South Sound Storyteller's Guild website, and thought that this was something I could attend. Online, the event was titled "An Afternoon of Story and Song," and was a fundraising event for the 23-year old granddaughter of one of the guild members, who was recently diagnosed with follicular lymphoma.
I was a bit nervous going into the event because it as a fundraiser for someone that I didn't know, in a church that I was unfamiliar with (which means that most of the attendees of the event were most likely attendees of the church), and I was not feeling well. (In fact, I left early, at the intermission following the free-will offering.)
The event opened with brief introduction of the MC, Billie Mazzei, and then proceeded into a folk-song, "This land is my land..." This set the stage for the cooperative nature of the afternoon, as audience participation was not just recommended, but demanded by the performers (good-naturedly, of course). Then, another member of the South Sound Story Tellers Guild, Randi Moe (or Queen Randinka as she was referred to) told the story of Noah and the flood. This was not the normal Bible story, but was a rhythmic story accompanied by a small drum with the frequent refrain, "You wanna hear, hear the story?" She referred to herself as a griot from Biblical Africa and used the sing-song of her story to reinforce that allusion throughout. It was a great twist on a classic tale, replete with critters and storm.
After the tale of Noah, the singer, Ric Zassenhaus, led the audience in the story of the Exodus in song, "Pharoah, Pharoah." This is an adaptation of the story of the people of Israel fleeing Egypt, set to the tune "Louie, Louie." It's fun and has great movements. It works well with children, and the seniors in the audience seemed to enjoy themselves as well.
Next, Billie Mazzei told the story of her parents' honeymoon in Ireland and her father's inability to drive a stick, and then Randi returned to tell the story of long ago, when a tall tale teller needed to find a replacement. This was unaccompanied, but was humerous and involved several tall tales in one. Next, there were some gospel songs, and another story. This time, the story was about the Tailor and his new coat of wool. There was some more singing, and Billie told the story of her husband's magical piece of wood.
It was a fun afternoon, and people were in a generous mood. It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.