Storytelling is inseparable from human life. For generations, we have been telling story - be it around a fire to convey lessons for survival; at the dinner table to relay a funny happening from our day; in line at the grocery store to share a recent discovery; or snuggling up in the dark night to whisper a bedtime tale of wonder. We all love stories. Especially those conveyed with words that tug at our senses. When we "listen" with our ears, eyes, nose and skin, we not only stir our imagination, but activate our body’s unconscious yearning to transform the pedantic and take flight into sensuous realms of magic, myth and hero.
This February, three masterful storytellers will grace our community at the 6th Annual Storytelling Festival on February 2nd at 4pm at the Vashon United Methodist Church. Now in it’s 6th year, the StoryFest helps raise monies for the Vashon Wilderness Program’s Scholarship Fund which provides tuition assistance to more than 40% of their students each year.
The art of storytelling is integral to the curriculum at VWP, which provides nature immersion experiences for youth ages 4-17 from Vashon and surrounding Puget Sound communities. More than 400 youth over the past six years have received Coyote Mentoring, a form of deep nature connection mentoring which has been touted by award-winning author Richard Louv as "... good medicine for nature deficit disorder."
Hosted by Vashon’s own local performer, humorist and provocateur Steffon Moody, this family-friendly event will feature Gene Tagaban, Merna Hecht, Shane Kenode. In addition to the stories, there will be complimentary sweet and savory treats, raffle prizes, the musical delights of the eclectic flautist Larry Lawson, and more.
GENE TAGABAN, "One Crazy Raven", is an inspirational speaker, performer, and storyteller. He is a trainer and board member for the Native Wellness Institute. Gene has been a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, the 12th Annual Storytelling Festival in Kansas City, MO and the Bay Area Storytelling festival in Berkeley, CA. He can be seen on Northwest Indian News and Native Entertainment Network. Gene is also featured in the films "Shadow of the Salmon" and Sherman Alexie’s "The Business of Fancydancing." He was honored to perform with the Dalai Lama in the presence of an audience of 16,000 children at the "Seeds of Compassion" gathering in Seattle. WA and the Nature Conservancies 50th anniversary with Jane Goodall. Gene’s foremost passion is teaching. Using his gift of storytelling, dance, and music, he travels across the country performing, presenting, and facilitating workshops on suicide prevention, empowerment, leadership, relationship-building, communication skills, self-awareness, spirit and honor to participants of all ages.
MERNA ANN HECHT is a poet, storyteller and teaching artist. She is a recipient of a National Storytelling Network 2008 Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling for a pilot storytelling and arts project with children at BRIDGES: A Center for Grieving Children, in Tacoma. Merna has published her essays and poems in numerous journals and has received several poetry awards and fellowships. She currently teaches Creative Writing, Humanities and Social Justice at the University of WA, Tacoma . Merna also co-directs the Stories of Arrival Youth Voices Poetry Project at Foster High School in Tukwila with young refugees from countries experiencing violent conflicts. She is delighted to find the time to mentor a group of girls and young women on Vashon called "The Write Sisters," and claims that they are the world’s best young writers! Merna loves hiding out on Vashon and daydreaming on the small blueberry farm where she lives with her husband Rob.
SHANE KENODE is a 1st generation northwesterner raised by a pack of fishermen in Sitka, Alaska circa 1980’s. The rest of his childhood was spent on the Kitsap Peninsula traveling back and forth between Seattle and the Olympic Mountains. He graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia with a B.A. in Sustainable Business and a minor in Myth & Ritual Studies. Shane is a hip-hop artist, storyteller, and youth mentor. He makes a living building waterfalls, streams, and ponds with his father; also as a musician & producer; and as a small business consultant. He lives on a 44’ sailboat with his wife, daughter, and cat. Shane works with story as a spoken medicine used to heal people and their relations.
Tickets are $10 individual/$25 family. Available at Vashon Bookshop and www.brownpapertickets.com