Storytellers session at local church to feature Bruce Ley

October 13, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

We have been telling each other stories: true stories, stories of our lives, fictional stories, jokes and downright lies where the value must be in the telling itself – a tradition as old as we are.

So it is that, in 1994, Nancy Woods founded the Dufferin Circle of Storytellers. Ms. Woods was  a retired educator who studied under Dan Yashinsky, a well-known Toronto storyteller and one of the founders of the Toronto Festival of Storytellers.

When Ms. Woods moved  to this area, she looked around to see who else was interested in resuscitating this ancient art in this region.

In the long run, there are some 20 members of the circle, whose ages range from 14 to 92. The Storytellers circle is sponsored equally by the Dufferin Arts Council (DAC) and the Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA), where their events have been held since they began.

When the chance came, they moved into the  historical Corbetton Church, brought to the museum land to hold weddings and other occasions. It is perfect for the storytellers, being a more intimate venue with good acoustics.

As elsewhere, the theme for the upcoming story-telling session is the Spirit of Canada, meaning stories taken from the land, the authors, the history. The telling is suitable for persons 12 to 112 but not entirely right for those much younger, more as a matter of sitting to listen than of content.

There is music to accompany the telling which adds tension, light and flavour to the excitement of the tale. This time, wellknown musician Bruce Ley will be on deck to offer his interpretations of the tales as they are spoken.

The Dufferin Circle of Storytellers is not restricted as to where they may appear. Last year, they provided the entertainment to the Mayors Arts Awards Breakfast. They attend a variety of events, wherever they are invited. Three to eight is the usual number for any given  occasion, each of them so different from the other, with completely contrasting story lines, styles and topics, for about what do we not tell stories?

Although they have a very minimal presence online, they can be found on Facebook. They have presented at Horning’s Mills, entertain the seniors at Dufferin Oaks, and have been to Montgomery Village Public School with shorter, more kid- friendly stories.

It is the passion and the force of the telling, the implied or indeed poetry in the prose; it is the ability of the teller to paint the picture in the listeners’ minds so that they  cannot move, so tied are they to the performance before them.

Story-telling is theatre and it is not, for the thing comes in a flow and the music is the punctuation and, sometimes, the glue that holds the whole together. If you have never watched a storyteller tell, for they do not read from a page, take advantage of this chance to see them in action.

Asked to comment about the benefits of attending a storytelling event, Ms. Woods said: “I think listening is a dying art. The more it can be fostered, the better. Something special happens when there’s a teller and listeners who are prepared to listen.”

Come on October 27, at 7:00 p.m. in the Corbetton Church at the DCMA. Tickets are available for a very reasonable $10  for the show and refreshments after in the museum itself.

You can purchase them at BookLore, Curiosity House in Creemore, through the DCMA and at the door on the evening. Arriving early is recommended.

The next storytelling session will be at Mulmur’s Terra Nova Pub on November 16.

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