Our 2009 season of Children at the Well began January 12th with the first coaching session of the year, held this year at the Colonie Town Library. The following Sunday was the annual Winter Lights performance. A brief CATW meeting was held beforehand, mostly to check in with tellers to see how the search for a story to tell is going.
Then all present stayed for the inspiring program, which storycoach Marni Gillard describes below:
I just want to take a moment to express my appreciation to Gert Johnson and everyone who had a hand in making the annual interfaith Winter Lights storytelling “show” such a delight. This program offers both a deeply sacred and entertaining storytelling/arts experience for its listeners. Snow kept away some listeners from venturing out this year no doubt, so I thought I’d share highlights.
Special thanks also to Micki and Glenn Groper who shared with us their beautiful Beth Emeth Synagogue. The intimate space proved to be perfect for tellers young and old, dancers, chanters and even a juggler celebrating the similarities and the differences of our various faith traditions.
Gert, as she can do so well, set the tone for the day with a short tale that reminds us how alike we are. Reza Hosseinzadeh, a newcomer to the group from the Baha’i faith, enchanted us with his spoken English and chanted Persian opening prayers. The gentle voice and guitar of Bill Cliff took us to a forest where the Buddha’s “Goldenfoot” taught a once-greedy hunter about devotion. Another newcomer, Kay Olan, offered a favorite tale from the Haudenosaunee (People of the Long House) about seven boys who sing and dance their way into the sky, leaving their parents and a tale behind. A fourth-year member of the Children at the Well youth interfaith tellers, Ben Russell, chose an Issac Bashevis Singer tale which shows you’d better be careful what you wish for. Ben’s ability to bring diverse characters to life is a real gift to his listeners. Joan Horgan, the Director of Campus Ministry at St. Rose, well-known in the capitol region for gathering musicians and readers in song and story, closed the opening half with the beautiful strains of Dan Schutte’s “A Time Will Come for Singing.”
I have to admit my delight watching John Lyden make the story of St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio his own. John, another youth teller, dares to play with the audience, surprising us not only with juggling but wolf-running and saint-walking instrumentals. Two young sisters, Kruttika and Prakriti Bhat, already experienced traditional Hindu dancers, offered a prayer dance to Ganesha, believed to remove all obstacles for his devotees. I recalled the image of this dance two days later as President Obama’s inauguration marked the end of some long-obstructing national notions. Alan McClintock took us to the shivery North for the miracle tale “The Silver Pine Cones” and Mary Murphy closed the evening with her lively “Santoro” from William J. Bausch’s Storytelling, Imagination, and Faith, about the bitter-sweetness of humanity’s limited time on earth. There was a stillness in the room as Glenn Groper sent us off with prayer. I give thanks that in this dark and cold time of year we can be warmed by a community dedicated to linking our hearts with song, dance and story.