This Storytelling Festival is a part of the Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church Vision 20/20 Community Outreach Series (See Description Below).
The inaugural event happened on June 10, 2006. If you don’t think we know what we’re doing now, you should have seen us back then! Luckily, we had Bil Lepp as our Featured Storyteller, and a great lineup including Gerald Fierst, TAHIRA, Ray Gray and Debra Pieri. Click here to see the Class of 2006.
The local audience was beginning to figure things out, so we threw them a curveball and moved the event date to late in the Autumn. We thought this might provide less of a conflict with the ‘prime storytelling season,’ and more tellers might be available to us. They were! Bil Lepp headlined again, and he was joined by Willy Claflin, Ed Stivender, Doug Elliott, Gerald Fierst, Robin Moore, Ray Gray and Debra Pieri. Baba Jamal Koram had some health issues, so he wasn’t able to join us. But we did introduce Danaher and MacCloud. Click here to see the Class of 2007.
The Lower Brandywine Storytelling Festival picked up some momentum. Word started to get out, and people began to figure out what the event is all about. Bil Lepp, Willy Claflin, and Ed Stivender returned. Baba Jamal Koram was hale and hearty, and put on a terrific show. Danaher and MacCloud returned for an encore. And we were able to bring Motoko down from Massachusetts. It was a terrific group. Click here to see the Class of 2008.
The place was absolutely packed! We couldn’t have put another person in the Sanctuary with a crowbar (and that would have been inappropriate in a place of Worship). We had a dozen world-class storytelling talents in the house. Friday night went by in the blink of an eye, with Willy Claflin to lead things off, followed by Charlotte Blake Alston, Danaher and MacCloud, and Charles Kiernan (performing as Mark Twain). Ed Stivender lead off Saturday afternoon, followed by Kim Weitkamp, Andy Offutt Irwin, and Olivia Merryman. Willy Claflin, Bill Harley, and Bil Lepp handled the Saturday evening performance. And along the way, Michael Forestieri and Sangay Miller also made strong storytelling contributions. Click here to see the Class of 2009.
We outgrew the sanctuary. We had to put a huge tent on the triangle out front. With the nip in the air, Bil Lepp called this beautiful structure the ‘Snow Globe.’ But he and the other 14 storytellers we had in for the weekend really warmed the place up. Friday night opened with a special performance by Willy Claflin, followed by featured performances by Ed Stivender, Milbre Burch, and Slash Coleman. Bil Lepp closed Friday night with a special performance. Saturday afternoon featured performances by Reverend Robert Jones, Danaher and Cloud, Michael Forestieri, Kim Weitkamp, Slash Coleman, Doug Elliott, Milbre Burch, Andy Offutt Irwin, Geraldine Buckley, and Olivia Merryman. Ed Stivender Emceed the evening concert, introducing Bill Harley, Bil Lepp, and Willy Claflin. Sangay Miller, Michael Forestieri and Danaher and Cloud also provided some compelling Children’s performances. Click here to see the Class of 2010.
A Vision for the Future
So what is it all about? Why do we do this every year? What does it mean to our Congregation and community?
Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church will be 300 years old in the year 2020. This longevity reflects the importance of our mission and the best efforts of those who came before us. As we look back...and forward...to this unique celebration, we want to ensure that we arrive at that date a vibrant part of the communities we serve.
With that vision in mind, we’ve created the Vision 20/20 Series. The diverse nature of the events in this program is purposeful. We seek to reach each of the groups in our broader population. Programs are prepared to inform, educate, support or entertain. All are designed to add value to the lives of both members of the Lower Brandywine Congregation and the communities that surround us.
The Storytelling Festival is our signature event. It is the anchor of our annual community outreach schedule. For us, it has value in that it has values. Family values. It’s family-friendly. It is educational. It is fun. And all in a very different way from what we’re typically exposed to in the American Culture of today. Finally, it is ‘unique.’ There aren’t many events like it across the USA, let alone in our area. We’d love to see it continue to grow...so tell your friends.
You are cordially invited to join us for the other programs in our Vision 20/20 series, too. Just as you are always invited to join us, in your own Spiritual Journey, at Sunday morning services.