What Youth Tellers Want & Need – Part 4 of 7

This is the fourth of seven parts on gleaming from personal experiences as well as experiences of the 100+ youth who have taken the stage – live and virtual – through Story Crossroads since 2016. We support youth beyond the stage through Youth Teller Reunions as well as Live & Virtual Story Camps.


  • Part 1 – Choosing the “Right” Words – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Friend/Listener/Mentor – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – The Storytelling Birthday – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Combining Talents – TODAY
  • Part 5 – Ownership of Events & Beyond
  • Part 6 – Virtual Options
  • Part 7 – Wishlist Stages

Youth have more than one talent, and storytelling is one of many.

When it is the first time for youth to learn storytelling, then focusing only on that talent is best. Though the second, third, fourth, or any other time after that initial instruction needs to be exploring what the youth enjoys beyond the art.

One of my favorite combinations was a youth teller who told a personal story while doing Karate. Obviously, Karate was important to the movement of the plot. He had the right amount of kicks that enhanced rather than distracted from the whole experience. He ended up being one of my top youth tellers for that year of Story Crossroads and moved along to the National Youth Storytelling.

We have plenty of adults that combine other talents with storytelling.

Although coming from an adult, I have always been fascinated by what Dustin Loehr contributed to the storytelling world with merging his tap dancing to the tellings. I could tell you of the time when he flew into Utah, needed a tap board, and I was scrounging and taking pictures of different wood panels to see if they “would pass inspection” the day before performance….

Though once on stage, his way of tip-tapping different sounds and postures to represent different characters was inspiring. We certainly will want him to perform at Story Crossroads again.

Any talent can combine with storytelling.

Music and dance are always brought to mind, though what are different genres and styles?

To get the brain-a-bubblin’, here are some music: Blues, Jazz, Rock and Roll, Country, Soul, Dance Music, Hip Hop.

Normal, right?

Notice that dance and music often overlap.

Have you heard of: Enka, Isicathamiya, or Frevo?

Here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Enka = Japanese semi-traditional singing style and folk wardrobe, mixed with modern and traditional instrumentation and influences…yet see some youth at a pep rally combine this style with “Let’s move” by Beyoncé – could there be some kind of combination with storytelling? Though, experience Enka and an interview with the singer, Hitomi Idemitsu…and the reason she is attracted to this style is that “Enka has stories in it.” Hmmm.

What about in the dance world: Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballroom.

Though have you heard of: Demi-Character, Bugg, or Ghumura?

Again, here is a highlight of one of them, and I will let you explore and learn about the other two.

Demi-Character = Classic ballet though must focus and portray a character in a…story, many competitions are out there for it and here is one youth with a “swimmingly” wonderful story dance.

Back to the youth in your life.

More talents are out there than music and dance. What else could youth combine with storytelling and draw them more so in the art than ever before?

  • Photography – with big enough pictures, projections on stage, or virtual means – this talent can be amazing with storytelling. Plus, I recently learned about PechaKucha.
  • Cooking – sometimes the cooking can be shared after the performance – the aromas can enhance the overall experience – or can be shared on screen of making/baking while telling. So many food stories around the world. David Novak had bread baking in an important Gilgamesh scene. Here is an article about it.
  • Fashion – how can the change of wardrobe help in the telling of a story – can more than one teller take the stage or can this be done solo – Pippa White (interview with her – she admits she did not call herself a storyteller until later) loves to do a simple switch of hats for historical representations while Darci Tucker (interview with her) has been three characters in one performance due to strategic layering. Why cannot youth do this with a twist? Does it always need to be historical…perhaps modern or even futuristic? We had youth tell 1-minute or so stories for the Story Train that stopped to the past, present, and future. The youth had to dress up to match their time period and story. The future ones…were fantastic. Actually, all were wonderful.

And this is only a sneak of talents that can make it to stage or performance in one way or another.

Brainstorm with youth.

Are they great at foreign languages? Can there be bilingual storytelling? What of visual arts beyond photography? Pottery? How can that tell a story?

How can anything truly be used to tell a story?

Yes, teach the basics of storytelling without the combining first…though there is no harm is letting youth know that you love their fill-in-the-blank talent and hint that you would love to see what they do with it for storytelling after learning how to do “pure” storytelling without the embellishments or add-ons.

You will be amazed.

Be there for our youth – today.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

And…Spread the word about our upcoming Story Camp for youth aged 8-17 in mid-August of two kinds: Limited-Sized/Proper-Distanced as well as Virtual.

Music & Melodies -A to Z Blog Challenge

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This post is part of the A to Z Blog Challenge.  See more at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/.


We all have melodies that play in our minds.  Some of us take those melodies and make them part of the performing experience.

Three Main Ways to Work with Music & Melodies:

  1. Vocal-Love to sing?  

A story can be enhanced or even have its crucial plot centered around songs.  Chants are used all the time in different cultures.  Call and response could also be considered vocalization or singing.

Here are some examples on how to use vocal music and melodies–

  •  Holly Robison sings acapella and merges it in her stories.  Sometimes I have done tandem pieces with her and combined our singing skills.  I sing soprano and she harmonizes.  One time, we did a Japanese folktale called “Mother’s Mirror” and we added a specific tune and song for each of the two main characters.  At one point, we overlapped the two melodies for a beautiful mix that represented the characters’ struggles.
  • Suzanne Hudson developed a cute song about Tapioca pudding that is taught to the audience.  The audience then jumps in at the chorus.  Singing together as a group brings people together on a deeper level.  Notice that church meetings and campfire programs include songs?  The same idea.
  •  Julie Barnson has sung ballads, the ultimate story encompassed by song.  Ballads can be haunting, delightful, or dramatic.  Julie sung one about a mermaid that had the listeners at that Utah Storytelling Guild chapter meeting feel like we were out to sea and had seagulls flying about us.  Songs have a way of adding to imagery.

2.  Instrument-Love to play?

A story can involve one or more instruments.  These instruments could be played by one person, with a second person as accompaniment, or as big as bands or orchestras.

Here are some examples on how to use instruments– 

  • Paul Boruff brings out his guitar sometimes dressed in his Trapper gear.  Having the guitar and playing it when needed for the storytelling makes anyone feel like time travel is possible.  Joseph Sobol is most famous for his cittern, a stringed instrument that comes from the Renaissance time.  Sam Payne has many stories that he tells first and then plays the song he created for it at the end.
  • Baba Jamal Koram often performs with Baba Kenyattaa Henry so they can combine their percussion prowess in the African drum talk with the stories.  Baba Jamal Koram could certainly tell by himself, though anyone seeing these two together will deny the amazing effects that they have on the heart and on the mind.
  • I have had the pleasure of telling stories with Aspen Winds, a woodwind quintet.  Sometimes I tell a story and then it is followed by the music or vice versa.  This brings the mood and overall culture of the piece to be more clear for the audience.  Several pieces have involved narration at the same time as the music such as for “Peter and the Wolf” and “The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship.”  Mark Gollaher has performed with a similar way that I did with Aspen Winds.  He has also done pieces with whole orchestras.

3.  Digital/Technical-Love to experiment?

A story can use technology as a way to bring sounds together at the right moments.

Here are some examples of how to use the digital/technical side of sound–

  • Christopher Agostino is mainly a visual artist who uses the spoken word to perform.  Though he is also a master at using technology like plugging in his iPod to the speakers so that the music strengthens the intended ambiance.  Usually the music is cultural to match the type of story that he is about to paint on on or more people’s faces on stage.
  • I worked with Joshua Payne (played electric guitar) and Geoffrey Rayback (played upright bass) so that we could have sound-scaping by adding the sounds of their instruments while feeding through a special amplifier.  Joshua and Geoffrey listened so to time the sound effects at the right moment.  As I do not tell the stories word for word, their jazz background came in handy.  My favorite was telling “Forsaken Brother,” an Objibwe tale.  The electric guitar made perfect howls of the wolf at critical points in the story.

So explore the ways you already use music and melodies.  And if you do not…try some of these ideas or let us know other ways to be creative with sound.

Aquí lo tiene.


Música y Melodías

Todos tenemos melodías que desempeñan en nuestras mentes. Algunos de nosotros tomamos esas melodías y hacerlas parte de la realización de la experiencia.

Tres maneras principales de trabajar con música y melodías:

  1. Vocal-Amor a cantar?

Una historia puede ser mejorado o incluso tener su parcela crucial centradas alrededor de las canciones. Los cantos se usan todo el tiempo en las diferentes culturas. Llamada y respuesta podría también considerarse la vocalización o cantando.

Aquí están algunos ejemplos de cómo utilizar la música vocal y melodías–

  • Holly Robison canta a capela y fusiona en sus historias. A veces he hecho pedazos en tándem con ella y combinar nuestros conocimientos de canto. Yo canto soprano y ella armoniza. Una vez, hicimos un cuento tradicional japonés llamado “espejo” de la madre y hemos agregado una melodía específica y canción para cada uno de los dos personajes principales. En un momento, nos se superponían las dos melodías para una hermosa mezcla que representan las luchas de los personajes.
  • Suzanne Hudson desarrolló una bonita canción sobre la tapioca pudding que se enseña al público. La audiencia entonces salta en el coro. Cantando juntos como un grupo reúne a personas de todo el mundo en un nivel más profundo. Observe que las reuniones de la iglesia y fogata programas incluyen canciones? La misma idea.
  • Julie Barnson ha cantado baladas, la última historia abarcó por canción. Las baladas puede ser inquietante, deliciosa, o dramático. Julie cantado uno sobre una sirena que tenían los oyentes a que Utah Storytelling Guild capitular se sienten como si fuéramos hacia el mar y las gaviotas volando sobre nosotros. Las canciones tienen una forma de agregar a las imágenes.
  1. Instrument-Encanta jugar al instrumento?

Una historia puede incluir uno o más instrumentos. Estos instrumentos podrían ser desempeñado por una persona, con una segunda persona como acompañamiento, o tan grande como bandas u orquestas.

Aquí están algunos ejemplos de cómo utilizar instrumentos–

  • Pablo Boruff saca su guitarra a veces Trapper vestido en su marcha. Tener la guitarra y tocar cuando sea necesario para la narración hace que nadie siente como viajar en el tiempo es posible. Joseph Sobol es más famoso por su cittern, un instrumento de cuerda que viene de la época del Renacimiento.  Sam Payne tiene muchas historias que dice en primer lugar y, a continuación, reproduce la canción que él creó para él al final.
  • Baba Jamal Koram a menudo realiza con Baba Kenyattaa Henry, de modo que puedan combinar sus proezas en la percusión del tambor africano hable con las historias. Baba Jamal Koram ciertamente podría decirle por él mismo, aunque nadie viendo estos dos juntos va a negar los increíbles efectos que tienen en el corazón y en la mente.
  • He tenido el placer de contar historias con vientos de Aspen, un quinteto de vientos. A veces me cuentan una historia y luego es seguida por la música o viceversa. Esto trae el humor y la cultura general de la pieza más claros para la audiencia. Varias Partes han implicado una narración al mismo tiempo que la música como “Pedro y el lobo” y “El loco del mundo y la nave voladora”. Mark Gollaher ha realizado con una forma similar que hice con vientos de Aspen. Él también ha hecho pedazos con orquestas enteras.
  1. Digital/Technical-Les encanta experimentar?

Una historia puede utilizar la tecnología como una forma de traer sonidos juntos en los momentos adecuados.

Aquí están algunos ejemplos de cómo utilizar el lado técnico/digital de sonido–

  • Christopher Agostino es principalmente un artista visual que utiliza la palabra hablada para realizar. Aunque él también es un maestro en el uso de la tecnología, como la conexión de su iPod a los altavoces de manera que la música refuerza la intención del ambiente. Normalmente la música es cultural para que coincida con el tipo de historia que está a punto de pintar sobre o más los rostros de la gente en el escenario.
  • He trabajado con Josué jugado Payne (guitarra eléctrica) y Geoffrey Rayback jugado (contrabajo), de modo que pudiéramos tener sonido-scaping añadiendo los sonidos de sus instrumentos mientras se alimenta a través de un amplificador. Josué y Geoffrey escuchado así al tiempo que los efectos de sonido en el momento justo. Como no puedo contar las historias palabra por palabra, sus antecedentes de jazz fueron útiles. Mi favorito era diciendo “renegados”, un Hermano Objibwe cuento. La guitarra eléctrica hecha perfecta aullidos del lobo en los puntos críticos en la historia.

Para explorar los caminos que ya utiliza la música y melodías. Y si no …pruebe algunas de estas ideas o háganos saber otras maneras de ser creativo con el sonido.

Cap’s Off to You! Lisa Whatcott and Celebrating Story

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Lisa Whatcott playing flute

Featuring:   Lisa Whatcott

Flute Player & Instructor, Mother & Sister from UT

Lisa Whatcott brings about a world of hope and possibilities as she plays her flute.  The music she plays always spins a story.  Some stories are accompanied by verbal narrative.  Other stories from the music must be created in the mind of audience.  When I first met Lisa, I was inspired by her poise and presence that in and of itself told the story of a woman who walks out into life with boldness.

So enjoy the past, present, and future influences of storytelling in Lisa’s life.

Rachel:  What drew you to storytelling/stories?

Lisa:  Probably just a fascination as child.

Rachel:  Tell me more about that.

Lisa:  I guess just pretending or wishing to be in the story?

Rachel:  What are some of your favorite memories from childhood of wishing to be in the story? Why?

Lisa:  I think “Jack and the Beanstalk”….wanting the golden egg because we were pretty poor! “Rumpelstiltskin” because he could spin gold….man, interesting. I wasn’t ever fixated on money, but maybe just wished we could have some.  Prince and princess stories too…..just the whole idea that dreams could come true.

Rachel:  How have you seen the influence of stories and storytelling in what you do now (if at all)?

Lisa:  I think telling a story can teach concepts (like parables) and reach certain people. Stories inspire imagination and creativity and show what can be possible. And also what can be detrimental.

Rachel:  What moment comes to mind that reflects that teaching or inspiring imagination recently for you?

Lisa:  I teach a flute piece called Syrinx and I always tell the story that accompanies it. It helps the students to live out the story and emotions in the music. Also a piece called “Danse de la Chevre” (means Dance of the Goat) tells the story of a boy and his goat at sunrise, playing all day and retiring at sunset. It is playful and sentimental and reminds you of those carefree days of your childhood. Stuff like that I do every day in my lessons. Imagining, creating stories to communicate emotion and musical ideas.

Rachel:  And your plans for using stories in the future?

Lisa:  Just to keep students’ imaginations going, pretending they are in the story really helps them make a connection to the audience.

Thank you to the permissions of Lisa to do this interview as well as the use of her picture. 

We appreciate Lisa sharing her experience and influence with storytelling.  You have those moments, too.

Here is why:

Lisa has a story.  You have a story.  We all have stories.

Aquí lo tiene.

Lisa Whatcott playing flute

De la pac para usted

Con: Lisa Whatcott

Flautista & Instructor, Madre & Hermana de UT

Lisa Whatcott trae un mundo de esperanza y posibilidades como ella toca su flauta. La música que se reproduce siempre gira una historia. Algunas historias son acompañados por la narrativa verbal. Otras historias de la música debe ser creado en la mente del público. Cuando me reuní por primera vez con Lisa, yo estaba inspirado por su aplomo y presencia que en sí y de por sí contó la historia de una mujer que camina en la vida con audacia.

Así que disfrute de los pasados, presentes y futuros de las influencias de la narración de la vida de Lisa.

Rachel: Lo que le atrajo a la narración/historias?

Lisa: Probablemente sólo una fascinación como niño.

Rachel: Cuéntame más sobre eso.

Lisa: Supongo que simplemente fingiendo o que desean estar en la historia?

Rachel: ¿Cuáles son tus recuerdos favoritos de la infancia de que desean estar en la historia? ¿Por qué?

Lisa: Creo que “el gato y el beanstalk”….queriendo el huevo dorado porque estábamos bastante pobre! “Rumpelstiltskin” porque él podía girar el oro….Hombre, interesante. Yo no estaba nunca obsesionada por el dinero, pero tal vez sólo deseaba podríamos tener algunos.  El príncipe y la princesa historias demasiado…..sólo el conjunto de la idea de que los sueños podían hacerse realidad.

Raquel:  ¿Cómo han visto la influencia de historias y cuentos en lo que haces ahora (si en todos)?

Lisa: Creo que contar una historia puede enseñar los conceptos (como las parábolas) y llegar a ciertas personas. Historias despiertan la imaginación y la creatividad y mostrar lo que puede ser posible. Y también lo que puede ser perjudicial.

Raquel:  ¿En qué momento me viene a la mente que refleja esa enseñanza o inspirar la imaginación recientemente para usted?

Lisa:  Yo enseño una flauta pieza llamada siringe y siempre cuento la historia que lo acompaña. Ayuda a los estudiantes a vivir la historia y las emociones en la música. También una pieza llamada “Danse de La Chevre” (significa Danza de la Cabra) narra la historia de un muchacho y su cabra al amanecer, tocando todo el día y se retira al atardecer. Es juguetón y sentimental y le recuerda de aquellos días despreocupado de su niñez. Cosas como que hago cada día en mis clases. Imaginando, creando historias para comunicar emociones e ideas musicales.

Rachel: Y sus planes para el uso de historias en el futuro?

Lisa:  Sólo para mantener la imaginación de los estudiantes va, fingiendo que están en la historia realmente les ayuda a realizar una conexión con el público.

Gracias a los permisos de Lisa para hacer esta entrevista, así como el uso de su imagen.

Apreciamos Lisa compartiendo su experiencia e influencia con la narración. Tienes esos momentos, también.

 Aquí está por qué:

Lisa tiene una historia. Usted tiene una historia. Todos tenemos historias.