Timpanogos Storytelling Alumni
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Syd is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, an award-winning teacher, and an author. He has appeared at major storytelling festivals across the country, including eight featured appearances at the National Festival in Jonesborough, TN; at the Glistening Waters Storytelling Festival in New Zealand; and on American Public Radio's Good Evening as a guest storyteller and host.
Syd's first historical commission came when he was asked to write and perform the story of the Johnstown Flood of 1889 for Johnstown Pennsylvania's centennial commemoration. The Smithsonian followed, commissioning him to write and perform a story about the fighter pilots of World War I for the National Air and Space Museum. He created the story about the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Van Andel Museum Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the story of the Mars rover landings for NASA and the International Storytelling Center.
Syd and his wife Adrienne collaborated to create a story about the signing of the Declaration of Independence for Historic Philadelphia. They followed with a piece about the Civil War and the Gettysburg Address for the Bicentennial of Lincoln's birth in 2009. Currently, Syd and Adrienne are creating stories for the US Capitol Visitors Center and Syd is teaching their 180 docents and volunteers how to tell stories.
The United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. asked Syd to present his original story on Raoul Wallenberg as part of their Acts of Courage series. He has worked extensively with the Smithsonian Institution. He was featured in their Word of Mouth program for educators and returned to be part of a performance series, The Renaissance in Storytelling: America's Master Storytellers Come to the Smithsonian.
Syd has published two books: The Wise Shoemaker of Studena and Streets and Alleys: Stories with a Chicago Accent, produced 15 CD's and was featured in The Call of Story, a storytelling video special.
In all, Syd's recordings have garnered four Notable Children's Recordings awards from the American Library Association, three Gold Awards from Storytelling World Magazine, and two Gold Awards from Parents' Choice. IBM and Good Housekeeping chose Syd's rendition of the story "Joseph the Tailor" to be sent to every elementary school in the nation as part of their Tell-Me-a-Tale Celebration.
The Kennedy Center has invited him to Washington to teach in its professional development program for educators He also co-directed an annual institute at the Chicago History Museum, helping teachers use storytelling to teach Mexican history and culture. Syd was one of eight storytellers sent by the National Storytelling Network to work with Disney World's writers and directors.
Syd is known for his varied repertoire. Many of his best-loved stories deal with growing up and raising a family in Chicago. He is also known for his original historical pieces and his signature versions of literary tales, especially those of Edgar Allan Poe. Syd is one of the country's leading tellers of Jewish tales. He appeared with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame in the Chicago presentation of Do-It-Yourself Chanukah.
Syd holds an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.A.T. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During his 30-year career as a high school English teacher, Chicago's Golden Apple Foundation for Excellence in Teaching awarded Syd its prestigious Golden Apple Award. The National Storytelling Network inducted him into the Circle of Excellence for his work as a storyteller.
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