One reason we love story, whether telling or listening, is that story can send us into the past where we learn about where we came from and about how we arrived where we are today. And if we’re smart, we will let that knowledge guide us to where we want to be tomorrow. This year’s Timpanogos Storytelling Festival features three storytellers who will take us back to the annuls of history, teach us a little about how far we have come, and remind us that the bravery and courage that has brought us this far is still required.


Syd LiebermanSyd Lieberman, a long-time Festival favorite, returns once again and brings with him a special performance of his piece, “Abraham & Isaac: Sacrifice at Gettysburg.” Created by Syd and his wife Adrienne in honor of the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth and recounted this year in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the piece is a recounting of the Battle of Gettysburg as seen through the eyes of Private Isaac Taylor. The performance culminates in the speech given by President Lincoln, called “Father Abraham” by the soldiers, to honor the sacrifice of those who fought on that hallowed ground—“my  boys” as they were called by the President. Based largely on the detailed diary kept by Private Taylor, this piece will draw you through the horrors of war and its bloodiest battle with compassion, honor, and courage. The sweeping scope and beauty of this piece will be one of the true must-see hours of our Festival.  


Additionally, we are thrilled to introduce two new faces to our Festival: Kim and Reggie Harris, a dynamic husband and wife team. Raised in Philadelphia, PA, Kim and Reggie were each introduced at a young age to diverse genres of music—from Classical to Rock to Jazz. After meeting in college, the two began to polish their talents first at local coffee houses and then in schools and concerts around the country. Now as widely acclaimed musicians and storytellers, they have developed a collection of stories and songs chronicling African-American history from the Underground Railroad through the Civil Rights Era. Drawing on historical figures, such as Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and some lesser-known individuals, Kim and Reggie tell these stories and share songs with wit and infectious laughter as well as profound respect. 


We look forward to sharing a tent with you at our Festival as we present these tellers of stories and songs recounting some of the history that dramatically formed and changed our country.


This post was originally published in the Utah Storytelling Guild’s newsletter Taleswapper (July 2013)