It was such a wonderful year for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and so it is no wonder that we are having a hard time officially saying goodbye. But, alas, all things must come to an end—and besides we have some fun things coming up in the next couple of months. As we make our final goodbye, we offer this look back in pictures at the 24th annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival:
All photos were taken by two of our fantastic volunteers: Laren Helms and Tom Thurston.
One word comes to mind when I think about Kim and Reggie Harris: joyful. These two have a special zest for life, stories, and music that enlightens, encourages, and enlivens in a way that is quite simply contagious—I mean, honestly, just take a look at those smiles.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Kim and Reggie were exposed to just about every type of music possible. From jazz, rock, gospel, pop, and classical music, they heard it all and incorporated the best of each genre into their own music. Now, thirty years after the two first met at summer camp during their college years, Kim and Reggie have perfected the art of performing together using the mediums of song and story.
Of particular note, and not to be missed at our Festival, is their acclaimed work in the areas of the Underground Railroad and the modern civil rights movement. Like so much of their work, Kim and Reggie employed their creativity with research that has resulted in serious contributions to the body of education and understanding of these topics. More than that, though, their use of song and story will draw you into a vivid world of daring, courage, and quests for justice and equality that is sure to inspire. And while these topics may be sobering, their stories dig deep inside to spread the message of faith and hope about the best in each of us and in the world at large. All this is done with an absolute joy for life that radiates so beautifully in their every word, strum of the guitar, and sway of motion.
Plus, they have a song that was featured on NPR’s Car Talk—and as someone who grew up with the guys from Car Talk hanging out in the background of every Saturday morning, this is nothing short of the coolest thing ever!
So come spend some time with Kim and Reggie at our Festival, and let them sweep you away with their harmonies, rhythms, and pure joy that is sure to motivate you, like it did me, with a desire to clap and sing along (and considering my utter—and I’m not using the word “utter” lightly here—lack of rhythm that is kind of saying something).
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 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)