Storytelling festival carries on important tradition

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's all about the story.

From the earliest conversations around a cave campfire to a Tweet distributed by fiber optic cable, humans have sought to communicate stories, stories that are true, embellished, completely fictional or a mix of the three, designed to inform, entertain or teach a lesson.

Dubbed "Buffalo Commons" as a reaction to the notion the plains should be depopulated, this year's 17th annual storytelling festival promises to carry on the best storytelling tradition.

"Patterns of the Prairie: A Celebration of Story and Song" is the theme for this year's event, Friday and Saturday in downtown McCook.

Kevin Kling, Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Matt Mason headline the storytelling, while Brad Colerick, Steve Hanson and Jim Pipher extend the theme with music.

Back by popular demand, Kevin Kling, best known for his popular commentaries on NPR's All Things Considered, delivers an evening of hilarious and tender storytelling and music with accordionist Simone Perrin.

Winner of the 2011 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry and the Academy of American Poets Prize, Sarah McKinstry-Brown studied poetry at the University of New Mexico and the University of Sheffield, England.

Her husband, Matt Mason, has won two Nebraska Book Awards and read and organized poetry programming with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs Speaker/Specialist exchange program in Minsk, Belarus in 2008 as well as been on three National Poetry Slam teams (and coached a fourth). He edits PoetryMenu.com, a listing of every Nebraska poetry event, and founded Morpo Press which, since 1997, has published 30 chapbooks by up-and-coming local writers.

Billboard Magazine called Brad Colerick, "...one of a Baker's Dozen of acts to watch in the folk community around the world." His CDs have landed in the top 5 of the Folk DJ and Euro-Americana charts. A finalist at Kerrville, Falcon Ridge, and Sisters Folk Festival competitions, he once worked with Johnny Cash.

Steve Hanson, a versatile musician, is part of the eclectic music scene in Lincoln. Not only does he play in bluegrass rhythm and blues, jazz bands and duos, he teaches aspiring players to do the same.

A versatile bass and guitar player, Jim Pipher has been performing in Nebraska and throughout the Midwest for more than 40 years, in bands covering musical styles from the jazz standards of the 1930s to 1970s country rock, Motown soul to traditional Gospel and bluegrass.

A number of McCook venues will be involved in the Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival, including the public library, High Plains Museum, McCook Community College, Fox Theatre, Bieroc Cafe, Norris Park, Memorial United Methodist Church and others. For more information, check out a special insert in last Friday's paper, or go here.

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