Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Catching Up: Telling Tales with Ellouise

A performance scheduled in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia always provides an opportunity to see family, since so many of them live within 100 miles of D.C. And this it also provided another opportunity: a house concert at the home of my sister Theresa.

I have been reading about house concerts and they sounded like fun. Basically this is how it works: someone offers to host the concert. Refreshments are provided, friends of the host are invited, a cover fee is set, and people come and have a great time.

 For this concert, I asked my friend Ellouise Schoettler to join me. She suggested we do a fundraiser, and my sister chose Fisher House Foundation, an organization that provides housing for the familes of veterans who are in the hospital.

The evening was so much fun. About 40 people attended; Theresa's house was full! We raised about $400 and everyone had a good time. I would love to do more of these kinds of events because the smaller venue is really suited to the kind of storytelling I prefer--small groups, casual "front porch" atmosphere, and a comfortable setting. Many in this group were new to storytelling and were enthusiasric and interested in hearing more. Ellouise wowed them with her story of her wedding dress bought in a thrift shop, and her tale of the tattooed man. I shared a couple ballads, a story from childhood called "Mr. Skinnyhead," the story of Eaton Tunnel and the tale of how my parents met.

It was a memorable evening and some have suggested that it become an annual event. I'm certainly game.

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Jenny said...

What a really fun idea - wouldn't this be a great birthday party celebration with lots of stories about & for the birthday person.

For my husband's 50th birthday last spring I sent out, hand delivered & messaged through Facebook about 100 letters asking friends & family to write a letter to my husband. My mother-in-law helped with addresses of childhood friends & neighbors.

It was the best surprise! We received some of the sweetest stories & most of them I'd never heard before. Lots of funny stories, my husband is a pretty good prankster, & some about his character that no one knew except the person he helped. For months afterwards he kept getting letters from people.

I'll have to file away the house concert idea for another celebration. I really like the fundraiser side of it too.

momalizzie said...

I certainly hope this becomes an annual event. Apparently, my kids enjoyed your company so much, they didn't want to come home. I hope they didn't tire you. You were both awesome! I'm sure we'll be at the next one.

storytellermary said...

Ah, to have been able to teleport in for that one! Hugs to you both!

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