I am blessed and honored beyond measure! I have been notified via letter that I have been accepted after weeks of study into the Pearls of Wisdom. Over the years I have heard of this dynamic group of women and men storytellers. I never dreamt that one day I would be welcomed into the group that is, after much study and meeting a long list of standards and qualifications. I have written stories for years. However, never in my wildest dreams had I ever imagined I would become a part of an ensemble approaching a fifty year tradition of excellence.
I know poetry, but I had no idea of the technical and formal training required to become a storyteller. I am still in the process of learning, studying and perfecting my storytelling craft. You see, even seasoned storytellers continue to study and learn. I’ve stayed up long hours composing papers for school. Now, I find myself revisiting similar experiences, and committing stories to memory. Storytelling is an ancient tradition. In Africa, storytellers were known as griots. Individuals who kept history and culture via the written, and oral traditions. Griots passed these riches on to generation after generation. I am honored to be a part of this rich tradition.
The Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers are a touring ensemble of elder storytellers, led by artistic director, Thelma Ruffin Thomas. In richly told presentations, the Pearls present stories that illuminate their individual pasts and, in turn, our collective histories.
Their lively, spirited, interactive, and authentic presentations not only promote the tradition of elder folk art stories but also inspire audience participants to share stories. Presentations last sixty minutes and include an introduction, story presentation, and discussion. Pearls present in a wide range of settings and presentations. Their performances are a great way to foster discussions in various cultural and educational
“Often when older people are recognized for outstanding work, they are typically regarded as exceptions to the rule – as if creativity and outstanding performance were not significant parts of aging. But when you can identify an entire field like folk art that is dominated by older people, then outstanding performance by various older individuals cannot be trivialized as atypical or an exception to the rule. Folk art makes a profoundly powerful statement about the inherent capacity for creative expression throughout the entire life cycle.” – Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D.
©Lorraine Currelley 2013. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this author is strictly prohibited.