In Focus: Headwaters Music & Arts 1st “Story Slam”
Since the beginning of time, humans have used their voices to connect with one another. The 1st ever Headwaters Music & Arts Story Slam explored the art form of spoken word by inviting the public to step to the microphone and share.
“The best storytellers I’ve ever seen are people who are really connected with their audience. They know that what they’re doing is about playing with the audience and creating an experience where the audience feels connected to them and to the story,” says Laura Packer, a professional storyteller.
Six people shared 5-minute-long stories at the Slam. They ranged in topics from tattoos to gypsies. The theme of the night was “Speak.”
Packer says, “The theme is ‘Speak’ because it is so vitally important these days that we think about using our voices well. How do we speak out? This project was originally funded in part to work on ‘Me Too’ stories, to give people an opportunity to tell ‘Me Too’ stories but what it has evolved to is a much larger vision of how do we use our voices.”
At the end of event, the audience voted to determine the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place story slam winners. Tom Schmidt took home the top honor with a story about the time he protested the Line 3 pipeline in the streets of downtown Bemidji this past August.
Schmidt says about the entire slam, “It was powerful. I’m actually surprised that I won because the stories were so powerful and coming from so deep. It’s a powerful event and I’m honored just to listen to the stories and I just almost feel embarrassed to win.”
Packer says there are three parts to storytelling: the story, the teller and the listener. If you want a chance to step up to the microphone or just be a listener in the audience, there’s a chance a future story slam may be in the works for Headwaters.
Tricia Andrews says, “We hope to have more so this might be a nice spark for more story slams, more storytelling. Other communities have storytelling groups and storytelling clubs so we’ll see what comes of it.”
“Your story matters so use your voice, tell your story, connect with the world,” adds Packer.