Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Storytellers’ Circle “Island Characters”

Monday, June 20, 2016 the Festival of Small Halls on Prince Edward Island presented a storytellers’ circle at the Stanley Bridge Hall. My cousin and I went together. Eddy Quinn and John Webster were the hosts. I absolutely love their music and their band Fiddler’s Sons. We got a sneak peek at some of the songs from their new album, so excited! One was particularly heart-wrenching about an estranged couple and a terminal diagnosis. Another told the tale of a summer with “free” beer in Georgetown. It was really upbeat and had us all clapping along. You will have to check them out this summer. I know they play all over PEI.

Boyde Beck followed Eddy and John each round. He told about the grounding of the Marco Polo on Cavendish Beach, and the first car in Canada brought in by a local priest and a couple of other stories. He’s a master of the narrative and very knowledgeable about PEI history. I love how he made history come to life by constructing their character while telling his yarns. By the end, you felt like you actually knew the people or they could have been from your community.

Michael Averill came back to PEI for this festival. He took advantage of a CN Rail initiative that allows musicians to travel for free if they entertain on the train. I had never heard of this but love the railway even more for their support of the arts. Michael’s songs are brilliant, but I loved the stories that went with them. He sucks you in with questions and gets you involved right away. I was totally entranced by an anecdote about single socks. I cannot wait to get his album with that song on it to play for my daughter, who refuses to match her socks. I also loved the Thankful song he wrote for a painter friend as a Christmas exchange. His other songs were good to but those are the two that really stuck in my head.

Peter Beven-Baker told his stories after Michael. Peter told stories from his life starting in childhood and through to his mother’s death and how emotional but beautiful it was. I especially loved the summer of being a “bird beater” and becoming a dentist because he did not want to be shot. His memories of sitting with his mother were so poignant but swept us in to our memories of loss of loved ones.

I could not believe how all of the songs and stories intertwined. They made me want to get up and sing (and I am NOT a singer). It was such a feel good evening. If you get a chance to take in the Festival, do it. I know I felt great afterwards.



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