With the busy month of December just around the corner and the weather taking a decidedly chilly turn, Claire Miller is hoping people warm up to her upcoming event designed to kick off the holiday season.
Once Upon a Winter’s Eve is being billed as an evening of stories and songs. Miller, a professional storyteller since 1991, will be joined by the You Gotta Sing Chorus (http://yougottasing.ca) directed by Vanessa Lindsay-Botten. Lindsay-Botten will also be featured on harp, and Kate Dunlay will join the performance on fiddle.
The Nov. 30 performance takes place at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Dartmouth. The show will include stories and sing-along carols followed by a reception in the church hall.
Miller described the art of storytelling as quite different from reading out of a book.
“Storytelling is telling the stories without any kind of script. It comes from memory and from the heart. Storytelling allows people to hear the story the way they want to and need to,” she explained.
“If I was telling a story to 10 people, there are 11 different stories going on -- mine and the 10 people who are each hearing it in a different way. Storytelling can engage the imagination and the soul in a way that other art forms can’t.”
Pairing stories with songs isn’t new to Miller, as she has teamed up with folk and jazz musicians for past house concerts. This is a much larger venue, and marks the first time Miller has organized such an event.
“There will be quite a mix of stories about the Christmas season, ranging from a story about birds coming to the manger in Bethlehem (that will include harp music), to a story about the Christmas truce,” Miller explained.
“That was when the two sides put down their weapons (during the Christmas Eve truce during the First World War). It’s a mix of traditional and historical stories.”
The songs Miller selected for the performance are singalong carols that relate to her stories. The choir will perform their own pieces as well.
The Nov. 30 show takes place at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 216 School St., Dartmouth. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 at the door. Call 425-8928 for more information.