April 2, 2004
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-Storytellers from across the country will spin their tales at the 12th annual Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, a day-long event on Saturday, April 24, in the Keefe Campus Center Frontroom at Amherst College. Performances are scheduled for 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

This year's nationally known storytellers are Onawumi Jean Moss, Derek Burrows, Motoko, David Novak and Victoria Burnett.

Onawumi Jean Moss, founder and director of the Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, is associate dean of students at Amherst College. With original stories, fairy tales, cautionary tales, folk tales and personal narratives she encourages appreciation of cultural differences, pride of heritage, recognition of kinship, reflection and inquiry. Her soulful narration, a capella singing, dramatic facial expressions and animated movements bring to life the worlds of adventurous girls and women, charming creatures, scheming tricksters and wicked demons.

Derek Burrows, of Nassau, Bahamas, a member of Voice of the Turtle, a group specializing in music of the Sephardic Jews, uses stories to look at diversity, healing and cross-cultural understanding. Motoko, of Osaka, Japan, tells Asian folktales and original stories combined with mime movement and traditional songs. David Novak of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is an eclectic storyteller whose repertoire reflects his work as a mime and clown and his experiences in theater and literature. Victoria Burnett of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., is a multitalented storyteller who believes every story should have some music in it.

There will be three ensemble performances at the festival: "Stories for Little Folk and the People Who Love Them" from 10 to 11:30 a.m., "Stories for Young Folk and the People Who Love Them" from 2 to 4 p.m., and "Stories for Older Folk and the People Who Love Them" from 8 to 10 p.m.

Tickets for the 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. performances for adults are $8 ($6 for seniors, $5 for children) and $14 for the 8 p.m. performance ($12 for seniors, $8 for children). A special rate of $12 for adults ($10 for seniors, $8 for children) is available to those who wish to attend both the morning and afternoon performances. Tickets for each performance are $5 for Amherst College staff and free to students with I.D. Advance tickets are available for each performance at the Keefe Campus Center Office. For information call 413/542-8422 or visit the Website at www.amherst.edu/storytelling.

Keepers of the Word is sponsored by the Association of Amherst Students, Office of the Dean of Students, academic departments and supporters throughout Amherst College.