West Siders enjoy narratives and live music at storytelling event

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West Side residents came together on Friday, May 31 to enjoy a night of live music and narrative storytelling.

The Chicago West Community Music Center and 2nd Story hosted the event, “Breaking Through: Stories of Transformation,” at Inspiration Kitchens, 3504 W. Lake St.

“We’ll tell some stories up here, and with the hope that in between those [stories], folks out here are talking, getting to know each other, telling stories, talking with the storytellers, and through all of that, we’re building a community,” said Bobby Biedrzycki, director of programming for 2nd Story.

The three featured storytellers shared narratives of despair, hope and entrepreneurship. Biedrzycki said the storytellers had never performed narrative storytelling in front of a live audience before last Friday’s event.

“2nd Story taught us how to take our stories and put them into performance mode,” said storyteller Shay Calhoun. “Each time we took the workshop, we had to tell a story, do a story, repeat a story and record a story.”

Darlene Sandifer, managing director for the Chicago West Community Music Center, said narrative storytelling is important because it brings back the history of storytelling in families.

“Now, every [participant] has an opportunity to go back in their life, think about a story that they’d like to tell, get that story created and in between we’re playing jazz music,” Sandifer said.

Audience members said they loved the virtuosity of the jazz band and the powerful narratives.

“Everybody likes to eat, everybody likes to hear good stories,” said attendee Senahyeboah-Sampong. “Even just to connect with the storytellers through their stories and learn about how they have taken their experiences elsewhere has been interesting.”

Part Two of “Breaking Through: Stories of Transformation” will be held at the same location this Friday, June 7th at 6:30 p.m. Admission is open to the public, and an optional buffet dinner will be provided for $5 per person.

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