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Champaign-Urbana Group Revives Art of Storytelling

Daily Illini (University of Illinois, Champaign, IL) , April 7, 2009


The Champaign-Urbana Storytelling Guild takes storytelling from children's bedtime fodder to an elaborate art form.

The Guild, which was founded in 2001, sponsors local storytelling concerts and events and participates in workshops and benefits.

"The whole point of it is to support new tellers as well as bring other storytellers to town for people to enjoy," said Kathe Brinkmann, founding member, storyteller and one of the organizers for the group.

The members of the group differ in both age and experience from a 13-year-old girl just starting out to Dan Keding, one of the main founders of the group who has been telling stories full-time for almost 37 years. He has also been teaching a storytelling class at the University.

But storytelling isn't just a hobby or a profession these days.

It can also be used to be benefit others.

Dan Keding, one of the main founders of the group who has been telling stories full-time for almost 37 years, said the Guild puts on a benefit concert each year in order to raise money for groups such as Habitat for Humanity and the Rape Crisis Center.

"You can really take it and use it," Keding said. "For example, it's very good in health care. It's used in hospices now to work with people who are dying and dealing with death through traditional stories that deal with death.

"It's very calming for these people. It's very freeing to realize that for hundreds and hundreds of years, people have been dealing with it.

"So storytelling can really make a big difference in someone's life."

It all just goes to show, maybe a story is more than simply a story.

Subjects Covered: education, healing

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