WTAMU Storytelling Festival to Feature Native American Teller Eldrena Douma

“Symphony of Story—Many Notes One Song,” the 2017 WTAMU Storytelling Festival, will feature storyteller Eldrena Douma on May 5.

The daylong event includes two morning storytelling concerts for area school children, an afternoon workshop and an evening concert.  All concerts take place in the Branding Iron Theatre of the WTAMU campus.

Communication graduate student Lian Kim looks forward to this year’s festival.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for students and community members to experience diversity through stories from different cultures,” Kim said. “Storytelling works as a tool to communicate between different generations.”

Storytelling and pueblo singing were a way of life in Eldrena Douma’s upbringing. During everyday activities, family and friends shared pueblo stories, songs and family history, including the humorous and serious personal stories that life brought. Reflecting back, Eldrena Douma realized that listening to stories allowed her to strengthen and stimulate the use of her imagination and creativity.

Stories helped Douma to develop her use of vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure while also learning core values at an early age. The traditional songs gave her an appreciation of all music and songwriting along with the crafting of traditional instruments. As a professional storyteller and educator, Eldrena Douma offers stories of American Indian folklore, a variety of recorded music, and history titled “The People, Their Stories and Songs.”

Douma will perform two children’s concerts for area school children at 10:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., and at 2:00 p.m., Douma will conduct a storytelling workshop that focuses on imagination and storytelling in Fine Arts Complex Room 176.   The festival culminates with an evening performance at 7 p.m., featuring Douma and six communication graduate students.

Dr. Trudy Hanson, who directs the annual storytelling festival, has known Douma for many years.

“Drena’s personal narratives are so powerful,” Hanson said. “One of my favorite stories is ‘Blue Corn’ that she tells about a birthday celebration and the love of her grandmother. Another of my favorites is a Christmas story that she shares about how her grandmother became Santa’s helper one year. We are so fortunate to feature such a gifted teller for the 2017 festival.”

Communication graduate student Rileigh Brown eagerly anticipates hearing Eldrena Douma perform.

“I would like to expand my storytelling skills, and there are a few techniques I will be looking for when Eldrena tells her stories,” Brown said. “I would like to see how she frames her story and captures her audience’s attention.”

Graduate students enrolled in the Art of Storytelling seminar course produce the festival and also perform during the evening concert. Seminar students include Lian Kim (Seoul, South Korea), Minjeong Chun (Daegu, South Korea), Rileigh Brown (La Junta, Colo.), Kris Mefford (Amarillo, Texas), Akhand Singh ( Roorkee, Uttarkhand, India), and Mayara Nascimento (Umuarama, Paraná, Brazil).

This festival is sponsored by the WTAMU Guest Artist Series, the department of communication and the WT Panhandle Storytelling Guild.  All events are free and open to the public. Those interested in attending may Dr. Trudy Hanson for reservations at 806-651-2800 or by emailing [email protected].