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Story Telling Group Debuts in Charlottesville

Hoot and Holler presents an evening of stories at The Front Porch

Lee Hunsaker wants to hear your story; that’s why she started Hoot and Holler

“Hoot and Holler is Roanoke’s only live storytelling event where we publish a theme and then invite anyone and everyone to submit story pitches on that theme.”

And, since the sessions began over two years ago, she has heard many stories.

“We are now at the point of selling out our venues and the community response has been incredible.”

Some folks have a lot to share.

“We do sort of have a core of regulars; they're sort of our core cast who seem to love to be involved as often as possible and that’s wonderful.  But we always encourage new people, of course.  I think once people do it one time, they get the bug and they want to keep coming back, so that’s been really exciting to watch.”

Now, Hunsaker is casting a wider net, looking for storytellers in Charlottesville, with a Hoot and Holler session tomorrow night at The Front Porch.

“I love the music and events that they do there.  It’s just a perfect intimate venue.  For me, it follows right in line with storytelling, the old-time music and their traditional music.  So, for me it felt like a perfect fit and they were so receptive.”

Emily Morrison, Front Porch executive director, agrees.

“Part of what we do at the Front Porch around bringing people together with music as sort of the hearth that we are gathering around is essentially a form of storytelling.  Really, music is one way that we tell stories.  So, all of it to me is of a piece and the heart of every single aspect of what we do has to do with becoming more connected as fellow human beings on this planet.  And, one key way that we do that is by listening to each other’s stories and telling our own.”

Lee Hunsaker says the theme this session is Soundtrack of My Life.

“These stories are going to all have to do with music and how music has affected these storytellers’ lives in various ways.  We have a drunken hotel room, backstage party with the Replacements story coming.  And, then we have a voice teacher who literally lost her voice and is still finding ways to reclaim her voice, even though she’s teaching others music and how to sing, she is still finding her way back to her own voice.”

There will be other stories, including that of Charlottesville singer/songwriter Emily Kresky. 

Emily Morrison says Kresky’s story resonates at the Front Porch.

“She has an amazing story.  One of the things that happens here at the Front Porch when you sit down with people who work here, and I think this is probably true in lots of different places; you really start to hear what brought them to music and how music changed their lives.  Many times the theme of that story is music saved me.”

Lee Hunsaker says bringing Hoot and Holler to Charlottesville is part of an ongoing mission to get to the stories.

“I spend my spare time dreaming of new ways to get the stories out there.  We could do this every single night of the year and not get all of the stories told that should be heard. So, I’m always looking for ways to push the boundaries and encourage everybody to speak up.”

Some of those stories will be heard Friday night at The Front Porch in Charlottesville with Hoot and Holler:  Soundtrack of My Life.

Details onSoundtrack of My Life

Song featured in the report;https://youtu.be/RncYGpejhDo"> Little One by Dropping Julia, featuring Emily Kresky

Luke Church
Luke Church hosts Roots Down on WVTF Music.