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Artist Series Hosts Folk Group, Storyteller

(Posted March 11, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Storytelling through music and the spoken word will be the focus of a concert by the three-woman folk group Simple Gifts and storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston as part of the Juniata College Artist Series at 7 p.m., March 16 in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

General admission tickets for single performances are $15. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $8. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID. For tickets and information about the Juniata College Artist Series, please call (814) 641-3333.

Charlotte Blake Alston is a storyteller, singer and composer working in the traditions and style of "griots," the storytellers and historians of West Africa. Her performances are based on myths and legends, or African-American poetry and songs.

A former teacher, Alston adapts her performances for the age and interests of her audiences and invites active participation. Alston also is the host of the Philadelphia Orchestra preschool concert series. Alston's passion for storytelling began when her father encouraged her to read and recite the poems of African-American writer Paul Lawrence Dunbar. She was named 1997 Artist of the Year for Pennsylvania.

Simple Gifts is a three-woman folk music group specializing in a variety of ethnic folk music, including such styles as klezmer, Gaelic, gypsy and Balkan traditions. The band members are: Linda Littleton, Rachel Hall and Karen Hirshon. Between them, the three women play 12 instruments, including fiddle, concertina, mandolin, banjolin, recorders, hammered dulcimer, guitar and piano.
Linda Littleton also plays violin in the Nittany Valley Symphony. Karen Hirshon also helped found the group Rustical Quality String Band. Rachel Hall joined Simple Gifts in 1995 and was a member of the band Broadside Electric.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.