Annual artist program focused on storytelling

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Three storytellers will come to Tupelo in mid-February to perform and explain their craft to students, teachers and community members.
This year’s annual Link Centre Artist Residency program will feature Kim Harris, Reggie Harris and Laura Simms. All three will be in town Feb. 12-16 for various engagements.
“We are always trying to do different things with the program, but in a way, we always come back to stories,” said Shawn Brevard, who organized the schedule. “Everyone has a story to tell. We learn about that by listening to other stories. I hope this can unlock personal stories.”
Simms is an award-winning performer and writer and advocates for storytelling as compassionate action for personal and community transformation.
She will direct personal narrative workshops with small groups of students at Tupelo High School and the Tupelo High School Advancement Academy between Feb. 12-15. The high school workshop will be with Danielle Frerer’s keyboarding students.
Simms will then hold a public program at the Lee County Library at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. “Mud Sisters & Other Stories about Friendship” will tell of her experiences in storytelling.
Kim and Reggie Harris are musicians and storytellers, who earned acclaim for performances on the Underground Railroad and the modern civil rights movement.
The pair will be the featured performers at Tupelo High School’s annual Black History Program on Feb. 14. Their 25- to 30-minute presentation will touch upon important African-Americans who may not be well known.
Later that afternoon, they will hold a workshop for music educators at the Hancock Leadership Center. The next day, they will perform “Music and the Underground Railroad” for students at Tupelo Middle School.
The Harrises will lead an interactive workshop at the Boys and Girls Club’s Northside location on Feb. 16 and will hold a public performance that night at 7 as part of the Monthly Music Mix Concert Series. That performance will be held at the Link Centre Concert Hall.
All three have been featured in the renowned National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com