If you’ve come to one of our family-friendly concerts, you know we go all out to engage the kids. Or at least get them to leave their seats, come to the front, and let the parents of the really young ones have a good five to ten minutes sans squirmy child in lap. This concert we’re delighted to introduce a storyteller, Leigh Graf.
We did have the advantage in getting Ms. Graf to join us – her husband, Greg, is our accompanist. And they have two children under the age of five. That’s right, they’re in the thick of the “one more please/but I’m thirsty/I’m not sleepy yet…!” world of bedtime rituals. We asked Ms. Graf how much of this informs her storytelling.
VCS: What do you love about storytelling?
LG: I’ve always loved inviting an audience into the story. Children and adults alike enjoy getting “lost” in the adventures of a character, suspending one’s present reality in order to experience something new. Imagination is wonderful!
VCS: Is bedtime with your girls the same as with an audience? The voices, the expressions.
LG: I do speak with a variety of inflection and I do try to have different voices for my characters, but being I don’t rehearse, the voices are not always consistent. Thankfully, they don’t expect perfection.
VCS: What’s your favorite thing to read to kids?
LG: Honestly, I love reading their children’s Bible to them. It is not only great literature, but it is the greatest story yet told: God loves us. Besides that, I enjoy reading stories with suspense. Those in which you are dying to know what will happen next?
VCS: Your sanity saving measures when the kids want the *same* story read to them uh-gain.
LG: The girls certainly have their favorites but as I am checking out 30+ new books a week from the library, we find new favorites quite quickly. So, I don’t really get tired of any one story.
VCS: Once they’re actually asleep, you leave the room with the haste of ….?
LG: Cleaning the kitchen.
VCS: And you are back in their room sooner than______because someone needs a drink of water, has one more thing to say, saw a scary something.
LG: Five minutes.
VCS: The number of times you’ve sighed/sternly said “go back to bed.”
LG: I’ve had to go in up to five times in one night.
VCS: The number of times you’ve accidentally turned to the last page of the really repetitive book.
LG: Depending on the time of day, I will skip several pages at a time in lengthy Seuss books.
VCS: The number of times you’ve been busted for the aforementioned.
LG: More than I would expect from a 2.5 and 4 year old! They listen very well. They catch onto paraphrasing in an instant! They have many stories memorized and they will proceed to “read” ME story the RIGHT way.
Graf’s daughters will join her on concert night. “They’re going to sit there by themselves?!” Sort of. Liss Hindley’s kids will help babysit. But the Graf girls are apparently quite used to seeing both mom and dad on stage at the same time, and therefore sitting still at a cultural event. Most excellent.
Tickets are now on sale for Lullabies, 4:30 pm, Saturday, March 15, 2014 (at VBC, 541 Marshall Road SW, Vienna, VA 22180) – $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 60+ and students (15 – 18), youth (14 and below) attend for free accompanied by a ticketed attendee. Tickets can be purchase through a member of the choir, or online.