The KO Festival of Performing Arts held their 22nd annual Story Slam and party on July 28th at Amherst College. The event was fully packed and every ticked was sold. There were refreshments, beer and wine, and many friendly faces. The host, Sabrina Hamilton started out the event by saying “If you don’t know the people you are sitting next to, why not introduce yourself!” The event was friendly and supportive. Sitting in the audience was a treat, even if the story tellers were complete strangers. There were many eye-openening stories and I could not help but admire the performers that got up to tell their story to a full house.
Every speaker told a true story about themselves that related to the overarching theme of the festival; courage. Each story had to be told within 5 minuets and could not go over. The audience voted on who the winner of the night was after all stories were told, but most just loved to hear what each other had to say.
Sabrina Hamilton introduces the Story Slam and explains a bit about what the KO Festival entails.
The first speaker, Dagen Joulty tells his story of heroism and courage as he delivers his child while keeping his wife safe, all without doctors or medicine of any kind:
The second speaker, Edith Pross explains the time where she realized that she really wasn’t a coward, and now she does this same activity every year. It took courage to overcome her fears, but she pushed herself:
Steve Bernstein had a more frightening story that occurred when he was a child. He had to face a group of terrifying bullies, but one of his more unlikely best friends was there to help him:
Linda Tumberello’s story was a bit different than the stories before. She took a more philosophical and analytical stance on her life in relation to the theme of courage, while still telling the story of her life:
Whit told the story of a mix-up that could happen to any of us. But his was at an interesting time in American history. His story took more of a comedic stance however:
Bush told a story that happened earlier that day, showing that he was indeed a good story teller, because his anecdote was clearly not rehearsed as much. It is something that many students in the area can relate to, cliff jumping at Puffer’s Pond:
Lauren Sito was our next speaker, she told the story of her as a child, going through everyday struggles, but with a very peculiar twist:
Henasusha’s story was unlike any other that was told. A variety of props were used, and her movement was essential to the story, but her words and sounds still tell it all:
Deb Bicks told a story about how one day, she realized that her life needed to be different. And her strong will and courage was what got her through so that she could end up living a happier life:
Carl Tomson gave the audience a look into the lives of army helicopter pilots, which is something that we only really see in the movies. But he explains that the courage that they show is very real, and not just for show:
Andrew Shelffo told the story of an even that every single person goes through, but his was more comedic and nail-biting that most:
Sarah Goshman told her touching story of a little girl going through troubles that many adults have to deal with, but as a child, things can be a lot different. But it is really about courage and learning to love yourself:
Kevin McVeigh’s story was one of the more shocking. A regular day tuned into something much more. He turned into a hero, but he claims that it was not him who showed the most courage that fateful day:
Johanna Walker not originally signed up for the story slam, but instead, more than 15 audience members “auditioned” for the last spot of the night. First lines of stories were spoken, and the audience voted as to who’s story they want to hear in full. Johanna’s comical, yet delicate story won her the top spot at the KO Fest Story Slam:
Joan told the last story of the night. It takes place early on in her life, and it takes a very different turn from where the beginning of the story might make you think. Catholic school nuns and a Sugar Daddy in class; what could go wrong?