Mr. Stephens

Mr. StephensThe festival welcomes back “Mr. Stephens,” who has been entertaining the twelve-and-under set around C-U for years with his blend of serious and silly, fun and folksy guitar and vocals.  Big on audience participation, he doesn’t so much play for kids as with them!  Catch his CD out on Choo Choo Train Records with Ms. Harmon’s kindergarten class.  His alter ego, Tim Stephens, is well known as the front man for Lonely Trailer, one of our great homegrown bands.

Generously sponsored by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

Saturday, November 2nd, 10:00am-10:30am
Landmark Hotel Ballroom

Dan Keding

Dan Keding telling a storyDan Keding grew up with his Croatian grandmother filling him with the stories of the old country. He has pursued this passion for over forty years, telling at some of the most prestigious venues in storytelling. He has won numerous awards, including the ALA Notable Recording for Children, nine Storytelling World Awards and two Anne Izard Storytelling Choice Awards. Dan has been an adjunct at the University of Illinois in the Graduate School of Information and Library Science. He has over a dozen recordings and five published books and travels worldwide telling stories. He lives in Urbana, Illinois with his wife Tandy Lacy and their Australian Shepherd Mac.

Saturday, November 2nd, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Urbana Free Library, Lewis Auditorium

Make & Take Instruments, with the Viper

Washtub bass

Photo by Timothy Valentine

Join The Viper and His Famous Orchestra for an interactive build-a-band workshop. The ultimate “green” musical experience, you’ll learn how to make fully-functioning instruments out of recycled & repurposed household materials (boxes, jugs, superballs, etc.). Practice playing along with others as we learn a song to lead the Festival’s “Musical Mayem Parade” around the block. One lucky kid will go home with a freshly put-together bucket bass.


Generously sponsored by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

Saturday, November 2nd, 2:30-3:30
Common Ground Food Co-op

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra Kids’ Show

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra Kids' ShowThe Viper brings his ukulele and his Famous Orchestra for an interactive show of kid-tested, grown-up-approved music and mayhem. Learn how to play The Viper way on washtubs, suitcases, and other repurposed household materials, and sing along with the Orchestra’s unique blend of street-corner jazz, meeting-hall folk, and front-porch country.

Generously sponsored by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

Saturday, November 2nd, 4:00pm-4:45pm
Landmark Hotel Ballroom

Washboard Workshop with Dave Madden

Participants of this workshop will be introduced to basic washboard techniques needed in playing with other musicians. Various styles will be discussed and demonstrated. Participants are encouraged to bring their own washboards and thimbles. A few washboards will be available to borrow. Ages 8 to adult.

Dave Madden’s playing on the pots and pans as a child turned into studying percussion at the U of I and playing washboard and drums for the Prairie Dogs and the New Orleans Jazz Machine.  He was a band director for the Urbana and Champaign school districts.  He currently teaches music and writes student percussion pieces for the Rantoul City Schools.

Saturday, November 2nd, 12:15pm-1:15pm

Oba William King

Oba William KingOba William King is recognized as one of the most exciting storytellers of his peer group. Since his debut with the National Association of Black Storytellers at the San Diego conference in 2006, Oba has ignited audiences with his ability to capture their attention and gently release them into the playful realm of rhythm and rhyme. He masterfully combines professional theatrical training with a distinct poetic style. Oba is an entertaining educator sharing the traditional art form, as if it were a sacred gift.

Known as The Poetic Storyteller, Oba’s most significant influence in the art of storytelling came as a result of his sojourn to Benin, West Africa (in the villages of Apolydaho, Sedgae’ and Dakota), resulting in solo performances to share and celebrate his original Anthem “I Love My People.”

Generously sponsored by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

Saturday, November 2nd, 10:45am-11:30am (family show)
Landmark Hotel Ballroom

Saturday, November 2nd, 3:45pm-4:45pm (storytelling for older audiences)
Urbana Free Library
Lewis Auditorium

Homebrew Ukulele Union Singalong

Homebrew Ukulele Club

Photo Credit: Kelly White

Bring your ukulele or borrow one for an all ages sing-along with the Homebrew Ukulele Union (HUU). The HUU is a sing-along group that comes together at the University of Illinois in the course Designing Musical Experiences. As a part of the course, students build ukuleles, write songs, perform, and collaborate with local public schools. Joining them will be students from Robeson Elementary School who work with music specialist Sarah Filkins.

Saturday, November 2nd, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Independent Media Center

Local Teller Showcase, with Kathe Brinkmann, Kim Sheahan, Camille Born, and Sue Searing

The Local Teller Showcase features some of Champaign-Urbana’s favorite tellers: Kathe Brinkmann, Kim Sheahan, Camille Born, and Sue Searing. All are members of the C-U Storytelling Guild and enjoy telling to audiences of all ages. Come join the fun!

Kathe BrinkmannKathe Brinkmann is a wonderful storyteller with a breadth of tales that range from the moving to the comical. She is always tuned into her listeners and seems to know which story is right for her audience. Whether she is telling a short, funny story that leaves an audience gasping for breath with its humor or a traditional story that is touching and thoughtful or a personal story that points out the human side of life, it is always entertaining and a joy to listen to her.

Kim SheahanKim Sheahan incorporates oral traditions into her multicultural programs at the University of Illinois’ Spurlock Museum. She also does freelance storytelling and has performed at storytelling festivals, school assemblies, city-wide celebrations, personal parties, and gatherings of all kinds ever since. Her enthusiasm is both unmistakable and contagious.

Camille BornCamille Born of Mahomet, IL became a professional storyteller when she realized that her skills of telling personal anecdotes, sharing historical tidbits and giving her younger brother a life-long fear of closets could all be put together in a career. At age 50, she was delighted to find out “what she wanted to be when she grew up.” Besides telling folk tales, she writes original historical stories for performance.

Sue SearingSue Searing’s passion for discovering, learning, and telling stories was awakened in mid-life, and now she’s joyfully making up for lost time. She delights in sharing stories from around the world – well-loved fairy tales, eerie ghost stories, and stories that make you think. Originally from Lockport, New York, a town on the Erie Canal, Sue has lived in Champaign since 1997 and works as a librarian at the University of Illinois.

Saturday, November 2nd, 11:30am-1:00pm
Urbana Free Library, Lewis Auditorium