Storytelling at its best

BALDWIN — Sometimes children learn moral lessons best with a little humor, music and a good story.

On Tuesday, July 8, at Baldwin Elementary School that’s exactly what took place for nearly 20 children and their families.

“Musical Folktales” presented by The Storytellers, Robert and Audrey Allison, of Gross Pointe, entertained their young audience with stories of small animals overcoming the odds to learn the important lesson of following their parents’ advice.

Great Start Collaborative in Lake County sponsored Tuesday’s event with a grant from the Lake County Community Foundation, said Faith Thomas-Jones, Great Start parent liaison.

“I’ve had the Allisons here for many years,” Thomas-Jones said. “They offer a beautiful presentation and allow the children to interact with them. Everyone dances and joins in with the stories. The entire event is a lot of fun.”

The Allisons’ unique program combines interactive storytelling, music and audience participation.

“Our program is very hands-on for the children,” Robert said. “We like to get the children involved with the show and give them the opportunity to participate in the storytelling.”

The Allisons’ use upbeat music and feature musical instruments from the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, Australia and many other countries.

“We invite the children up to play the various instruments,” Audrey said.

One of the instruments children got to learn about and play was the Dondo — an hourglass-shaped drum from West Africa, whose pitch can be manipulated to mimic the tone of human speech.

“It is a fun method of introducing children to different world cultures,” Robert said. “It is a memorable experience for them.”

As Robert played background music Audrey would tell her story, using multiple voices to enliven each character.

“We want to leave the children with a good moral ending, but also provide fun entertainment,” Audrey said. “Using humor and animated behavior to tell the story captivates the children in the moment and they will remember the point of the tale.”

The Allisons have traveled around the Great Lakes region for more than 30 years performing this family programming.

“It is good family fun,” Robert said. “It is ideal, clean moral fun for children and families.”