Geoff's Notes

Fri, 11 Apr 2003

So tne adventure has begun. I met Tobias Vanderhoop, Wampanoag dancer and storyteller from Martha's Vinyard, at Logan on Tuesday and we spent eleven hours in transit, arriving in Anchorage at 8:30 P. Next day at breakfast I met Tom Cummings with his wife Teresa and Nohea Torres from Hawaii. We then headed for the Alaska Native Heritage Center to meet Cindy Pennington, a Sugpiak native from Kodiak Island. We spent the day Wednesday putting together a 45 minute program stitching together stories related to whaling from Tobias, Tom(with Nohea as spirit/conscience from home) and Cindy, with me adding a musical Yankee perspective. As it turned out the music serves to introduce and close the show, as well as to provide a segue from Tobias' telling of Wampanoag traditions to Tom's playing the part of John Kanaka from Lahaina, Maui. I use "Talcahuano Girls" to open, mentioning Gay Head on M.V. to set up Tobias, "Rolling Down to Old Maui" for the segue to Hawaii, and a slightly modified version of "Rolling Home" to close after Cindy's story of traditional Sugpiak whaling. The conceit of the show is that we've all found ourselves together in the ice near Barrow. All in all, it seems to flow quite nicely. So far we've performed the piece for Montessori pre-schoolers, High School native Alaskans, and troubled teen-age native youth. This last was earlier today, and a very gratifying experience with the the audience being very polite and engaged, aking good questions and being very sociable over lunch after our presentaion. Tonight we return to the ANHC for a Formal Cultural Exchange, which is the first part of a festival that continues tommorw. We'll do our show three times by the end of tomorrow. That's enough for now, except to say that all the people I've met and worked with here have been wonderful, and it's enlightening to be a minority. More later!

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