There are tears of sadness. There are tears of joy.
Rarely do the two roll down your cheek at the same time.
“United by Song” celebrates community through storytelling and song”
When I read that description, I knew this was going to be a must-see event for me.
I do love storytelling, especially stories from our own community.
As I made my way to seat EE57, I had no idea what to expect. What happened on that stage last night in my opinion was truly magical.
Four very powerful stories shared by Eddie, Josh, Faye, and Julie – each one of them a personal account of unthinkably painful experiences. As each one took their turn in the storyteller chair, the audience fell completely silent, listening intently to every word. Apart from Julie (PEI’s Poet Laureate from 2019-2023), these were not professional storytellers, though you’d never know it. They spoke from the heart, and transported all in attendance to some dark, unsafe, and horrific times and places in their lives.
Tears were shed.
There were tears of sadness as I was transported to school hallways littered with bullying, to an unliveable home environment, to an escape from a monster, and to the side of a remote Manitoba highway where a “missing” indigenous girl lay dead in the ditch.
And then I noticed it. There was an unmistakable contrast between the painful stories being told and the safe, comfy chair from where the storytellers spoke so courageously on this night. The chair represented a safe happiness. It represented triumph.
As some of the most talented Island musicians played the final tune, I stood for the final ovation.
Tears of sadness were now outnumbered tears of joy.
To the United Way of Prince Edward Island – THANK YOU!
These were only four stories. Your incredible support directly impacts thousands of Islanders, giving them a future where happier stories are possible.