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Stories For Adult Ears Only

Leave the kids at home this Monday, for the the 14th annual For “Adult Ears Only” storytelling concert at Stage 3 Theatre in Sonora.

B.Z. Smith, a storyteller who will help in hosting the evening’s event, was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

On Monday from 7 pm to 9 pm, the audience will hear internationally acclaimed storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston. Tickets, which include an elegant dessert, can be purchased in advance for $20 at Mountain Bookshop in the Sonora Junction, Charley’s Books in Jamestown and at the Stage 3 Theatre box office. Hosted by Delta Kappa Gamma/Iota Epsilon, and the Mother Lode Storytelling Guild host the evening to earn funds for each group’s family literacy projects. To help with fund raising efforts, there is a raffle of gift baskets, including some exclusive Sierra Foothill items, and a no-host wine bar.

“This year’s talent is exceptional!” says Smith. “Not only is she one of the most sought-after storytellers in North America, she also brings deep musical talent to her audiences.” Charlotte Blake Alston’s performances are often enhanced by her beautifully trained singing voice and with traditional African instruments, such as the mbira, shekere and the 21-stringed kora. She performs throughout the world, breathing life into traditional and contemporary stories from African and African-American rich oral and cultural legacies. The Philadelphia-based artist has received numerous honors, including the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a “Best of Philly” award, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Art of the Year Award. She holds two honorary PhDs, and earned the National Storytelling Network’s 2006 “Circle of Excellence” Oracle Award, that organization’s highest honor for performance storytellers.

During her 25-year career, Ms. Alston has produced several commissioned works for orchestras and opera companies, and has served as a librettist for the Philadelphia Orchestra and Commonwealth Youth Choirs. In addition, she has graced the stages of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian Institute, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and numerous storytelling and culture festivals worldwide. Ms. Alston has also narrated a number of projects, including the PBS documentary “Safe Harbor.” That project’s producers said of her work, “Her strong, steady voice is like a lantern in the darkness.”

According to Smith, the seating is very limited, but the intimate atmosphere of Stage 3 Theatre is a perfect place to experience Charlotte Blake Alston’s powerful voice and commanding presence.

Each year Tuolumne County’s “For Adult Ears Only Storytelling Concert” works in cooperation with the Mariposa Storytelling Festival, which takes place from March 11th to 13th. “The festival invites the finest national and international storytellers to our region, talent to our community each year,” storyteller Cynthia Restivo explains. “Then we work with Mariposa Arts Council to bring this prominent talent to Tuolumne County schools and for this very special night of stories for adults and older teens.”

Members of the sponsoring organizations offer this event as a part of their on-going commitments to community literacy and appreciation of spoken word performances. DKG/Iota Epsilon president Marilyn Thompson comments, “Our organization provides a gift of family reading with these funds. Since 1989 each new baby born in Tuolumne County has received his or her first book, delivered in a book-bag with an infant T-Shirt that says, ‘Read to Me,’ along with a guide book for parents on how to raise a reader. The Mother Lode Storytelling Guild is preparing for its second Sierra Story Winds Retreat, this year featuring acclaimed California storytellers MaryGay Ducey and Tim Ereneta. The retreat offers workshops, coaching, and will take place October 14th to 16th, 2016, in Murphys. In addition, the Guild works with local preschools, offers support and scholarships for beginning storytellers to attend northern California storytelling events, and to expand awareness about the art of storytelling in Sierra Nevada communities.

Stage 3 Theatre is located at 208 S. Green St., downtown Sonora. For more information on “For Adult Ears Only” please call (209)532-7697 or email <motherlodestorytellers@gmail.com.” To learn about the Mariposa Storytelling Festival, visit .

Although Tuesday’s stories may be somewhat colorful and a bit risque at times, Smith says the stories are not blatently profane or over-the-top. In fact, the stories will be fairly safe for those 13 years and over.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45am.