“Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far away place, there was a …”

When you hear these words, do you, like all audiences, collectively drift back to another time and place of wonder?

Well, this summer you can be part of that magic, with the return of the Orcas StoryFest slated from July 23-27 at various venues in town. Once again, Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo of Eth-Noh-Tec have invited nationally renown storytellers to Orcas Island to share their stories:

• Bill Harley, Grammy award winning and very funny storyteller from Massachusettes;
• Erica Lann-Clark, Jewish American and very funny storyteller from California;
• A special presentation by Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor on the Filipino Indigenous peoples of Mindanao with Kulintang bronze gong ensemble music by Eth-Noh-Tec;
• Antoinette Botsford, Metis-French Canadian storyteller from Orcas;
• Guest artists Anji Rinzin, recitations of Rumi; Fred Klein, poetry readings; and Sharon Abreu and Michael Hurwicz leading us with songs.

This is Eth-Noh-Tec’s 7th storytelling festival gifted to the peoples of Orcas Island with sponsorship from the Friends of the Orcas Library and private donors. With the added generosity of farmers, restaurants, pilots, Shearwater kayaking, Island Market, museums, neighbors, and the cooking skills of friends, Eth-Noh-Tec is able to produce the festival every other year. Of course, the beauty of Orcas is a very strong incentive to perform for islanders.

Eth-Noh-Tec has been an Asian American kinetic story performance non-profit since 1981. They have performed around the world with their award winning storytelling in schools, libraries, festivals, conferences, museums, colleges, universities and theaters. In fact it was the Orcas Center that hired them to perform two years in a row in 1999 and 2000. Nancy and Robert fell in love with Orcas and in 2003 purchased their home in the Highlands. As part-timers here and the rest of the year in San Francisco, it’s a tough choice to say which is better. They say Orcas is an ‘ahhh’ and San Francisco is a ‘yum’ with its overabundance of restaurants and diverse communities from every country!

Nancy is again teaching storytelling at the Senior Center and students will also be performing in the festival:

“Hearing the stories of seniors is an amazing treat. Too often, seniors are seen as just ‘old’. But, to see their pictures from their younger days and hear the adventures they had, well, you can’t see them as just old anymore. Everyone should tell their stories, and everyone should hear these stories. There would be less discrimination in our world if we all just sat down together and shared our lives through story.”

There’s a lot to do to produce any festival, and Robert wants to invite any of you to come help us set up, cook, and clean any time before, during and after the festival.


The Orcas StoryFest schedule for 2017:

• Sunday July 23: ‘Forest Welcome Potluck & Performance’ ~ For volunteers, donors, neighbors and special guests 5pm at 491 Discovery Way forest in the Highlands;

• Monday July 24: ‘Mirth of Mindanao’, stories and music of Mindanao, Philippines 8pm at Oddfellows Hall 112 Haven Rd., Donation at door;

• Tuesday July 25: ‘Pajama Tales’, family stories 6:30 pm at Orcas Library 500 Rose St. Come in pajamas! Free;

• Wednesday July 26: ‘Wisdom & Wit’, 1:30 pm at Orcas Senior Center 62 Henry Rd., Free;

• Wednesday July 26: ‘In the Spirit of Sacred Stories’, 8 pm at Oddfellows Hall 112 Haven Rd., Donation at door;

• Thursday July 27: ‘World of Stories’, 8 pm at Emanuel Parish Hall 218 Main St., Donation at door.

If anyone wants to volunteer or contribute in any way, please call Robert at 360-376-8705 or write: Contact@ethnohtec.org.