The mood was solemn in the library at École Steffie Woima School Tuesday afternoon as students intently listened to every word said by story teller Jeff Stockton.
Stockton has been playing the harp and story telling for the last 20 years. He told a suspense filled but comical story while playing his celtic harp.
The students and teachers were all amused by how well he brought his story to life.
By plucking the different strings on the harp, Stockton helped his audience imagine what was happening in the story as he told it.
He told the story, The Boo Hag.
He started the story out with a boy named Bobbie who was looking for a wife. After trying hard to find one, he gave up. Then he was captivated by a women with dark hair and bright eyes. Avery beautiful women. Or rather Bobbie thought her to be a woman.
After Bobbie realizes that something isn’t quite right with his wife he finds her spinning yarn. Then after shedding her human skin, she disappears into the night.
Throughout the story, Stockton made the children laugh, hang in suspense and react in a variety of different ways.
He often asked the children if they had an image going through their minds of the story and most did.
It was hard not to get involved in the story when Stockton was so well spoken and played the harp so beautifully.
The harp gave the story a nice rhythm. Through the sounds he made on the harp, the students could tell if something good or bad would happen in the story.
“It helps to create a landscape,” he said. “It brings to life the different moods.”
He said story telling is an art form that gives enough information and listening to the harp will fill in the additional details needed to picture the story.
“It can increase the suspense and I think it really helps people sink into the story and be carried away by what they are imagining,” Stockton said.
He said the harp can help with education as well.
Stockton explained he feels the harp is one of those instruments where when you hear the whole range of sounds it can really hit you physically.
“You see teachers and kids really relax when it starts to be played,” Stockton said. “It is a pretty important part of learning and imagining. Just to have that physical connection and not to be distracted.”
Stockton said the harp doesn’t just get rid of all the distractions people may have, however it can allow you to concentrate.
“It doesn’t just relax people I think it opens up that connection,” he said. “Our brains and what we think really influences how we are physically. To have it be a full body experience, you really feel a story rather than it be just words floating between your ears.”