Lift Every Voice and Sing: Ubuntu Storytellers host first concert in Milford

A kiosk advertises upcoming events outside the Milford Arts Council's headquarters at 40 Railroad Avenue in Milford Conn. on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

A kiosk advertises upcoming events outside the Milford Arts Council's headquarters at 40 Railroad Avenue in Milford Conn. on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD - Ubuntu Storytellers, an ensemble of professional black, brown and biracial story artists, will host its first annual spring concert and reception on May 19 at the Milford Arts Council (MAC).

The performance, scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m., is inspired by “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem. The event is free to registered guests.

Denise Keyes Page, the founder of Ubuntu Storytellers, said it is an honor to launch the group’s first annual spring concert at the MAC. Her mother, Dorothy Manning Keyes, was a member of the MAC when fundraising efforts to purchase the facility they now own were initiated.

For Page, everything has come full circle for the Milford native.

Ubuntu Storytellers is comprised of two teams. An artist collective of black and brown storytellers, as well as a multiracial, diverse team of IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Anti- Racism) trained co-creators who facilitate workshops with organizations that wish to be more inclusive and more responsive to equity and diversity.

The concert on May 19 will feature the Artists Collective. Through storytelling they aspire to encourage empathic listening and honest dialogue and be moved to deeper understanding and heightened self-awareness.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” will feature personal narrative stories inspired by the lyrics of James Weldon Johnson’s inspirational anthem. They will share personal stories of both “being” and “being in the skin we’re in”. You will hear true stories of victimhood, sainthood and many of the shared lived spaces in between. The spaces too often not told. The spaces of shared humanity.

Ubuntu Storytellers has been showcased at the National Storytelling Conference as well as sponsored by the Connecticut Storytelling Center, Indaba, the Community Healthcare Network, numerous libraries throughout the state, and more. Learn more at www.ubuntustorytellers.com.

Due to the support of the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven in partnership with the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s, REACH Grant; the Connecticut Humanities Council, and the Milford Arts Council Page said this event is free of charge.

“My goal is to give everyone a chance who has heard about this storytelling renaissance but is not sure they will like it or just don’t know what it is a chance to check it out at no cost,” Page said. “I’ll tell you this, ‘It ain’t your grandma’s storytelling show; though you might recognize her in the stories.’”

All guests must pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lift-every-voice-and-sing-registration-313922690217.

Seating for live show is limited. Sponsorship packages include 2 tickets to the live show, your company logo on both the video and printed program, your brochures and business cards on display at site.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com