Real People Media has received a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council to bring storytellers, Bill Jamerson and Pete Griffin to Calumet, Michigan for public performances.
Bill Jamerson, of Escanaba, will present stories and songs from the U.P. during the August 17th performance of The Red Jacket Jamboree, a new old-time radio variety show performed and recorded in front of a live audience at the historic Calumet Theatre. More information about the show is available at www.redjacketjamboree.org. On August 18th, Bill will present a free family concert as part of the Pasty Fest celebration. Families are invited to bring their chairs and blankets to the concert, which will be held on the south side of the Keweenaw National Historical Park visitor center, located on 5th street.
For over a decade, Jamerson has been sharing stories about America's past with his “History through Song” programs and school assemblies in a 12-state region across the Upper Midwest. He developed a love of history at an early age inspired by his grandfather's stories about life in the lumberjack camps and living through The Great Depression.
Jamerson attended the University of Michigan and was in the advertising business for 15 years when he decided to change direction in his career. In 1992 he wrote and produced his first major documentary for Michigan Public Television, Camp Forgotten - The Civilian Conservation Corps in Michigan, which aired on 58 PBS stations nationwide. He went on to produce ten other films on Michigan history including Grand Rapids furniture making, Mexican Farmworkers, General Motors, Herbert Dow the chemical pioneer and a history of winter sports in Michigan.
In 2002 Jamerson began presenting live programs about the Civilian Conservation Corps, lumberjack and iron mining history in schools, libraries and other venues. His programs included original songs played with his guitar. Most of the songs are based on stories collected from people with first-hand knowledge. Today, Jamerson presents his live programs across the Upper Midwest at a wide variety of venues.
Jamerson's presentation has been described as a cross between Woody Guthrie and Garrison Keillor. It's the oral tradition of sharing cultural and ethnic traditions with humor, storytelling, and song. The telling of these stories is more than preserving the past; they are a reminder of who we are, and how we got to where we are. And in this way, the stories are as important as they are entertaining. More information about Bill can be found at: www.billjamerson.com
Pete Griffin, known as the storyteller Ranger, will share some “spooky” Yooper tales during the October 4th performance of The Red Jacket Jamboree. Griffin will also lead a storytelling workshop on October 5th and 6th for local historians, KNHP park staff, and heritage site interpreters.
Pete, a native of Cedarville, started his career with the US Forest Service in 1973 as a wildlife biologist. When he was promoted to District Ranger on the Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska
in 1999, he started recording short natural history vignettes for radio. Titled, Tongass Trails,
the essays documented his exploration of the temperate rainforest and eventually incorporated
Pete's experiences growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The series, which ran for five years, received numerous public accolades. Pete later narrated Shades
of Green, a Forest Service production of video stories about life and land of the Tongass as
told by the people who live and work there. Following his retirement from the Forest Service, he has shared his stories aboard the Disney Wonder, a 2600-passenger cruise ship, along the Inside Passage of Southeast Alaska . He performs for hundreds of passengers at a time, featuring unique aspects of some common and not-so-common species of plants and wildlife of Southeast Alaska. For more information about Pete visit: www.thestorytellingranger.com.
Real People Media is a 501c3 nonprofit organization helping people share their stories through the literary, visual, performing and media arts. More information about Real People Media can be found at the website at www.realpeoplemedia.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.