By Tina Tomiyama
On a brilliant Saturday afternoon in March, amidst flowers and trees, birdsong and cheerful chatter, 20 exhilarated guests assembled in a spacious back patio in View Park, CA. They were the lucky ones who’d gotten seats for a rare storytelling concert by their friend and teacher, Barbara H. Clark.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Barbara performed “They Lived Their Best Lives,” a quartet of stories about memorable women who had crossed her path and enriched her life.
The loving portraits she rendered in Rebecca’s Wisdom, Her Name Was Peggy, Lucy Wrote Letters, and Independent Lovie fired us with zeal to memorialize our own relatives and friends in similarly enchanting stories.
Barbara H. Clark
Throughout the pandemic, Barbara has held firm to her belief that storytelling requires a live audience, physically present. This indomitable 88-year-old teacher has held classes on her back patio every Thursday afternoon for two years, providing lap blankets in winter, fans in summer—always listening, gently critiquing, and providing brilliant examples of storytelling at its best.
Barbara and her daughter Dawn plan to reopen the Institute of Musical Arts for its signature storytelling-concert-and-reception events this year, as soon as conditions permit. Stay tuned for announcements!