CHARLOTTE BLAKE ALSTON is a storyteller, narrator, instrumentalist and singer who performs in venues throughout North America and abroad. She breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from African and African American oral and cultural traditions. Her solo performances are often enhanced with traditional instruments such as djembe, mbira, shekere or the 21-stringed kora. Her repertoire is wide and programs are adapted to any grade level or age group.
Charlotte is frequently invited to perform with symphony orchestras as guest host, narrator, or storyteller. Her special participation with The Philadelphia Orchestra has been continuous since 1991 as guest host and narrator of family concerts and as host of "Sound All Around", the orchestra's pre-school concert series. She has also served in both capacities at Carnegie Hall since 1995. She has been a featured teller at The National Storytelling Festival, The National Festival of Black Storytelling, and at regional festivals throughout North America, and was a featured artist at the the Presidential Inaugural Festivites in Washington DC and the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Children's Inaugural Celebrations in Harrisburg, PA.
The Children’s March has been commissioned by the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Children's March in Birmingham, Alabama, the catalyst for the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also marks Philadelphia’s Singing City’s Choirs 65th anniversary. This commission will honor Singing City’s own history as one of the first integrated choirs in the country. The newly commissioned work is by Philadelphia composer Andrew Bleckner, with libretto by acclaimed Philadelphia storyteller and narrator CHARLOTTE BLAKE ALSTON, and conducted by Jeffrey Brillhart. The work will feature Singing City and the Singing City Children's Choir to tell the story of a moment in 1963 that changed the course of civil rights in America. The commission is a multi-media concert work for adult and children's chorus, soloists, and a small ensemble to portray major characters that were part of the movement.
Performance date is April 26th, 2013 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia. For more information on the Phladelphia Internation Festival of the Arts and this performance. You can also hear some of Charlotte's stories by downloading the Storytelling application for the iPhone