Andre the Storyteller Shares His Magical Story RecitationsJanuary 2012 - Andre Sutherland Begin has been sharing his gift for storytelling with the Elders at Travellers Lodge for over three years. Andre is know by his stage name The Man from Eldorado. His monthly stories gather quite a crowd on the last Thursday of each month in the main dining room. The Elders are treated to a magical trip down memory lane as he recites, acts and sings a variety of poems from Canadian poet Robert Service. These are poems that the Elders grew up with and many fondly remember learning his prose in school.
Andre loves performing for the Elders at the Lodge. "They are the best audience you could ever have." They are completely captivated and I watch their eyes light up as I start performing a poem or story they remember. Sometimes they will recite along with me. Andre was touched first-hand by dementia, as his father passed away of Alzheimer's disease. He knows the unique needs and how moments of joy in the day, like hearing a familiar poem, can make a huge difference in an Elder's day.
Watching Andre in action truly shows what an art storytelling really is. He has a variety of costumes his brings with him to set the mood, including a fur coat, a leather hat and a walking stick. He has been performing professionally for six years and got his start with Nanaimo group the Around Town Tellers.
Learning these poems and stories, which are thousands of words long is no easy feat. He now has over 24 in his repertoire and on average it takes a month to completely memorize a poem.
Some of his favourites poems to share with the Elders at the Lodge are "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee."
Andre is one of my many wonderful guests who share their talents with the Elders and enrich their lives.