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Torrey to tell stories live at Folklife Center

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Folklife Center will present “Forty Years and a Saw,” a free live storytelling performance by Bill Torrey, on Saturday, April 2, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Marquis Theater in downtown Middlebury. Preceding the event will be a “meet and greet” at the Vermont Folklife Center Vision & Voice Gallery from 5 to 5:45 p.m.
Torrey’s storytelling program has been organized in conjunction with the Vermont Folklife Center exhibition “Shedding Light on the Working Forest,” paintings by Kathleen Kolb and written narratives by Verandah Porche, of which Torrey is one of the featured loggers in paint and text.
The program will mix entertainment with insight as Torrey brings the audience on a narrative journey into the working forest.
Torrey, a sixth-generation Vermonter, has spent 40 years working and playing in the woods. He began logging at the age of 15. His life experiences run the spectrum of the logging trade from large-volume, high-impact logging, to light-on-the-land, ecologically sustainable timber harvesting.
Since retiring from the logging industry in the fall of 2013, Torrey has been writing short stories about the career experiences that led him from logging in the extreme industrial model, to logging for the forest.
Additionally, he began to perform oral storytelling from these written works and has since become a regular participant in, and winner of, local and regional NPR Moth Story Slams. His storytelling prowess has even earned him an invitation to perform on the floor of the Statehouse in the Farmers Concert Series.
Torrey explains that his intention is “to enlighten those who have never made a living by carving it out of the woods.” Echoing similar sentiments from exhibit collaborators Kolb and Porche, Torrey elaborates further that his “hope is that by sharing the dangers, challenges and blessings that occur by doing so, it will help the reader to better understand the difficulties and necessity of the profession.”
The performance is free and open to the public and includes a food and cash bar presented by the Marquis Theater.
The exhibition “Shedding Light on the Working Forest” will be on display at the folklife center until April 30.

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