Story Pirates teams up with Utah Symphony for evening of tales set to music

Story Pirates teams up with Utah Symphony for evening of tales set to music

Arrrr! Here there be pirates.

Who tell stories.

Set to music.

A family-friendly concert extravaganza is coming to Ogden next week when the nationally recognized group Story Pirates performs with the Utah Symphony.

“Utah Symphony: Story Pirates” will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Browning Center’s Austad Auditorium at Weber State University. The event will feature actors from Story Pirates sharing children’s tales set to classical music played by the Utah Symphony.

The Family Series concert is presented by Onstage Ogden — formerly Ogden Symphony Ballet Association. According to a news release from the presenting organization: “Household cats take flight when they hear ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube,’ four ninja sisters battle a monster to the tune of ‘Night on Bald Mountain,’ kids in the audience decide what sort of character would sound like a tuba, and so much more. By combining timeless music with kids’ creativity, anything can happen in this wacky musical adventure.”

Greg Barnett, who is originally from Richfield and attended Southern Utah University in Cedar City, will be among the Story Pirates performing on Tuesday. In a recent telephone interview from his home in Los Angeles, Barnett said the troupe was the brainchild of a group of friends who originally attended Northwestern University together. These friends formed Story Pirates about 15 years, in New York City. They later started a second troupe in Los Angeles.

Barnett said that about six years ago he was looking around L.A. for theater opportunities when a friend told him about Story Pirates. He auditioned, and was accepted.

“It’s been a joyful journey ever since,” Barnett said.

In addition to touring schools and venues around the country, Story Pirates also currently produces the No. 1 kids podcast in the country, according Barnett. While it’s a part-time gig for most of its performers, there are between 120 and 150 Story Pirates in L.A. and closer to 250 in New York.

“What we do, is we take stories written by kids, and perform them as a sort of sketch comedy musical show,” Barnett explained.

Typically, Story Pirates is accompanied by a pianist on an electric keyboard. But for Tuesday’s show, for the first time ever, the group is teaming up with a symphony orchestra.

“The show with the symphony will be the first time we’ve done this,” Barnett said. “We’re very excited about it.”

Although Story Pirates performs concerts like the one coming on Tuesday, the group’s bread-and-butter are the in-school programs, according to Barnett. Pirates will go into a school and teach writing to the students, then return a month later and perform for the school those stories the students wrote.

Tuesdays show will marry children’s stories with classical music.

“It will consist of stories, written by kids, paired with famous classical pieces,” Barnett said.

The program will feature six stories written by children. Among the music on the program will be “Blue Danube,” Pachelbel’s Cannon, “Flight of the Bumblebee” and “The William Tell Overture.”

“We’ve got a story about a wizard whose wand could only go ‘Poof!,’ we’ve got a story about an owl who needs to get glasses, and we’ve got a story about a train that serves up chocolate cereal for kids,” Barnett said. “And we’ll have our signature piece — a creative story that we make up right there on the spot.”

The program will run about an hour.

“It’s fun for everyone,” Barnett promises. “It’s marketed toward families, but even if you don’t have kids, if you have some time that night it would be fun to come.”

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