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Livestreamed Storytelling Event Focuses On Music's Impact

On Friday, April 17, live storytelling lovers are invited to “Upbeat: Music Stories Told on the Record,” a Moth-inspired event via Zoom.

Mary Cohen and Harold Searcy, who are involved with a community choir at one of Iowa's prisons will each talk about how music has impacted their lives in positive ways.

Cohen, an associate professor of music education at the University of Iowa, is founder of the Oakdale Community Choir, a combined group of men incarcerated at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center and female and male community members.

Searcy is a formerly incarcerated member of the choir who now volunteers with the program. The audience will be welcome to engage with storytellers in a Q&A.

The event takes place at 7 p.m. via Zoom. A link will be shared with all registered guests the morning of April 17. Reservations can be made via freewill donation RSVP at upbeatstories.eventbrite.com

Iowa Public Radio and IowaWatch.org, a nonprofit journalism organization, have frequently teamed up to host live storytelling events in Iowa City. Each event is also a collaboration with a University of Iowa Event Management course led by Heather Spangler.

This semester’s class of almost 40 students has had the unusual opportunity to learn how to shift their event from its traditional live format to a virtual event after the COVID-19 pandemic made live events impossible.

“Although the pandemic has been incredibly challenging for the events industry as a whole, it's also been a huge learning opportunity as we discover how to stay connected and shift our vision from in person to online,” Spangler said. “We are looking forward to an event that, while different, still connects and inspires participants.”

Additional Upbeat storytellers will participate in IowaWatch’s Sunset on the Farm event Sept. 20.

The next IPR and IowaWatch live storytelling collaboration will be Nov. 13 at MERGE in downtown Iowa City. You are invited to follow IowaWatch on Facebook to stay in the know about future events.

All proceeds from this event will allow IowaWatchto continue its mission to produce high-quality investigative and explanatory journalism while training the next generation of journalists in Iowa.