Kemp Harris has been involved in the lives of children as a teacher and a storyteller for many years. He taught Kindergarten in Newton, MA for 38 years before semi-retiring.
Kemp's teaching skills as well has his background in music and theater are ever present in his performances. In addition to traditional concerts, he has performed at storytelling festivals, libraries and schools. Kemp adamantly believes that the incorporation of movement and expression is essential to the oral tradition of “telling," and it is solely responsible for keeping the art form exciting and relevant. Audience participation and interaction are hallmarks of his performances.
Kemp’s repertoire includes African folk tales, original stories and familiar stories in literature. He has presented to pre-school to family concerts and every age in between. Shows are tailored to each audience and age group. Kemp published his first children’s book/song “Snow”, and continues to create new stories for his listening audience.
Kemp tries to dispel the notion that storytelling is for professionals only. He engages teachers in participatory activities to bolster confidence in “performing” before a live and very captive audience. Music, theater techniques, hands-on craft ideas, and improvisation are just a few of Kemp's tools for bringing educational stories to life.
In his workshops, Kemp explains the ways in which storytelling can align with modern literary curriculums, and he encourages teachers to make storytelling a fundamental part of their daily routine. It is Kemp's mission to keep the oral tradition alive.
Since the late 1990s, the Newton Lifetime Learning Distinguished Lecture Series has featured exceptional pundits of state, national, and global issues. Over the years it has consistently sought to bring expert insights to an audience of elders from Newton, Massachusetts and surrounding communities.
In addition to Kemp Harris, past speakers include Governor Dukakis, Barney Frank, Boston Globe Editor Brian McGrory, Sylvia Nasar (author, A Beautiful Mind), and Yannis Miaoulis, President of the Museum of Science.
Past Storytelling venues
Stapleton School - Framingham, MA
Miriam McCarthy School - Framingham, MA
Peabody School - Cambridge, MA
Hartwell/Smith Schools - Lincoln, MA
Deerfield School - Westwood, MA
Fisher School - Walpole, MA
Great Expectations - Arlington, MA
Lincoln-Elliot School - Newton, MA
St. Anne's Home - Methuen, MA
Beacon Hill Nursery - Boston, MA
Mason-Rice School - Newton, MA
Smith School - Reading, MA
Barrows School - Reading, MA
Ward School - Newton, MA
Lesley Ellis School - Arlington, MA
Friends School - Arlington, MA
Pierce School - Arlington, MA
Bowen School - Newton, MA
Memorial-Spaulding School - Newton, MA
Bishop School - Arlington, MA
Cabot School - Newton, MA
Horace-Mann School - Newton, MA
Massmouth WGBH Storytelling Series
Moses Brown Book Fair - Providence, RI
A Tapestry of Tales Storytelling Festival - Winchester, MA 1997/1998
Doggone Storytellers Festival - Chester CT 1997
Three Apples Storytelling Festival - Harvard, MA 1995/1996
Borders Books - Natick, MA/Cranston, RI
Lextended Day After care Program - Lexington, MA (resident storyteller)
Arlington Boys And urls Club - Arlington, MA
Star Island All Star 1 Conference - Portsmouth, NH
Images of a Culture - Palo Alto, CA
Newton Public Library - Newton, MA
Robbins Public Library - Arlington, MA
WMBR Radio interview/storytelling - Boston, MA
Camp Sewataro - Sudbury, MA
Camp Schodack - Nassau, NY
Past educational Workshops
BAEYC Conference/Emmanuel College – Boston, MA
Children’s Museum – Boston, MA
Images Of A Culture — Palo Alto, CA
Lesley College Summer Literacy Institute – Cambridge, MA
Newton K Teachers — Newton, MA
TEC (The Education Cooperative) — E. Walpole, MA
Unitarian Universalist Church — Reading, MA
Wang Center/Young At Arts – Boston, MA
Westwood Pre-K — Westwood, MA