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Rochester Storytellers Night will feature tales of the Games We Play

Oct 24, 2023

The next Rochester Storytellers Night hosted by the Democrat and Chronicle features compelling accounts of how so many of us pursue growth through competition and activity of all sorts, whether it be on a playing field or a game board.

The Wednesday, June 21, show starts at 7 p.m. at Comedy@The Carlson, 50 Carlson Road. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now at The cost is $12; a limited number of discounted tickets are available for $8.

Food and drink will be available for sale. The venue and bathrooms are wheelchair accessible. Free parking is available in a lot across the street.

Jerremy Lorch's coffee table was stacked with books to prepare for a planned hike on the Appalachian trail. He played softball and rode a motorcycle. That's until he broke his neck in a diving accident in 2009.

As Lorch moved forward with his life after his injury, he looked for ways to participate in sports, but he didn't take to wheelchair basketball and a wheelchair 5K was "torturous." A movie called Murderball would intrigue him to try something new and satisfyingly competitive.

Lorch, 45, lives in Pittsford, and is a founder of the WNY Wreckers wheelchair rugby team.

Clark King started playing board games like Candyland and Uncle Wiggily as a young child in the 1940s. While some people grow out of board games, King never did.

King will talk about how a trip inspired by an article in Yankee Magazine set off a course of events that would change his life and help ensure a harmonious marriage.

King, 81, is a lifelong resident of Fairport and served as the village's mayor for 18 years. He worked at Kodak for 26 years and for the United Way for 21. He serves on the advisory committee at the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play.

Webster Schroeder student and track athlete Camryn Cole's dad played a pivotal role in her journey as an athlete. Cole, a state record holder in both the indoor and outdoor high jump, says her father consistently showed "unwavering support and belief in me. In every competition, he stood by my side, acting as my biggest supporter and never letting me lose sight of my potential, even during times when I struggled to find my rhythm."

Cole will relate the story of her own athletic journey, from one sport into another, and about how her father served as "a constant source of motivation."

Patti Singer, a longtime 19th Ward resident and local news reporter, has a special relationship with Wiffle Ball, a less destructive backyard counterpart to baseball that uses a plastic ball with holes and a skinny plastic bat.

Singer, who has worked at the Democrat and Chronicle and the Minority Reporter, earned her bachelor's degree in journalism at Northeastern University and later obtained a master's degree education (health science) at SUNY Brockport. She came to the D&C to cover the Red Wings, and finished her career at that paper by writing patient-centered medical stories.

She’ll tell the story of how Wiffle Ball has been an ever-present joy in her life, even in the most-difficult moments.

Marquel Slaughter, a reporter for 14 years, is more active and health conscious than he was during his high school playing days. Slaughter battled with his weight all of his life, especially in recent years, and reached an epiphany as he approached 300 pounds.

Since then, Slaughter traded in his basketball sneakers and football cleats for running shoes and sandals for the sauna, working out five days a week and eating nutritional foods, ultimately dropping 100 pounds as he navigates his second chance at an active lifestyle.

Tess McFarland-Porter never considered herself a bicyclist. She'll tell the story of how the support and guidance of three strong women in her life gave her the confidence to take on "The Big Game" of cycling adventures.

Previously a public high school social studies teacher, McFarland-Porter, 56, is now a community activist and yoga instructor, and appreciates opportunities to encourage folks of all shapes to find their balance and keep going.

From her home in Brighton, she pedals 5,000 miles a year — downhill fast, uphill very slow, she says — to get where she needs to go and to enjoy the company of others who like to ride bikes. With her husband, Kevin, she shares three grown children and many bicycling adventures.

The Rochester Storytellers Project, which launched in 2017, is a series of live events that feature entertaining, compelling, true stories told by people who live and work in the Rochester area.

Live storytelling events have become popular over the past decade or so. What sets Rochester Storytellers Project shows apart is that journalists curate the shows and coach the storytellers.

The Rochester storytelling series was originally an extension of The Storytellers Project, which launched at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix in 2011. It is now run locally by the newsroom of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The Democrat and Chronicle is looking for storytellers from all backgrounds who are willing to share their true, first-person stories at upcoming shows. Tellers will work with journalists to shape a 7- to 10-minute story around the theme of the night. Tellers receive between three and five hours of training in all.

The next show will be:

Holidays, Nov. 15: Our 2022 holiday event was such a compelling evening that we are reprising the theme for 2023. Stories can intersect with any religious or secular holiday: Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, April Fool's Day, Passover, Ramadan, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and so on. It also could pertain to Independence Day or New Year's celebrations from any culture.

To pitch your story, email [email protected]. Include your name, age, place of residence and a few sentences describing the story you want to tell. The Rochester Storytellers Project team will curate the evening to make sure the tellers are diverse and that there's a mix of stories that will result in an entertaining evening.

Jerremy Lorch Clark King Camryn Cole Patti Singer Marquel Slaughter Tess McFarland-Porter Holidays, Nov. 15: