Stories To Life

Stories to Life is a project created and managed by the library in partnership with the Flagstaff Arts Council. In collaboration, these agencies produce original programming events celebrating books, authors, biography, history and reading. These humanities events are always FREE for the public!

Since the inception of Stories to Life in the autumn of 2008, the partnership has produced over 30 diverse programs and has been nominated for awards at the local (Viola Awards) state (Governor’s Arts Awards and Arizona Humanities Award) and national (National Book Award Innovation in Reading Prize) levels.

In this innovative programming model, music closely associated with each theme is performed to highlight the readings (Scott Joplin’s Something Doing wasplayed by the symphony’s brass ensemble as the audience assembled for the Harlem Renaissance program and a symphony string quartet played the Japanese folk song Sakura after a read-aloud of the fable The Empty Pot during the World Fairy Tales program).  Under the library’s umbrella, local agencies and educational institutions who are also proponents of literacy and supporters of the Humanities participate by providing spoken-word talent (Coconino Community College, Northern Arizona University, The Literacy Center, Theatrikos Theatre Company, Friends of the Library and more).

The Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public library, in the creation of the creative programming model Stories to Life, has provided leadership in the exploration of cultural literacy and the promotion of lifelong reading.  The project provides an opportunity to experience an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the humanities, and brings the lost art of read-aloud back into the public consciousness.


Under the partnership's umbrella, many local agencies and educational institutions which are also proponents of literacy, have had the opportunity to participate in Stories to Life. Flagstaff Unified School District, Theatrikos Theatre Company, Coconino Community College, Northern Arizona University, Literacy Volunteers of Coconino County, The Southside Alliance, City of Flagstaff Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Library, and others, have provided spoken word talent for the read-aloud of the literature presented.

Upcoming Events

February 7th, 2016 Sunday 4pm – “This Land is Your Land:  America’s National Parks”. Featuring the Ponderosa Players providing majestic music in honor of the National Parks and spoken- word artists reading the best of the best about the experience of saving and preserving our public lands for future generations.

April 3rd 2016 Sunday 3pm – “Hula is Life”. 
Halau Hula Napuaokalei`ilima, is under the direction of Kumu Hula (Hula Master) Kehau Chrisman.  Chrisman, formerly of Hawaii, trained in Hawaii for 17 years to reach the highest rank of Hula Master following rigorous hula protocols taught by well-known and respected masters in Hawaii's hula legacy.  She first started teaching hula in Hawaii in 1997 and has been teaching in Northern and Central Arizona since 2004.  Since opening the Cottonwood hula school in 2004, Chrisman has been teaching Hawaiian culture, including music, dance, and language, in the Verde Valley, Flagstaff and Prescott Valley.  Her husband, Ka'imiloa Chrisman, is also a noted and well-known scholar, researcher, and lecturer of Hawaiian culture.  For more information about Halau Hula Napuaokalei`ilima, go to


Past Events

October 18th, 2015 Sunday 4pm - In collaboration with the Flagstaff Arts Council, The Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library proudly presents the 8th annual Halloween Production “Tales to Chill the Bones” in the Stories to Life series. We’re really excited to again be working with local storytellers AnnaDel Paxton and Tony Norris. A Stories to Life newcomer, M Henry Hall, will join them. The threesome will be telling favorite folktales that the audience will love including The Golden Arm, La Llorona and Two White Horses. Our Stories to Life management team is really proud to be able to present programming of this caliber for free thanks to the Friends of the Library. Artistic Director, Jamey Hasapis, states, “I'm excited about beginning this season of Stories to Life with "Chilling Tales." The environment at the Coconino Center for the Arts is the perfect venue for this engaging and intimate program. I can't help but recall the stories we used to tell around the campfire or late at night, with flashlights in hand, after we sneaked into the country graveyard.”

May 3rd, 2015 Sunday 6pm -In collaboration with the Flagstaff Arts Council, The Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library proudly presents Abraham Lincoln – 150 years gone by at the Coconino Center for the Arts.  Spoken-word performers will read works by and about the President.  This Stories To Life event will  feature music of the era including Lincoln’s favorite songs and music sung in American Civil War camps performed by Springfed the multi-instrumentalists Tony Norris, Bill Burke &  Elena Gonzalez on Fiddle.

March 8th, 2015 Sunday 4pm -In collaboration with the Flagstaff Arts Council, The Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library proudly presents The Jones Benally Family  at the Coconino Center for the Arts. The performance features World Champion hoop dancer and traditional healer Jones Benally, his daughter Jeneda, and son Clayson.  These performers together bring the healing power, beauty, and profound messages of Navajo (Diné) culture to educate and uplift audiences around the globe. Navajo dance is a sacred tradition encompassing a wide variety of forms, all of which aim to heal the body, mind, or spirit. The Benallys’ repertoire of dances include traditional forms like the round dance, eagle dance, feather dance, and friendship dance.

November 16th, 2014 Sunday 4pm - Stories to Life presents “Letters” at the Coconino Center for the Arts 2300 N Fort Valley Road. Join us as our spoken-word cast read from some of the very best letters ever written with accompaniment by the chamber music quartet The Ponderosa Players. For ages 8 and up.

October 26th, 2014 Sunday 4pm - Stories to Life presents “A Little Nightmare Music” at the Coconino Center for the Arts 2300 N Fort Valley Road. Join us for the ethereal sounds of The Elden Brass quintet and short stories guaranteed to scare. For mature audiences.

April 27th, 2014 "Radmilla Cody" Radmilla Cody is a GRAMMY Nominee, multiple Native American Music Awards Nominee, international performer, a former Miss Navajo Nation. Miss Cody is of the Tla’a’schi’i’(Red Bottom People) clan and is born for the Nahillii (African-Americans). She is the subject of an award winning documentary entitled “Hearing Radmilla”, produced and directed by Angela Webb, which further explores Radmilla’s journey as an activist and performer. Radmilla has her B.S. in Public Relations with a minor in Sociology and is pursuing her Masters in Sociology. In 2010, Radmilla was selected for NPR’s 50 Great Voices, a yearlong series featuring singers from all over the world. Recently, Radmilla was awarded the “Black History Makers Award 2012” from Initiative Radio and was selected as the first Native American awards presenter at the 55th GRAMMY Pre- Telecast Awards Ceremony.

March 30th, 2014 "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" The musical group “Fionn McCool” performs traditional Irish tunes on fiddle, tenor banjo, flute, whistle, and guitar as well as Celtic songs.  They are the father daughter duo of Kati Barton and Ron Barton
With special guest Gordon Gower.

January 12th, 2014  "Writing out from Kane Ranch" featuring Flaglive's "Letter from home" columnists and in partnership with the Grand Canyon Trust.

November 17th, 2013  "Storytelling & Music with Ed Kabotie".  Proudly presenting the trilingual (English/Hopi/Tewa)  artist and musician sharing insight and stories about his culture.

October 20th, 2013  "The Unhappy Hour"  featuring ethereal seasonal music by the Ponderosa Players  and scary short stories by Alfonso Reyes, Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Winston Churchill.

February 10, 2013: Sunday 4pm - Magical Realism: Short Stories from Latin America Featuring classical guitarist Craig Yarbrough.

November 4, 2012: Sunday 4pm - Painted Caravans: The Gypsies Featuring the live gypsy jazz music of Zazu.

October 14, 2012: Sunday 4pm - Boo! Ghost Stories! Featuring the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra ensemble "Slugs From Space".


February 12, 2012: Sunday 4pm – Traveling the Cowboy Trail:  100 Years of Arizona Tales. This program is in celebration of Arizona’s 100 years of Statehood Featuring Tony Norris, Warren Miller, and a few more of Tony’s amigos)

December 4, 2011: Sunday 1pm – Gifts from the Heart.  Featuring the Arizona Mountain Chorale.

November 6, 2011: Sunday 4pm – Brother Can You Spare A Dime:  The Great Depression in words and music.  Featuring  “The Elden Brass”.

October 2, 2011: Sunday 6pm – Enchanted Skies (A Festival of Science event) Featuring the FSO ensemble “The Ponderosa Players”.

February 6th, 2011:

What’s Love Got To Do With It

This program, near Valentine’s Day, will feature Master Chorale’s chamber vocal ensemble the Arizona Mountain Chorale. Stories and poems celebrating the language of love will be read.

January 23rd, 2011:

Navajo Winter Tales

This program will feature Navajo drummers and flute players performing traditional music. There will be storytelling in the Navajo oral tradition.

November 14th, 2010:

Tales of the Blue and of the Gray: The American Civil War

In honor of Veterans Day.  Spoken word artists will read aloud from literature of the era and the Elden Brass Quintet will play music of the time period.

October 17th, 2010:

Oh, Horrors!

Prepare to be “scared” as spoken word artists read aloud from “scary” stories by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and an FSO ensemble plays seasonal “scary” music!  Boo!

May 2nd, 2010:

Outta This World!

April 18th, 2010:

Wizards and Wonders

October 11th, 2009:

Nevermore: the Edgar Allen Poe Bicentennial

March 8th, 2009:

Imagine That! Featuring AnnaDel Paxton

February 8th, 2009:

Harlem Renaissance

January 11th, 2009:

Cuentos y Cantos: En Espanol e Ingles (Stories and Songs in Spanish and English)

December 14th, 2008:

The Winter Season

November 9th, 2008:

The 'Possum Opry Featuring Rose Houk

October 12th, 2008:

Haunting Tales and Spine-tingling Music

September 14th, 2008:

Fairy Tales from Around the World

Last updated on December 7, 2015

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