Charleston Kids Captivated: Caught up in the rhythm at this year’s 6th Annual Gateway Festival

October 20, 2016

Story Hour at this year’s 6th Annual Gateway FestivalThe SonEdna Organization presented "Story Hour" with a rhythmic call to Charleston's young people. Held inside the Charleston Arts Revitalization Center, Master story tellers Jerry Jenkins and Diane Williams used drums and dances to engage with people of all ages at the 2016 local Gateway to the Delta Festival. Charleston residents, Jackie Jones and Myrna Colley-Lee, provided a rest for the performers with a tandem reading from a fun children’s classic book.

SonEdna, the literary non-profit organization, presented the Jackson, MS duo, Djaliya, comprised of Master Storyteller Diane Williams and Master Drummer/Storyteller Jerry Jenkins. Williams is a community artist, author and mixed media fiber artist. Jenkins is a MAC roster performing and teaching Artist. The Mississippi Arts Commission publishes a list of chosen artist from around the state for its prestigious roster, enabling organizations and schools to choose from Mississippi’s best talent. Lyrical and visual artist Williams danced and wandered around the Charleston Square inviting all ages from the festivities to "come be part of the story” with her Shekere, an African rhythm instrument.

Djembe drums, handmade by Jenkins, established a hypnotic energy for the story and the dozens of kids and curious adults in tow. The original West African talking drum accentuated the rhythmic dance Williams used to weave her riveting stories. People were transported with the dynamic drumming and call and response story telling style. Jenkins masterfully taught the listeners how to beat their way into being part of the story.

Colley-Lee and Jones read together from The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales, the children’s classic by Jon Scieszka and Illustrated by Lane Smith.

A big thank you goes out to all who participate and especially Charleston resident, Teresa Newsome, who joined the drummers and encouraged the young and shy to enact their parts in the world the storytellers created with their rhythms and words.

SonEdna Organization brings together writers and storytellers to present and interact with the public, with each other and with students in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship. Founded by Myrna Colley-Lee in 2006, SonEdna strives to empower the writer within.


SonEdna, founded in 2006 by Myrna Colley-Lee, celebrates and supports the literary arts and writers of all genres and backgrounds in the Delta, in Mississippi, and the world. SonEdna provides space for established and emerging writers to create then connects them to the community through readings and workshops, enriching the lives of people of every age in our region. SonEdna believes that people empowered through the literary arts discern, decide, and design with greater authority, clarity, understanding, and compassion. For more information, visit