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Renowned Latina storyteller coming



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April 13, 2011 - A renowned Latina storyteller and author is coming to downtown Oxford's Casa Real restaurant on Friday, April 29 to share her craft and the beauty of her language.

Using a dramatic mix of Spanish and English, Olga Loya will share traditional tales from Latin America as well as stories from her own life growing up in East Los Angeles in two shows – 6:30 and 8 p.m.

Each show is about 35-40 minutes.

"She understands the value of passing stories from one generation to the next and how it keeps language alive," said Orion resident Karen Melaas, who organized this event with sponsors Casa Real and Kingsbury Country Day School in Addison Township. "What we learn through the telling of stories really can't be replaced by anything else."

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A Spanish teacher for 23 years, Melaas taught at Kingsbury for 10 years before leaving in December 2010. She's been using Loya's work in her classes for many years.

"She acts out these stories," Melaas said. "She tells them bilingually and she does a tremendous amount of gesturing, so that anybody who comes, it doesn't matter if you speak Spanish or English, you'll be able to understand what she's saying."

As part of the event, Casa Real will offer a special dinner buffet from 5:30 until 8 p.m. that day.

"You can eat before you go to a show or you can eat after the first show," Melaas said. "The show is free if you buy dinner."

Patrons are also welcome to order off the regular menu.

Reservations are not mandatory, but they are highly recommended for the event. Reservations can be e-mailed to kwmelaas@comcast.net.

"I've been taking reservations and I'm already at about 85," Melaas said.

Loya's visit to Oxford is tied in with "El Dia del Nino," or The Day of the Child, an annual celebration throughout Mexico since 1925. This day (April 30) recognizes children, pays homage to their importance in society, and endorses their well being.

"It's celebrated all over the world now, but it's really inspired by some earlier events in Mexico," Melaas said.

In addition to Loya's shows at Casa Real, the storyteller will perform twice (10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) on Thursday, April 28 at Kingsbury Country Day School.

Students from Leonard Elementary and Lake Orion's Oakview Middle School will attend these shows at Kingsbury.

On Friday, April 29, Loya will go on a five-mile Earth Walk with Kingsbury students in the morning and conduct a storytelling workshop in the afternoon.

Loya isn't the only distinguished visitor coming to Kingsbury. On Thursday, April 28, the independent JK-8 school will be visited by Mexican Consul General Vicente Sanchez Ventura.

In addition to Casa Real and Kingsbury, these other businesses are responsible for helping bring Loya here – Keith Melaas, DDS (Warren), Eye Health Professionals (Lake Orion) and Oxford Bank.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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