The Immigrant Story Live (TIS Live) performances combine nuanced storytelling with subtle performance art to present a professionally produced, high-quality program. These free programs start with distinctive music, often created for the occasion. After a brief intermission, the presentation resumes with inspiring storytellers who share their lived experiences. TIS Live creates two new shows each year, one in spring and one in early fall. They are professionally recorded and presented on our The Immigrant Story Live YouTube channel for public viewing.
As part of this unforgettable show, TIS Live brings unique sounds from around the world–sounds that immigrants bring to our country from their traditions. Our musical presentation has ranged from recreating the legendary Sarajevo String Quartet to a stirring concert by a small ensemble of Afghan Ghazal singers. We also have featured an Afro-Jazz ensemble, a Mariachi fusion ensemble, and a pan-Asian orchestra of nearly 20 musicians playing instruments that many Americans have never before seen.
TIS Live invests and brings the voices of immigrants from our community to the stage. We collaborate with the storytellers and provide them the tools they need to conceive, curate and perform in front of live audiences. Many are first-time storytellers. We have presented stories from genocide survivors, Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated during World War II, young DACA recipients, and young women from Africa who have overcome daunting challenges in order to begin new lives in this country. Each of these powerful and poignant personal narratives evoked strong audience reaction. These stories are moving, and often hard to forget.
Through these performances, TIS Live uses music and first-person stories to celebrate the rich cultures brought to the United States by multiple generations of immigrants. These shows promote cultural diversity, social equity and inclusivity through art, music and storytelling. TIS Live aims to strengthen the connections between individuals in our community, both immigrants and non-immigrants, and to foster empathy for immigrants of color.
One high school teacher gave us feedback that sums it all up. “The event was amazing, so powerful, such amazing storytellers, stories, and music,” the teacher told us. “A really beautiful celebration of our community.”