February 20, 2019

Story-sharing sessions reach final chapter

Observer photo by Al Frey
Recille Hamrell

After 10 years, Recille Hamrell held her final “Shape & Share Life Stories” open mic session at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston on Monday.

But this is not a retirement.

Hamrell, 79, will remain a leader in the Burlington area storytelling scene, fueled by a belief that “story-sharing should be part of wellness for everybody.”

Hamrell’s monthly “Wine & Story Open Mic” at Shelburne Vineyard at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month continues to attract dozens of participants. She also leads a group at a local assisted living facility and participates in regular open mic events at Arts Riot and the Light Club Lamp Shop in Burlington. She will also be launching a new workshop at Burlington City Arts.

The library group peaked at about 15 people — “all retired women,” said Hamrell — that had met bimonthly since 2007. But the group had dwindled in recent months.

“My numbers were decreasing and we just couldn’t seem to build it up,” she said. “All of a sudden, the numbers were down to sometimes under five.”

A resident of South Burlington, Hamrell worked as a speech therapist in the Champlain Valley School District until retiring in 2004. She thanked Library Director Marti Fiske and the library’s staff for helping her host the story-telling event in Williston.

“The people at the library have been outstanding,” she said. “I have always loved it.”

— Jason Starr

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