Every Song a Story
Every Story a Conversation

Stories of Western Heritage and Culture

In 1860, Texas Ranger Joseph P. Crider was returning from a long hard chase of the Comanche. He stopped at the Pedernales for a cool drink and there found a young Comanche girl. This time, though, he did not see an enemy... he saw something else entirely... he saw his mate. Turning history on its ear, the Ranger kidnapped the Indian. In this true story, JP Crider married Polina and she became the Matriarch of the Crider family in the Texas Hill Country. This song, The Water, tells just one story in the saga. 
Shall We Gather is a "one-man musical"... about a family and the land they lived on for more than 150 years in the heart of Texas. Each character and event is discovered in an old trunk and brought to life through immersive prose and song.

Why the name Shall We Gather? For untold centuries man has gathered on this land and all for the same reasons... to eat, to give birth to young and to bury their dead. For those of us who came late in this cycle, there were many a "gatherings" as we brought our families, flocks and herds together. Also, the Pecan Bayou of the Texas Colorado river served as the waters for many an old-style baptisim - of course, "Shall We Gather" was the most sung song of the day... And finally, during the telling of Shall We Gather, there is a gathering of hearts and spirits about the stories - so much so that the audience is as much a part of the story as the story itself.

Listen to Excerpt "Breed and Claw"

Woai interview
"The Most Important Story you know is the Story you are Living... and you are free to make a Masterpiece of it!"
 
Through Story and Song, sixth-generation Texan Austin Ladd Roberts delivers a powerful message that educates and motivates the listener. Supported by multi-media sound effects and images, unique and entertaining character sketches are "found" then brought to life through narrative and music. The Goal? "To Listen With Your Heart to Find Your Own Story."

Through a generous grant from the Texas Heritage Music Foundation, Austin Ladd has brought this performance to thousands throughout the Texas Hill Country and South Texas. Through these programs, all were encouraged to "Listen With Their Hearts to Find Their Own Stories." 

"Shall We Gather" Testimonials

 "It was really a great concert. Songs were superb . . . . .nice writing and great presentation." 
William Eaton, Old Town Center for the Arts, Cottonwood, AZ January 2011

"Dramatic - Funny - Entertaining - Touching - Educating - Sold Out!"
Vanguard Theater, Fullerton, California

"Your message in Shall We Gather can be a vehicle for families across cultural and geographic lines to make connections. To see how our lives are similar and also how our experiences differ. When I had the privilege of attending the opening night, I felt the connection to not only your family but similar stories in my own family and those of my students. I co-teach an Anti-bias Perspective Seminar class at Fullerton College and in the fall semester, my colleague and I ask the students to complete a Pass It On Project. Shall We Gather was your “Pass It On” project."

I believe if we want to be an effective member of our community and work toward positive change, we first need to know ourselves. And the best way to know our self is to ask the question that you asked in Shall We Gather. We need to know our roots – our family stories and see how those stories help us become who we are today. You were able to weave your family’s story through prose and song beautifully. I feel that your message is an important one to share with everyone – especially the young people."
Christine Lamm, Ph.D. - Professor, Child Development & Educational Studies - Social Science Division, Fullerton

 
Mr. Austin Ladd Roberts' performance at KIPP Aspire Academy in September was an extraordinary opportunity for our students to listen and participate in stories about Texas History.  Over 200 students were engaged in large part due to the quality of the songs, music and blended story telling during Mr. Robert’s presentation.  I would enthusiastically recommend Mr. Roberts to visit any school that is interested in providing an enrichment activity for their students.”  Roy Feliciano, KIPP Aspire Charter School



"Austin Ladd Roberts is a talented performer who blends history, storytelling and music in an engaging style that will not only have students riveted, but also inspire them to develop their own creativity in a similar fashion. He shows students how family history is shaped by historical events, and he performs vignettes that students of diverse backgrounds find relevant today. I highly recommend his work!" Debi Christensen, Executive Director, John H. Woods Schools, San Antonio

"I just wanted to write and tell you what a wonderful living piece of history you presented in Listen With Your Heart. So often our students read about these events in their textbooks, but your presentation made history come alive. Not only does it present a retrospective of Texas history, but it also shows students the power of primary and secondary sources in writing history. This is so much more powerful in giving relevance to all the concepts presented to students.
 Well done!" - Vicki Philson, Curriculum Specialist, Garland, Texas ISD


"Your message in Listen With Your Heart can be a vehicle for families across cultural and geographic lines to make connections. To see how our lives are similar and also how our experiences differ. When I had the privilege of attending the opening night, I felt the connection to not only your family but similar stories in my own family and those of my students. I co-teach an Anti-bias Perspective Seminar class at Fullerton College and in the fall semester, my colleague and I ask the students to complete a Pass It On Project. Shall We Gather was your “Pass It On project."

I believe if we want to be an effective member of our community and work toward positive change, we first need to know ourselves. And the best way to know our self is to ask the question that you asked in Shall We Gather. We need to know our roots – our family stories and see how those stories help us become who we are today. You were able to weave your family’s story through prose and song beautifully. I feel that your message is an important one to share with everyone – especially the young people." Christine Lamm, Ph.D. - Professor, Child Development & Educational Studies - Social Science Division, Fullerton College

"Gather celebrates the common ground along the Colorado River of Texas that 5 generations of his family have shared with the countless generations of American Indian families that have also called it 'home'. From pre-history to recent times, each vignette is 'discovered' in an old trunk - with changes in costume and props. The acoustic guitar, vocals and original songs are exquisite. It is entertainment and learning at their best." Dr. Joe Healey PHD History and Economics

"Dramatic - Funny - Entertaining - Touching - Educating - Sold Out!" -
Vanguard Theater, Fullerton, California

"It was really a great concert. Songs were superb . . . . .nice writing and great presentation."
William Eaton, Old Town Center for the Arts, Sedona, Airzona
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Now booking for 2013-2014.  Call 830-353-1419 for information
 
   
   
   

"Listen With Your Heart" Testimonials

 "Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your songs and stories at the Texas History Days in Fredericksburg on 3/16/13."
Phil Ryan, President, Former Texas Rangers Association

"Austin is an awesome storyteller and musician. ...One of the most important things he left us with was, 'You are in charge of writing your life's story', a great message for young people."
Stuart Caulkins, Division of Continuing and Innovative Education, University of Texas, Austin

“I would enthusiastically recommend Mr. Roberts to visit any school that is interested in providing an enrichment activity for their studI would enthusiastically recommend Mr. Roberts to visit any school that is interested in providing an enrichment activity for their students.”
Roy Feliciano, KIPP Aspire Charter School, San Antonio

"Austin Roberts, an extremely talented musicican, has put together an inspiring program that captures and enlightens the hearts and minds of children....His "Listen with your Heart" program is one you want young people to experience."
Becky Loop/Elementary Music Teacher; Ingram Elementary, Ingram, Tx