Meet the Teller: Geraldine Buckley

Meet the Teller: Geraldine Buckley

Buckley, Geraldine 200 squareGeraldine Buckley is new to us at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, so we thought we would reach out to the storytelling community to get a little more information about her. Many thanks to national storyteller Kim Weitkamp for providing the following introduction:

 

Geraldine has left her mark all over the world! From England to Holland to South Africa and beyond, Geraldine has given audiences the gift of laughter, insight, and adventure.

 

Her vibrant and colorful stories give the listener a glimpse of the wide range of experiences and roles she has lived: a minister in a London church, a food critic, a magazine editor, and an award-winning poet, just to name a few. Geraldine has the ability to shine a light onto the ordinary in’s and out’s of daily life; illuminating them and making them appear almost magical.  

 

Her album “Destination? Slammer!” is the result of her adventures as the chaplain of one of the largest men’s prisons in Maryland. She has performed these stories as a one–woman show that has received rave reviews, and her album won a 2012 Storytelling World Award.

 

Her latest works, “Devils on Horseback and Other Odd Journeys” (2012) and “Tea in the Slammer” (2013), continue to delight listeners of all ages.

 

Geraldine is a whirlwind of energy.  As she takes the stage she invites you, through story, to join her on her roller coaster ride of life. Buckle up! I guarantee you will enjoy the ride!

Meet the Teller: Kim & Reggie Harris

Meet the Teller: Kim & Reggie Harris

Harris, Kim & Reggie 200 squareOne word comes to mind when I think about Kim and Reggie Harris: joyful. These two have a special zest for life, stories, and music that enlightens, encourages, and enlivens in a way that is quite simply contagious—I mean, honestly, just take a look at those smiles.

 

Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Kim and Reggie were exposed to just about every type of music possible. From jazz, rock, gospel, pop, and classical music, they heard it all and incorporated the best of each genre into their own music. Now, thirty years after the two first met at summer camp during their college years, Kim and Reggie have perfected the art of performing together using the mediums of song and story.

 

Of particular note, and not to be missed at our Festival, is their acclaimed work in the areas of the Underground Railroad and the modern civil rights movement. Like so much of their work, Kim and Reggie employed their creativity with research that has resulted in serious contributions to the body of education and understanding of these topics. More than that, though, their use of song and story will draw you into a vivid world of daring, courage, and quests for justice and equality that is sure to inspire. And while these topics may be sobering, their stories dig deep inside to spread the message of faith and hope about the best in each of us and in the world at large. All this is done with an absolute joy for life that radiates so beautifully in their every word, strum of the guitar, and sway of motion.

 

Plus, they have a song that was featured on NPR’s Car Talk—and as someone who grew up with the guys from Car Talk hanging out in the background of every Saturday morning, this is nothing short of the coolest thing ever!

 

So come spend some time with Kim and Reggie at our Festival, and let them sweep you away with their harmonies, rhythms, and pure joy that is sure to motivate you, like it did me, with a desire to clap and sing along (and considering my utter—and I’m not using the word “utter” lightly here—lack of rhythm that is kind of saying something).

Meet the Teller: Josh Goforth

Meet the Teller: Josh Goforth

 

Every year a few of us from Timpanogos Storytelling travel to Tennessee for the National Storytelling Festival. We do this for two reasons: first, we like to do a little scouting for new tellers; second, it’s nice to listen to stories during a storytelling festival—something that not all of us get to do during our Festival. While at the festival, we make a special point of attending Exchange Place (an event for new tellers who have been invited to tell a single story). Since we first saw many of our favorite tellers at this event—think Bil Lepp and Antonio Sacre—we are always on the look out for our next Festival favorite. Last year we were introduced to Josh Goforth and his fiddle.

 

Josh GoforthJosh was raised in what some might call the hillbilly area of the southern Appalachian Mountains; however, we will be polite and just call it Sodom (no, really, that is the name of the community he comes from!). In describing his own youth, Josh says that he grew up 50 years behind the times. Rather than playing video games, he fished at the local fishing hole and trailed behind his granddads while they plowed their fields using horses.

 

Raised in a family of storytellers and musicians, one might suppose that Josh has simply followed in the family tradition. That is true, but it is also only half the story. You see, Josh is something of a musical boy wonder. He began his musical journey by playing the piano in church at the ripe old age of 4. As a young teenager, Josh was given his first guitar, then came the fiddle, and then, oh, about 10 or so other instruments that he sort of just picked up. But don’t be fooled, Josh doesn’t just piddle around on all these instruments. He is admired for his skill on several of them, with the fiddle generally regarded as his best. In fact, he collects honors and acclaim for his fiddle playing just about everywhere he goes; but, you know, just minor stuff like Grammy Award nominations and the like.

 

When we first saw Josh walk on stage, though, he did so without his fiddle. Stepping to the mic, he began to tell us about his granddad, his granddad’s big wad of ‘baccer (tobacco for those of us not from Sodom), and one of his granddad’s latest projects all while switching back and forth between his own charming southern Appalachian accent (fingers crossed that he drops a “golly” or two at our Festival) and his granddad’s nearly incomprehensible ‘baccer–filled twang. Afterward, Josh picked up his fiddle and played a song dedicated to his granddad. We were sold!

 

Below you will find a short clip where Josh shows off his skill on the guitar with fellow musician Laura Boosinger. (You’ll have to catch him at our Festival to see just how good he is on the fiddle).

 

 

Oh, and don’t miss Josh’s FREE concert at the Riverwoods Gazebo Wednesday, August 28, at 7:00 p.m

Meet the Teller: Laura Pershin Raynor

Meet the Teller: Laura Pershin Raynor

 

Laura Pershin RaynorI first heard Laura Pershin Raynor at Laughin’ Night during the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in 2000. She told a short story, and I remember thinking, “That was great! I wish I would have gone to hear more from her.”  Then in 2009, my husband and I got the honor of participating in the “What’s Your Story” project on Ocracoke Island with Donald Davis. I heard that Laura and her husband Kenny were going to be a part of it, too. I was excited to get to know her better.

 

Laura and I were placed in one of the first sharing groups together. She was very kind and listened with genuine interest when I didn’t think anyone could be interested in my experiences growing up in Idaho.  I had just mentioned “spud harvest” in passing while I was talking about something else, and Laura heard that phrase and was fascinated.  She asked so many questions that suddenly my mundane story felt important. Obviously, I liked her right away! A few days later she shared a heart-warming story about meeting and holding her baby sister for the first time. She described the place, the feel, the new baby smell, and I was transported. I was taken back in time to my own childhood and felt like I was meeting my own newborn baby sister again. It was magical.

 

I can tell you from experience that Laura Pershin Raynor can use her gentle voice and validating manner to make your own memories wrap around you like a favorite quilt, and I am happy that Laura is coming back to the Festival this year.  I hope you will take the time to hear her and let her voice work its magic on you. You’ll be glad you did.

Meet the Teller: Barbara McBride-Smith

Meet the Teller: Barbara McBride-Smith

 

Barbara McBride-SmithIt is my distinct privilege to introduce one of the storytellers coming to this year’s Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.  It is probably politically incorrect for a member of the Festival’s organizing committee to admit to having favorite tellers, but there you have it, I do.  Barbara McBride-Smith is definitely one of my favorites.  Since this is her fifth time telling at our Festival, she is also a favorite for many other Festival attendees.  If she is one of your favorites, you probably don’t need an introduction, but maybe a refresher would be fun.

 

Barbara was born and raised in Texas.  She learned the craft of storytelling from her family: from her parents who were the “natural born keepers of their family lore” and from her two deaf sisters who “communicated with their entire beings.”  She went to school in Boston and then moved to Oklahoma.

 

I admire Barbara’s energy!  She has managed multiple careers all at the same time.  She was an elementary teacher/school librarian for 44 years.  Just before retiring, she was honored as the “Elementary Teacher of the Year” by the Tulsa Public Schools.  She has influenced more than 25,000 children as she turned them to reading and story.  She has been a Seminary Professor for more than 20 years and is the author of several books.

 

She is also a master storyteller.  I can say that because in 2000 she was invited to enter the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence, which is given to artists who are recognized by their peers to be master storytellers who set the standards for excellence and have demonstrated over a significant period of time a commitment and dedication to the art of storytelling. She is a frequent featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and when she’s not a featured teller, she is their best emcee—bar none.  And to top it off, she is a wife and a mother!

 

With her Texas drawl, she tells Bible stories full of humor that make me laugh.  Her personal stories connect me with my memories. Through all the years of listening, though, I have never heard her tell Greek myths.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that this year will end that drought!

 

She is a gracious, witty, and spunky lady who is fun to be around.  I hope you will join me in welcoming her back to Orem, Utah, and if you haven’t heard her before, be sure to catch her at this year’s Festival!

Timpanogos Storytelling Institute
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Provo, UT 84604

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