5 Questions for Kate Campbell

5 Questions for Kate Campbell

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A great southern writer Eudora Welty once said, “Southerners love a good tale. They are born reciters, great memory retainers, diary keepers, letter exchangers . . . great talkers” and it’s clear that Kate Campbell loves a good tale. She sketches her southern characters, like Sissy the Beautician, through songs and through stories about her songs. Her beautiful voice and music bring to life not only the comical characters she encounters, but the simple truths she sees. She has the ability to make reality real in a humorous, gentle way.


  1. At TimpFest we are very family oriented, will you tell us a little about your family?

I have been married to Ira Campbell nearly 31 years and we have two cats “Ramses and Necho.”  My parents live in Orlando, Florida.  My father is a semi-retired Baptist minister.  Although I’m not sure Ministers ever retire!  I have a younger sister and brother, 5 nephews, and 1 grand nephew?  I am named after my grandmother “Kathryn” who turned “97” this year!


  1. If you weren’t a professional storyteller, what would you be doing instead?


  1. Do you get nervous when you tell stories on stage? If so, what do you do to overcome your fear? If not, what is the key to your fearlessness?
    Sometimes I get a little nervous but once I get going I’m usually fine.  I like to look directly at folks.  I am most nervous when I can’t see the audience because they are too far away from the stage or because of poor lighting?  I believe the audience is for me and wants to make a connection!


  1. What is the most embarrassing thing that you have done or has happened to you on stage?

Well, I can’t think of anything too embarrassing?  Having said that, now I’m a bit nervous something might happen in Timpanogos :/


  1. What advice would you give young tellers?

Be yourself.  Tell the stories that are interesting to you.  Songwriting and Storytelling has been a way for me to connect with the people and place that I come from.  Even more so, it is thru the TELLING that I have learned how all of us “humans” are connected and how important it is to keep the story line going.


Bonus Question


Are there any Utah foods you are looking forward to trying?–We are famous for funeral potatoes, green jello, and fry sauce.
Well it’s ALL about food for me SO I will be trying and I’m sure enjoying ALL of the Utah foods set before me!


Thank you Kate for taking time out of your busy touring schedule in Ireland to answer our questions.


Festival Tips for 2015

Festival Tips for 2015

Timpchat- Scera

Here are some tips to help you get most out of your 2015 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival experience.

  1. Take a look at the program, website and blog to find out more information about the tellers and to plan your schedule for the weekend.
  2. Attend one of our FREE pre-festival concerts to get a preview of our amazing lineup of talented tellers and to introduce your family and friends to see what the festival has to offer. Antonio SacEB_0721-1bre & Tim Lowry present a Night of Stories at the Viridian Event Center on August 31, and Bill Harley and Sam Payne will be performing at Timpanogos Storytelling Festival Kickoff at The Shops at Riverwoods on September 2.
  3. Take a look at our amazing lineup of classes at the Timpanogos Storytelling Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, September 2-3.
  4. Check out Look Who’s Talking on Thursday night to get a preview of the storytellers and find a new favorite or two.
  5. Parents- The festival is aimed at adults, teens and older children. Younger children will enjoy Bedtime Stories and events in the puppet area. Toddlers and babies in arms are not allowed in the performance tents, so please make the proper arrangements.
  6. If you have ever wanted to try your hand at storytelling in front of an appreciative audience then you should go to the Adult Swappin’ Grounds or Youth Swappin’ Grounds during the lunch break on Friday and Saturday.
  7. Be a judge and find great new tellers at the Timp Tell Contest on Friday afternoon in the Canyon Vista tent.
  8. Win free great prizes through our social media contest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram contest.
  9. Do you love live music? Stop in at the music tent between sessions to listen to an incredible variety of musical talent. If you love jazz, bluegrass, celtic, polka, folk, classic country, or rock’n’roll, you will find it here.David and Carol Sharp
  10. Parking is limited at Mt. Timpanogos Park, so use one of the designated church parking lots. The shuttle service is fast and efficient and you get dropped off right at the entrance.
  11. Performers feed off the energy of an audience, so relax and feel free to laugh out loud, sigh, gasp, cry, clap, and participate. After all, this is not a golf match.
  12. We’re always looking for volunteers before, during and after the festival. Timpanogos Storytelling Institute has a year-round program and there are many ways you can get involved.
  13. If you have additional tips for festival-goers, please free to leave comments below.
5 Questions for Tim Lowry

5 Questions for Tim Lowry

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I have had the pleasure of listening to Tim Lowry tell stories on three occasions and yet I still sit here trying to figure out what to say about him. I could tell you that he reminds me a bit of a young Donald Davis—and not just because he has been known to wear a bowtie. But, no, it is definitely more than that!


I’ve heard Tim tell stories about family or school that had me laughing so hard that the risk of falling out of my chair was real and then, just a moment later, I was deeply touched by their love and compassion.


I’ve seen him dress in character to tell the story of a Southern gentleman—don’t run away if this is not your thing, it’s not usually my thing either. But he was so charming and full of interesting details that I was sad when the hour was up.


I’ve heard him tell a story in Gullah (also called Sea Island Creole English) that was not only a marvel of tongue twisting to behold but also warmly brought me into the fold of another culture.


I’ve even heard him tell the story using only a kazoo—it was brilliant!


Still, all that somehow falls short of what I want to express about how much entertainment and joy you are in for when you hear Tim Lowry at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. I guess mostly I just want to tell you that you must go see him and that when you do you are going to love him—I promise! (this promise holds no monetary value :))


And now for a few words from Tim himself:


1. At TimpFest we are very family oriented, will you tell us a little about your family?


My wife Bonnie and I have been married for 18 years and we have two adopted daughters—Libby is six years old and Bethany is 4 years old.  We attend church services regularly where Bonnie sings in the choir and I teach children’s Sunday school.  We love to read books!  Currently, the girls’ favorite is “Abiyoyo.”  A couple night’s ago we were treated to a shadow puppet play of this story.  It was very exciting, especially when the giant Abiyoyo ate a frog!  We also love gardening.  This has been a great year for tomatoes.  We just planted pumpkins and are hoping for a whopper!  When weather drives us indoors from the garden, we love to dance to old fox trot records on our 1911 Victrola.


2. If you weren’t a professional storyteller, what would you be doing instead?


I’ve always said that when I retire from storytelling I want to be the chaplain for Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus.  I would love to be the spiritual advisor for the Greatest Show on Earth.  Ringling was my first introduction to show business and I still LOVE the circus.  What a great metaphor for life—the highwire (life is all about balance), the lion tamer (life is dangerous, best to know that going in), the acrobats (strength is good, but grace is even better), and clowns (Smile!  Count it all joy, and smile!).


3. Do you get nervous when you tell stories on stage? If so, what do you do to overcome your fear? If not, what is the key to your fearlessness?


Nervous?  No.  Although, I wouldn’t describe myself as fearless (see above comment about lion tamer).  What’s the key?  Knowing that the audience is human and they are cheering for you.  They know you are human and they want you to do well.  Be human, be honest, be real and the audience will respond to that.  It’s like watching the ice skaters at the Olympics.  We cheer for the USA to win, but we all groan when a Russian skater falls.  Russians are humans too and we feel their pain.  (Of course, we will still deduct a couple points, but nonetheless . . . )


4. What is the most embarrassing thing that you have done or has happened to you on stage?


Hmm, most embarrassing?  Years ago, when I was a student in a high-stakes storytelling competition, I got tongue-tied and said “fart” in the middle of a sentence.  I was purple with embarrassment.  Even the judge laughed (and judges never laugh, unless a Russian falls down.  Judges are not human.)


5. The BYU football team will be playing Nebraska the Saturday of the Festival. Who is your pick to win? (This is a “know your audience” moment.)


Ah, football!  Southerners go to football games and funerals with equal enthusiasm.  We do our best to kill each other at the former, and are polite enough to apologize for having done so at the latter.  My condolences to Nebraska.


And one bonus question—because we couldn’t have a Southern gentleman come to our Festival without asking for a bit of Southern advice!


Give us your favorite piece of Southern advice.


Well, I recently was advising a “cumyeh.”  (A cumyeh is a person who has just come here, as opposed to someone like me who has always been here.  I am a “benyeh.”)  This person, who shall remain nameless but they were from off, spotted an alligator in the river and wished they had something to feed it.  I reminded them, “NEVUH feed a GATUH!”  (That’s not in the Bible, but it should be.)

5 Questions for Jim May

5 Questions for Jim May

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If you go to this year’s festival looking for a seasoned storyteller with a rich, resonant voice who focuses on family, then Jim May is your man. I became a fan of Jim when I saw him perform with Megan Wells at the National Storytelling Festival. The story was called “Lime Vanilla Ice” from Ray Bradbury’s book Dandelion Wine and it was a wonderful performance that ended with a standing ovation. I think you are going to find his style comfortable and engaging. We asked him a few questions to help you get to know him.


1. At TimpFest we are very family oriented, will you tell us a little about your family?


Virtually everything I do is rooted in family. I come from a large farming family that has roots in the same small Illinois town of Spring Grove, Illinois, since the 1840’s. My wife, Nan, and I live about twenty minutes from there now and our grandchildren live in the Spring Grove School district as well.  I was founding artistic director of the Illinois Storytelling Festival for twenty years. We held the festival in the Spring Grove village park behind my mom’s house. My cousin was our business manager.


I tell stories about my family (especially my granddaughters), and many family members and elders told at our festival at a venue called the “Elder’s Tent,” or “Traditions Tent”—where we featured “kitchen table,” type storytelling—stories told by ordinary folks who had led interesting lives. To this day I don’t think there is a similar stage at any festival in America. Our festival, though it drew 2000-3000 each year is no more. There are several elders circles that meet monthly for people to share their life stories still functioning as one legacy of our festival. The other is our organization, Illinois Storytelling, Inc which sponsors smaller events all over the Chicago land area. I’m best known on the festival circuit for my family stories. One of them, “A Bell For Shorty,” which is a tribute to my father who farmed his whole life, won an EMMY award on Chicago Public Television and is the last story in my book of family stories (THE FARM ON NIPPERSINK CREEK), which won a Public Library Association “Best Book” award.


I’m best known in Chicago land for my presentations to children and families. I am a former elementary school teacher and community college counselor; In my 35yrs of visiting schools and doing family reading nights, literacy nights, etc, I estimate that I have told stories live to about one million children and their families, not including radio and tv appearances. A teacher once referred to my as “a professional grandfather.” I can’t think of a better job title.


I lead an annual workshop to Oaxaca, Mexico every year. We work on stories in the morning and do cultural tours in the afternoon in Oaxaca, a Spanish Colonial city (UNESCO Heritage Site) that the New York Times calls: “The folk art capital of Mexico.” One of the things I do in my workshop/retreat is encourage my adult students to write “legacy letters” to their grandchildren. 


I love telling to families and am thrilled that I hear the Timp audience is multi-generational! Congratulations!


2. If you weren’t a professional storyteller, what would you be doing instead?


A teacher. No question. I consider my self a teacher though I left my teaching/counseling job to go full time as a storyteller in 1986.


3. Do you get nervous when you tell stories on stage? If so, what do you do to overcome your fear? If not, what is the key to your fearlessness?


It’s a good nervous, excited really. I try to emulate what Chicago Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, tells his young players, “Don’t let the pressure interfere with the pleasure.”


4. What is the most embarrassing thing that you have done or has happened to you on stage?


I guess it was the Heath Candy Bar festival in Heath, Illinois where I led off first thing in the early morning and there was no one in the audience. I thought—if Miss Indiana (who went on before me) could sing the Star Spangled Banner to “no one” then I should be able to tell a story to “no one”—but singing to yourself is easier than telling a story to yourself (Only storytellers tell themselves stories in the shower).


5. The BYU football team will be playing Nebraska the Saturday of the Festival. Who is your pick to win? (This is a “know your audience” moment.)


This is a split since I am a Big Ten fan and Nebraska is in the Big Ten. But, Jim McMahon took the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl championship in 1985 and was a star at BYU so I WILL CALL THIS A DRAW.