Antonio Rocha – On Timeless Tales

Antonio Rocha – On Timeless Tales

We recently interviewed Antonio Rocha (pronounced Haw-sha) and he gave us his thoughts on the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, advice for new storytellers and the timelessness of storytelling.

Q- As you well know, this is our 30th anniversary and we’re so happy you will be celebrating this milestone with us. As a veteran of the festival would you please share some of your memories of the festival?

A- I have many wonderful memories of being at Timpanogos: the setting, the people all creating an awesome Festival atmosphere. As one of the Nation’s top festivals with incredibly dedicated listeners and staff, Timpanogos delivers a setting where I can relax to do my work for I know I will be well taken care of. I have also a great memory of resting between sets in the green room and getting a revitalizing massage. Timpanogos is the only festival to offer massages in the green room. What a great treat! I understand it’s not offered anymore, but it was a great memory. With all these amazing qualities, it is hard not have have great memories.

Q- What is one piece of advice you could give our young tellers or anyone who would like to share their stories?

A- Storytelling is not about words, it is about the images the story creates in your imagination. So, the more immersed you are in the imagery world of your story, be it fictional or not, the better will be your telling. Dive deep into the imaginary and you will never be lost for words and enthusiasm to tell about it.

Q- Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. In what way do you think storytelling is timeless or timely?
Storytelling is timeless because we are the only species on Earth who use story. They have been our companions, teachers and care givers for millennia.

A- Storytelling is timely because we, as a species, tend to spend too much time forgetting what being human is all about. Stories remind us of our humanity. Storytelling is the new fire we sit around of in order to keep us warm.

Join us on September 5-7, 2019 at The Gardens at Thanksgiving Point for the 30th Anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Ticket prices increase August 1st, so get your today!

Tim Lowry – Timeless Tales and our 30th Anniversary

Tim Lowry – Timeless Tales and our 30th Anniversary

Our theme this year is Timeless Tales, a perfect theme for our 30th year don’t you think? For thirty years we have been celebrating the timeless tradition of storytelling and the timeless stories that transcend the generations. As part of this celebration we have asked our returning veteran tellers to give us some thoughts on the theme and on what the Festival means to them. We’ll begin our series with Tim Lowry.

Q- As you well know, this is our 30th anniversary and we’re so happy you will be celebrating this milestone with us. As a veteran of the Festival would you please share with us some of your memories of the Festival?

A- Of all the festivals in which I’ve been privileged to tell, Timpanogos best fulfills the promise of a “family event.” I love the wide mix of age groups that you see in the audience and on the stage. You have young children listening as older children tell; teenagers and college students telling. There’s juggling, and playing music, and presenting puppet plays; parents and grandparents cheering the young folks and also sharing stories. Everyone is involved in every way!

Q- What is one piece of advice you could give our young tellers or anyone who would like to share their stories?

A- I like to think of stories as wonderful treasures or marvelous discoveries that are best shared with others. Whether you sing, speak, or dance, generosity of spirit is essential to good storytelling. Love the story enough to treasure it, love your audience enough to share your treasure with them. Don’t worry about yourself—Will my voice shake? Will I mess up? Will they like me? Just love your story and love the people who have come to listen. Storytelling is an act of love!

Q- Our theme this year is Timeless Tales. In what way do you think storytelling is timeless or timely?

A- Timeless Tales! Oh, that makes me think of so many classics—Moses’s Pentateuch, the four New Testament Gospels, Arabian Nights, The Brothers Grimm, the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Aesop’s Fables, Mother Goose, Robin Hood Legends, Stories from Dickens and Twain, the Greek myths, Norse legends, and Cinderella. We mustn’t forget Cinderella! So many stories! So many voices! And yet one message—See! Hear! Wonder! (I’ll try to come back down to earth in time for the 30th annual Festival!)

Join us September 5-7, 2019 for the 30th Anniversary of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival at The Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.

Getting to Know Sam Payne

Getting to Know Sam Payne

Sam Payne 1Sam Payne, hailing from right here in Utah, is a stellar teller of stories and songs. Each time I hear him I am impressed with his skill and abilities.  A writer, teller, teacher, and radio personality we are happy to have him with us at the festival again this year to share his unique performances with us.


1. What is the first story you remember hearing and/or the first story you remember telling?

The first story I remember hearing was Danny Kaye’s musical version of “The Ugly Duckling” from the soundtrack to the movie musical Hans Christian Andersen. I must have listened to it a thousand times. When I was six, in the middle of a bout of stage fright over serving as the ring bearer at my aunt’s wedding, my mom put her hands on my shoulders in the church cloakroom and said I’d be fine as long as I remembered to walk down the aisle like the swan at the end of the Ugly Duckling story I loved, “…with his head so noble and high.” I survived my gig as the ring bearer. That may be when I learned what good medicine stories can be.

The first story I remember telling was an original crime noir piece about a big-city gumshoe on the trail of an international criminal named Bordeaux. I wrote it when I was eight or nine. My mom brought home an old thrift-store typewriter for us bored kids to take apart one summer afternoon. Instead I began a novel. I got through two-and-a-half typewritten pages before I conked out. Some people carry good-luck charms of one kind or another. I carry those two-and-a-half typewritten pages. If you see me with my shoulder bag, ask me. They’re in there.

2. How was the seed of storytelling planted in your life?

My folks shipped my brother and me off to my grandparents’ house in the Bay Area for three weeks one summer when we were small. Every night of that visit, after my grandmother tucked us into bed, my grandfather sat in a chair and read to us from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I love my grandfather, but he’s a crotchety, disapproving, dictatorial old Greek, and there was an enormous gulf between him and us kids. The nightly reading of Huckleberry Finn drew us out in love for one another. Later, when I was in high school, he mailed me a VHS copy of Igor Stravinski’s strange and wonderful work “The Soldier’s Tale,” animated by R. O. Blechman, and it happened again. I think it was through those rare exchanges with my grandfather that I learned how stories can help people find their way to each other.

3. Where does storytelling grow from here? How do you want to see storytelling influencing society?

Fueled by the incredible experiences that people continue to have at festivals like Timpanogos, people are going home and inviting loved ones together to share stories in smaller, more intimate spaces. It’s the era of coffee house storytelling shows and living-room storytelling parties. It’s an era in which prisons and hospitals and churches and at-risk youth programs are trusting storytelling to do the heavy lifting in their incredibly important work. There’s a phrase I like to use: “Never be afraid to think small.” It comes from observing the career of my father, a folksinger who, in the early 1970’s, made record albums of his own music and sold them from door to door. While other artists were working on opportunities to play stadiums, my dad hung on for years to an artistic lifestyle that allowed him to look into the eyes of just about everyone who heard a song or bought an album. What a wonderful thing it is that the storytelling revival of the last half-century has built the kind of bonfire from which people are carrying away embers and lighting fires of their own, across which they can look into the very eyes of the people who are listening.

4. If you needed to start a dance party, what song would you lead with?

Oh my. Much to my chagrin I’m the guy who, just when people are hankering for “Dancing Queen,” suggests “Grapefruit Moon” by Tom Waits. I don’t get invited to a lot of dance parties. Maybe “Magdalena” by Brandon Flowers. I’m listening to it right now. That song just kills me.

Don’t miss out on seeing Sam at this year’s Festival. For more information about Sam’s schedule and the Festival, visit:

Getting to Know Donald Davis

Getting to Know Donald Davis

14_LH_Timp Fest 2014 - 80aOne would be hard-pressed to find someone connected to the festival who has not heard Donald Davis. He is a stalwart, veteran teller and integral part of the festival. I distinctly remember listening to and loving his stories during my first years at the festival as a child and continuing to enjoy his storytelling throughout my life. Now that I am grown with a young family of my own I am excited to share his stories with my own children. He truly is the king of storytelling today and we are happy to share a bit more about him with you today.


  1.  What is the first story you remember hearing and/or the first story you remember telling?


There were so many stories in the family in my childhood, I can’t figure out what was first.  I think the first story I ever told was the family story about my Uncle Frank’s foxhound.  It ran away from home and they found it two months in Baltimore, MD.  It was in a used clothing store barking at an old fox-fur coat…but the story took thirty minutes to tell.


  1. How was the seed of storytelling planted in your life?

When we went visiting the relatives, there was no television or anything else to do, so, the adults visited and the children listened.  I loved it!  I didn’t know it was called “storytelling.”


  1. Where does storytelling grow from here? How do you want see storytelling influencing society?


I hope families will incorporate their own stories more fully into their family lives.  When we know our stories, we know who we are, what we want to preserve, and where we want to go forward with our lives based on our own past.


  1. If you needed to start a dance party, what song would you lead with?


I would start a dance party with The Twist.  It is joyful and so easy that no one needs to know anything at all to join.  Just get up and twist!


For more on Donald’s schedule at this year’s Festival, visit:


Congratulations to Kaleidoscope Pictures

Congratulations to Kaleidoscope Pictures


We love our sponsors!  Timpanogos Storytelling simply would not survive without them.

kp 200x200

Today, we would like to congratulate our superstar sponsor, Kaleidoscope Pictures.  They were just awarded a Regional Emmy in the category Arts/Entertainment – Program/Special for their program with BYU Broadcasting, The Song That Changed My Life: Howard Jones.


According to their website, “The Song That Changed My Life is a chance for artists to tell the story they want to tell, to reach beyond the typical gossip and “how did you pick your band name?” questions. It’s their chance to take us backstage, back home, down the creative well and into their roots.” If you haven’t yet checked out this show you really should. It is a great way to get down to the core of some great people making some great music. See more at:


Kaleidoscope first connected with Timpanogos Storytelling in 2011 when they went out to scenic Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, to film What’s Your Story? A Donald Davis Workshop.  They filmed the workshop process, the amazing participants, and of course, the storyteller.  Along the way, they fell in love with storytelling, and have been a generous sponsor ever since.  They have given countless hours of filming, production, and support through the past several years, always going above and beyond what we could hope to ask for.


To Adam, Russ, and all our friends at Kaleidoscope Pictures, congratulations!


Encounter at the Library – Part Two

Encounter at the Library – Part Two

Facebook Hauntings Contest FinaleI tried to warn them, but they came anyway, all 24 contestants came and told their scary stories during the preliminary round. All seemed to be going well; no sign of danger anywhere. The stories were creative and fantastic. The judges and I agreed that time was flying by and we were entertained as was the audience. Then we heard a rushing sound coming from the north side of the room as the giant mass of red goo swept through the Storytelling Wing of the Orem Public Library like a flash flood. What was I supposed to do? I had no weapons? It’s not like I had time to call a chemist or biology teacher to find out what I could use to dissolve a giant gelatinous amoeba.


It took them, it took them all. It took all of the contestants and then smashed out the south door. I just watched helplessly as they disappeared. I should have done my homework to protect them; but now it was too late. Wait! It didn’t take them all! I could see nine contestants still standing. They were marked with red stains across their faces that said, “Scary”. That’s it! Their stories were scary enough to scare the monster away!


Ryan Bell

Steve Gashler

Ginger Parkinson

Adam Broud

Hannah Dunaway

Vance Mellen

Daniel Bishop

Teresa Gashler

David Bullock


All of these were spooky enough to ward off the ooze. I’d better follow the slime trail and see if I can tell the others the secret of how to save themselves.


(note: Adam Ashton had previously qualified for the final round but has gone missing under some very mysterious and slimy circumstances.)

If you missed it: Encounter at the Library pt. 1

Timpanogos Storytelling Institute
957 East 70 South
Lindon, UT 84042

Email us Here

We respect your privacy and do not tolerate spam and will never sell, rent, lease or give away your information (name, address, email, etc.) to any third party.