It 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!