Performing Members Directory
Catherine Yael is a native of Asheville and spent much of her life in Western North Carolina-- most recently in Waynesville. She is a product of a private Catholic girls’ academy education and degrees granted by 5 public and private universities: UNC-Asheville, Mars Hill University, UNC-Greensboro, NC State University, NC A & T University, and the Seminary at Beacon University, encompassing programs from concert piano, 20th Century European History and Political Science to Counseling and Theology. Catherine is a lifelong learner currently enrolled at ETSU to study Appalachian heritage and storytelling in spring 2020. She is celebrating her 48th year as a deliverer of human services, presently as a community mental health therapist in Johnson City. A singer of blessings and liturgy at her Shul, she is expanding proficiency in Hebrew and Yiddish and plans to serve the Israeli Defense Forces through the Sar El volunteer program in spring 2020.
She remembers some of her happiest times as accompanying her professor mother on collecting trips in the forests of the Southern Highlands, back-packing in Europe, spending total immersion summers with a French family in Grenoble, France, serving on gubernatorial committees in Raleigh NC writing legislation to fund programs serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and the 25 years she owned and operated Glenfiddich Christmas Tree Farm and Nursery in Haywood County, NC where she designed and built a hand-hewn poplar log house.
Her personal philosophy of life is promoting “Tikkun Olam” wherever she goes, delivering acts of kindness and assistance performed to perfect/ repair the world; a concept found in a body of classical rabbinic teaching, the “Mishnah”. Catherine’s hobbies include “voracious reading”, gardening, landscaping, international travel, gourmet cooking, and “go-look-see-trips”. She is a whole-hearted “Cat Lady” having welcomed a long line of Siamese cats in lieu of human children. She has been blissfully married to Wallace Shealy since April 2019.I could hear the chuckles growing behind me as people realized what was going to happen. Little Bobby would be proud and so was I.— Gwenda Ledbetter
Her stories paint vivid pictures of childhood and heritage. Having discovered her Jewish heritage after her parents’ passing, she has been eagerly developing stories to celebrate her ancestry as an Ashkenazi Jew of Eastern European decent. She is currently working on a master project that will yield a complex series of stories detailing the village life of an imagined pre-World War II Jewish shtetl in Eastern Poland and the Ukraine. This project honors unknown and voiceless relatives lost in the Holocaust. Another project underway focuses on stories from the Cumberland Plateau of Eastern Kentucky. Her storytelling portfolio contains tales of Appalachian historical, folk, tall tales, personal vignettes, and literary masterpieces seasoned with humor. Learning the hammered dulcimer and the psalter are adding another dimension to her storytelling.I Love Your Stories!— Connie Regan-Blake
A lifelong writer of stories, she was first published in the UNC-Asheville “Laurel” at age 12. Her love of storytelling has emerged and grown during many trips as a listener to the National Storytelling festival and fostered by Tellers in residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough TN. She has sharpened her skills under the tutelage of Donald Davis, Adam Booth, Elizabeth Ellis, Geraldine Buckley, Antônio Rocha, and Kim Weitkamp Gum and deeply appreciates mentoring time spent with Gwenda Ledbetter. She has told at Asheville’s Front Porch, TELLABRATION!™, house concerts, synagogues, the Hendersonville Center for Art and Inspiration, corporate and therapeutic venues. In addition to JSG, she is a member of the National Storytelling Network, NC Guild and the Asheville Storytelling Circle
David Joe is the former staff storyteller for the National Storytelling Association in Jonesborough, TN. In 1994 he created the Jonesborough Storytelling Guild. He tours the United States and internationally. Previous audiences include Disney, Smithsonian, Library of Congress, Philips Medical, World Bank, Shell Oil, The Nature Conservancy and former Vice President Al Gore and family. He has toured school districts all across the country offering single performances as well as week long writing residencies. Currently David Joe lives in Asheville, NC. where he is the executive producer of Black Box Storytelling Theater and David Joe Miller Presents! He's a dynamic storyteller on stage and an extremely talented presenter in the boardroom.
David Joe Miller, StorytellerAsheville, NC. davidjoemiller.com storytellingcalendar.com Types of stories: Folk tales, personal stories, and scary stories. Preferred settings: Festivals, family gatherings, corporate and business events, schools and libraries
With a twinkle in her eye, Judy Donley describes her stories as “practically true…at least in my mind!”
She grew up in a large family of 12 children in Massachusetts who, with encouragement from their father, would share stories at the dinner table. “What did you learn today?” or “What did you do today that was interesting?” were common questions from Dad. The answers were sometimes funny, sometimes informative, and sometimes even scary. But it was part of their life…a way of communicating in those formative years. Looking back, she is thankful for her fascinating and close family and also for the many friends who have enriched her life by instilling in her a love of telling stories.
Her life has literally been full of adventures that she is looking forward to telling from the stage…such as joining the U.S. Air Force, marrying her husband, Jeff, who later joined the Navy as an intelligence officer (aka a spy), and their many escapades. She has lived in many states including New York, Maine, Maryland, and Alaska, and also Scotland and Guam. She and Jeff have always enjoyed traveling, which took her to many other states and countries.
But no matter where she has lived or traveled, she found that every place has its own beauty and magic. Every place offers adventures – all you have to do is reach out and experience it…and she did. She has flown airplanes, rode on motorcycles, gone scuba diving and sailing, worked at several airports and for a couple of airlines, and even built a robot.
When not telling stories, Judy is immersed in art. She is an award-winning artist and enjoys painting in a variety of media such as watercolor, pastels, oil, pen & ink, and acrylics.
Types of stories: Historical, Family,Original/Creative, Humorous, Adventure, Personal, Inspirational/ Religious, Women in Aviation, Military
Preferred Audience: Adults, Mixed Ages
Preferred Settings: Churches, Festivals, Civic Organizations, Businesses, Workshops, Schools
Linda Poland, Jonesborough's Resident Storyteller, also called "The Jonesborough Flame," teaches storytelling at the John C. Campbell Folk School and is a founding member of the Jonesborough Storytellers' Guild. Using her talents as a storyteller she was one of the first in the country to use of the art of storytelling when developing tours to share a town's history. She has created award winning historical storytelling tour programs and directed Tennessee Humanities oral history projects throughout Tennessee and beyond. Because of these accomplishments she was officially honored in 1997 with the title of Resident Storyteller for the Town of Jonesborough, TN. This was and is quite an honor since Jonesborough is the home of the International Storytelling Center and the National Storytelling Festival. A Resident Storyteller is like a public minister in a foreign court that uses the art of storytelling to craft stories about people and places they represent.
Linda not only teaches storytelling, but she conducts a variety of workshops throughout the country that incorporate the use of storytelling for "Opening Doors for Change," "Empowerment Through Stories," and "Building Teams and Enhancing Teamwork Through Stories." She has both original and traditional material, which enables her to custom design programs to fit any agenda. Her repertoire includes a multitude of stories collected over the years while traveling, teaching and telling.
There's so much more to tell…for instance, Linda was born in a Florida avocado grove two weeks early and delivered by her father. That's perhaps one of the reasons people who know her think that she steps to the toot of a different flute…but that's another story.
Quotes shared by some listeners:
"Ms. Poland's use of story creates a positive atmosphere for making necessary changes." L. Mandel, Springer & Associates, Miami, FL
"Linda's dedication, creativity, infectious enthusiasm, and love for the human spirit are evident in everything she does." Katie Doman, Musician & Storyteller
"I can say with confidence that Linda Poland and Positive Solutions Tours have-through the power of the told story-been major forces in "selling" our region to people throughout the nation." Jimmy Neil Smith, President, International Storytelling Center
"When I first heard Linda introduced as "The Flame" I thought it was because of her red hair. I was soon to learn it was because of her style. Her stories burn into your memory and ignite your senses." Pat Corkin, Boone, NC
References available on request.
Types of stories: Historical, Appalachian, Family, Scary, Original/Creative, Humorous, Adventure, Personal, Inspirational/ Religious, World War II
Preferred Audience: Adults, Mixed Ages
Preferred Settings: Churches, Hospitals, Festivals, Civic Organizations, Businesses, Workshops, Schools
Special Talents: Costumed Characterization
Joy Salberg aka Joy the Braided Teller Joy’s personal voyage has brought her from the tenements of the Lower East Side of New York, to the Edenwald Housing Projects in the Bronx, to the rocky shores of eastern Long Island, to the gulf coast of Florida---and to the gentle hills of Jonesborough, Tennessee. She has been a teacher, a job coach, a union leader, a musician, an actress, a hiker, a ballroom dancer---as well as a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Mix this full life together---with passion, perseverance, love and wonder---with a dash of laughter and a sprinkle of tears---and Joy has taken on her new life’s role as The Braided Teller.
Joy has a Masters Certificate in Storytelling at ETSU. She has studied with Elizabeth Ellis, Doug Lipman, David Novack, and Shonaleigh Cumbers.
In Florida, she has performed at Tellabration, and at the Florida Storytelling Festival. In Tennessee, she has performed at the NSF Festival Swapping Grounds, Walter State College, and the Umoja Festival in Johnson City; she tells regularly at the Story Slams in Johnson City and at the Crumley House.
Joy loves to tell inspirational stories of hope and love---and of belief in the future (fairy tales, folktales and personal tales from her varied and full life). She believes that all is possible. “If you believe it, then it will be.”
Contact her at
Types of stories: All
All settings and audiences
Molly Catron started her career at Eastman Chemical Company (Eastman Kodak) in the early eighties as an analytical chemist. After a few years, she was appointed manager over a large analytical laboratory and was told to “empower” them. This experience resulted in a career change where she continued to work on cultural change on the division level, the corporate level and ultimately on the global level of the company as an organizational change agent.
She worked to develop leaders and teams to enable them to succeed in the Information Age and her approach was strongly influenced by the work of organizational development expert's at MIT, where she attended workshops and conferences. But beyond what she has read or studied, she is influenced by what she found to be effective in a “real life” sitting and now pulls from her twenty years of experience inside a large organization.
While working with groups, Molly recognized the effectiveness of stories when teaching complex organizational concepts and more importantly when trying to build relationships between people. She believes most of the problems in organizations are a result of not connecting as human beings. Stories provide a powerful way to connect and establish relationships. Her interest in and use of story in organizational change led to her representing Eastman in “think tanks” at the International Storytelling Center where she worked with practitioners from other organizations (IBM, Disney, Harvard University, Capitol One, World Bank, etc.) to study the use of story in business.
In August, 2001, Molly retired from Eastman Chemical to pursue her interest in storytelling. She has a Masters in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University. This multidisciplinary study crossed over the departments of Education, Business, Psychology, and Performance Arts providing a broader understanding of how and why story works and knowledge of how other disciplines use story.
Presently, she divides her time between consulting, research, and stage performance. Her client list include IBM, St. Jude Medical Research, Capsugel, Toray Plastics, Nuclear Fuel Services, Fruit of the Loom, BIC, United Way of America, LGE, First Quality, United States Geological Society, Pickens Country School System, Lord Fairfax Community College System and others.
She serves on the Board of the National Storytelling Network as the Southeast Regional Director and is a member of the Brimstone Grant Committee for applied storytelling. She is a performing member of the Jonesborough Storyteller’s Guild and has performed across the states and in Europe and Asia.
Areas of storytelling application:Understanding Beliefs, Values and Assumptions Team Development Root Cause Discovery Teaching Complex Principles Shared Visioning Leadership Communication Discovery Learning Leadership Development Learning Histories Cultural Awareness / Voice Theatre Stimulating Dialogue
Her workshops are upbeat and filled with “real life” application stories from her experience inside the organization where she was responsible for getting results and stimulating lasting change.mollywcatron.com
Types of stories: All All settings and audiences
Growing up in a Christian home on a farm in East Tennessee has given Rebecca the background to write and tell stories that will make you laugh and cry all in the same moment. Your imagination will soar to places you have never been and take you to places you've forgotten.
Rebecca received her BA degree from Milligan College in English, Sociology/Psychology, and a M.Ed. in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University. Her performances include the Barter Theater, NSA Festival (Swapping Ground), Emmanuel School of Religion, East Tennessee State University, Tellabration, and Lake Junaluska, N.C. She also performs at civic organizations, conferences, nursing homes, restaurants, libraries, numerous churches and a host of schools. Rebecca is also a regular at Dillworth Diner on Tuesday nights.
As a wife, mother, high school English teacher and eleven years as a national sales manager for a large electronics corporation, Rebecca shares bits of her experiences in her stories. Rebecca will capture your heart, lift your spirit, and motivate you to your highest through her many stories:Personal Stories Sacred Stories Biblical Characterizations Straight Scripture Telling Appalachian Stories Poetry, Fables & Legends Humorous Stories Scary Stories Motivational Stories.
Rebecca can create a workshop designed especially for your school or organization. She has led workshops from "Storytelling in Ministry" for seminary students to "How to Tell Stories" for an elementary school. She also specializes in motivational speaking.
Types of stories: Family, Children's, Humorous, Personal, Inspirational/ Religious Preferred Audience: Teens, Adults, Mixed ages
Preferred Settings: Churches, Hospitals, Assisted Living Facilities, Festivals, Civic Organizations, Businesses
Special Talents: In costume for Biblical stories
In 2016 when Betty Ann Polaha signed up to audit a storytelling class, she never dreamed that three years later she would have earned a storytelling certificate and would be named Outstanding Storyteller Performer at East Tennessee State University.
Betty Ann was always a storyteller coming from a large family with lots of women who sat around the kitchen table telling stories. Betty Ann always thought they were just gossiping but upon moving to Tennessee she discovered that her relations were actually storytelling and that it was a genuine art and a career choice she wanted to pursue.
In 2017 Betty Ann became a member of the Jonesborough Storyteller’s Guild where she performs all kinds of stories that are impactful, poignant and purposeful. Her personal and original stories have unexpected comedy and her original ghost stories will have you on the edge of your seat.
Betty Ann was chosen to tell stories at the 2017 ETSU Donor Dinner where she told railroad stories to over 150 people. She also performed a one women show about the immigrants who came to work at the steel mills at the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem Pa. Betty Ann tells wherever she gets the chance whether it’s a story slam, school, nursing home, civic group or most recently at the bedside of hospital patients.
Types of stories: All
All settings and audiences
Libby Tipton is a professional sign language interpreter from Flag Pond, TN. Having deaf parents, she was always a natural communicating other people’s stories through her hands. However, she now tells her own stories about life in a colorful deaf Appalachian family.
Dubbed the “Mountain Terp Teller”, Libby utilizes a combination of sign, gesture, and voice to tell stories about her culture, her subculture and her roots. She also enjoys telling folktales, fairytales, stories of healing, historical stories, and singing the old ballads.
In addition, Libby has provided sign language interpreting for deaf audiences at a number of storytelling venues and is a member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild.
Libby is currently the Interpreter Coordinator at East Tennessee State University where she works with students who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For more information, email Libby at: .
Types of Stories: Jack Tales, Historical, Tall Tales, Appalachian, Family, Scary, Children's, Original/Creative, Humorous, Personal, Inspirational/ Religious
All audiences and settings
Special Talents: American Sign Language .
Folk Art Center—TELLABRATION!™Wallace Shealy "It is no surprise to me he has been telling tales since he could talk
and I often had to warm his rear for it."
— Wallace's Dad
Wallace was born in Aiken, SC but since has lived all over. From Dallas and Detroit to Silicon Valley while he managed system engineers, developed training and new technology at Ross Perot’s EDS and GM. He used to enjoy annual trips to Golden, CO to IBM Publishing, where he really went to enjoy another passion — eating at a favorite spot the Briarwood Inn. He was featured in Modern Technology in a story about his advances in publishing using IBM’s BookMaster and GDDM which were forerunners of today’s web tools like HTML5.
Pastor Shealy served congregations in Waco, Montgomery, Shreveport, and Williamsburg plus a call to the Church Planter’s Network. Many of his parishioners will tell you he could spin a biblical story or one about them. This led in 2010 to his becoming the Southeast Bold-Faced Liar Champion telling a bible story about the swine-flu, gaining him recognition from Google to CDC. You will have to ask him about that, but others said;The Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast by jury in 2010 declared Shealy - the Bold-Faced Liar Champion
With a twinkle in his eye, Shealy said, “of course I embellished the truth slightly.” The Mountain Xpress said in their opinion “Shealy exaggerates more than slightly.” The Tribune revealed that this upstanding local had been caught lying. It doesn’t matter if he is recalling a tale from his childhood, telling a story based on the Good Book or spinning a yarn you will be delighted listening to him stretch the truth all out of proportion. Shealy was the most original creative liar of the day.— Michael Reno Harrell
Biblical Storytellers are not ready for Shealy's "Bible" Stories.— Donna Marie Todd - Editor Biblical Storytelling Magazine
Stories on Asheville's Front PorchShealy has told stories at festivals, churches, community groups, and living rooms, actually any place one would come and, “set a spell.” From Asheville’s Front Porch to the Hague. He dabbles in magic to entertain and often emcees. He spent much of his life telling stories in camps from Lutheridge near Asheville, Old Indian in Traveler’s Rest and Lynwood Hayne in GA. His credentials as an Eagle Scout and camp director were quite impressive in the day. After his undergraduate days at The University of South Carolina, the “Original land grant university in South Carolina” as he says in another story he went on to degrees at North Texas and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.
2014 JSG @ ISCIn the early 80’s while he was home in Johnson City his brother gave him a ticket to a little festival in Jonesborough to get him out of his hair. Now, for more than 30 years he has made the trek back to Jonesborough to work behind the scenes at the National Storytelling Festival every year. In 2007 family care called him to be closer to home and he settled in Weaverville, outside Asheville. As president of the Asheville Storytelling Circle he and Saundra Kelly, then president of JSG, established a storytelling exchange where he developed a friendship with many of our long-time tellers and first appeared in the Gazebo with ghost stories and on the ISC stage.
In April 2019 he married Catherine Yeal Serota and they moved to Flag Pond and it was time to be a part of the Guild and now a Performing Member.
A love story and this place called him back. Watch for more of their contributions to come to the wall outside the International Storytelling Center Theater before festival.
Flag Pond, Tennessee 37657
Types of stories: Stories for all ages primarily Middle School to Adult.
Preferred Settings: All (libraries, festivals, civic organizations, businesses, schools, assisted living facilities, etc) Special Talents: Historical and authentic character portrayals, and magic.
Memberships:Asheville Storytelling Circle - Past President Jonesborough Storyteller's Guild - Performing Member NC Storyteller's Guild National Storytellers Network
Upcoming Performances:The Center for Art and Inspiration - August 1 7:00pm
Appearances:Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast and Festival Stories on Asheville's Front Porch Smith-McDowell House Folk Art Center on Blue Ridge Parkway - Tellabration University of North Carolina, Asheville University of South Carolina The Center for Art and Inspiration Flat Rock Theater - Downtown Hendersonville Aiken Community Theater Pack Place - Diana Wortham Theater Malaprops Independent Bookstore, Asheville, NC Saint Paul's Lutheran, Aiken, SC, Joan of Arc, First Baptist and many other churches Community Centers of Roscraggens and Ox Creek among other community groups Reuter Center | Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Toe River Festival Do-Tell Festival, Hendersonville, NC Vance Birthplace Kanuga Retreat Center Wild Acres Mount Pisgah Camp Linwood-Hayne (now Knox), Georgia-Carolina Council BSA Camp Old Indian, Travelers Rest-Greenville, SC Lutheridge and Luther Rock Briarwood - Flower Mound, TX Sky Ranch Jonga Java and other coffee houses Pisgah Ranch Christ School Aiken Elementary Aiken Public Library Christ Lutheran Saint Matthew Holy Trinity North Buncombe Middle and many other schools Weaverville and Pack Libraries and others Music and Mud Festival Biblical Storytellers - "Lite the Fire"
Favorite Stories:Duvall Scott's and Hot Steel Balls by Jerry Clower with permission Jack Tales - Northwest Wind and others The Lie - Biblical Origins of the Swine Flu Shoe Story Cherry Red Corvette - Revisited with acknowledgements to John McCutchen for inspiration Disloyalty and the Big Game and other Dad Stories Cain and Abel - Emergency Brakes for Two Year Olds Little Bunny Foo Foo Oswald the Rabbit Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore a dramatic reading Grinch Stole Christmas by Theodor Seuss Geisel, "Dr. Seuss" a dramatic reading Samuel's Gift Meteu's Legend Olympic Eating Team Ode to Saint Angela Like Father Like Son Eagle and Prairie Chicken Ruth's Last Days Wedding Presents Buck Dog Institute a tribute to Lepp and Liars everywhere Conrad's Visitor Noah Gone Fishing a traditional tale Grandfather Tales Faith Bot v3.16 Damien 1st Paragraph Page 31 Pharaoh Mrs Muckenfuss Deborah Scripture Telling
Growing up in Sin City, without cable television, Tony cultivated a life of adventure and imagination. These adventures would become the inspiration for stories that would capture the imagination of audiences around the world. A literal Master Storyteller (seriously he has a masters degree in storytelling!), Tony has spent years captivating audiences with his larger than life tales. As an award winning speaker/storyteller he has engaged hundreds of audiences with stories of humor, hope and history. From unbelievable adventures that will have you wondering how he is still alive, to the untold stories of American History and Scripture, Tony immerses his audience in an imaginative world that you never want to leave. His writings have been published in numerous publications for print and web. As a vision and story expert, he has spent over a decade helping organizations discover their personal and corporate story.
“Tony is a master of linguistics. Painting pictures with words that immerse you into his stories.” – M. Baker, Editor, VIP Seen Magazine
Types of stories: personal stories, inspirational
Preferred settings: Any
Preferred audience: All
Having grown up in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York, then spending fifteen years in the city of Detroit and finally settling in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee, has nurtured in Tama the ability to see life from a variety of perspectives. Through her vivid imagination, expressive manner and colorful use of language she touches the minds and hearts of listeners through story.
Tama’s work history has reflected variety as well. Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Keuka College, she started in community mental health. She then progressed into finance, first in the health care industry and now in automotive manufacturing. Meanwhile, she and her husband raised two sons and now enjoy three grandsons. With the empty nest upon her, Tama has embarked upon the journey to earn a Master’s Degree in Communication – Storytelling at East Tennessee University. The theme of variety pervades storytelling for Tama as well.
She tells all kinds of stories from folktales, to Jack tales, personal stories, historical stories and a collection of original stories she calls stories that simply need to be told. This later group is focused on raising awareness of social and societal issues. Additionally, she has garnered an assortment of tall tales she calls Tom Tales, all based on stories she heard from her father, Tom. Tama shares the story journey in a multitude of venues including retirement homes, rehabilitation facilities, Tellebration, Swapping Grounds at the National Storytelling Festival, various local festivals, schools and churches.
Types of stories: Folk tales, personal stories, fairy tales, Jack tales Preferred settings: Any Preferred audience: All
Mary grew up in the Midwest as the youngest member of a loud and dramatic family of dinner-table storytellers who used celery stalks for microphones and silverware for sound effects. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, Mary continued her acting training in London. Mary has worked as an actress, drama coach and theatre instructor, while writing, directing, and producing plays for children.
Mary’s interest in teaching also extended to the academic classroom. She earned a master’s degree in education from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York and worked as an elementary school teacher in Stamford, Connecticut, and three different school districts in California. She was recognized as 2009 Teacher of the Year for San Luis Obispo County, California.
Mary discovered storytelling while teaching first grade in San Miguel, California. An instructor from Cal Poly University led a twelve-week, all-school storytelling project at her school. The experience of storytelling was so powerful for Mary and her students that she was eager to learn more. At the time, the instructor was enrolled in the storytelling master’s program at ETSU and encouraged Mary to apply. She did, and graduated with a master’s degree in storytelling in 2018.
While teaching full-time and pursuing her storytelling studies, Mary was a frequent teller at festivals, schools, libraries, theaters, and parks along the northern California coast. During summer trips to ETSU for coursework, Mary and her husband fell in love with Northeast Tennessee and moved to Jonesborough last August.
Mary’s intention as a performing member of JSG is to share the joy of storytelling with as wide a variety of audiences as possible.
Mary may be reached at: .
Types of stories: Folktales, personal, literary, historical, tall tales, ghost stories
Preferred settings: Festivals, schools, libraries, parks, family gatherings
Preferred audiences: Children, adults, families, mixed ages
Bruce was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His education was quite varied. He attended Indiana University and The University of Minnesota, and graduated from Minnesota Bible College for undergraduate school. His Seminary and graduate training included Emmanuel School of Religion, Earlham School of Religion, Christian Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Bowling Green State University where he completed his Ph.D. in Interpersonal and Public Communication. Bruce and Carol were married in 1968, and they have three children and nine grandchildren.
Bruce spent twenty-seven years in preaching ministry in Ohio, Indiana, and Texas. During those years he also used stories to teach speech classes at various colleges and universities. He loves to tell stories to make people laugh, imagine, learn, and encourage. He has been a Professor of Communications at Milligan College since 1995.
He has spoken at national and regional gatherings for Youth In Ministry and Higher Ministries. He loves telling stories: spiritual, Biblical, humorous, and personal stories that relate to his audiences.
Bruce Montgomery K. Bruce Montgomery, M.Div., Ph.D.
Professor of Communications
P.O. Box 500
Milligan College, TN 37682
Types of Stories: Historical, Family, Original/Creative, Humorous, Inspirational/ Religious
Preferred Audience: Adults, Mixed Ages
Preferred Settings: Churches, Hospitals, Festivals, Businesses, Workshops, Schools
"Once upon a time," my Grandfather would read to me, and I was totally enchanted. These fairy tales made perfect sense to me. The world that I lived in was full of magic: blossoms pushed out of the dead ground, rainbows spanned the sky, and every chicken provided a wish bone. Sometimes as I grew up, the line between fairy tale and my life became blurred. In Indiana I, too, was a princess awaiting discovery.
I was off on a grand adventure into the unknown. After my mother died when I was twenty, I graduated from college, sold everything I owned, and bought a one-way ticket to California for graduate school. No fairy tale heroine ever met more colorful characters than I did in Los Angeles in the 1970's.
My first teaching job took me appropriately to the "Land of Enchantment." As I taught Communication Education on the Indian pueblos, I learned about storytellers and stories which formed the texture of their culture. After several years, I went to another magical land famous for a castle, Hearst Castle. I taught at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for twelve years: performance of literature, storytelling, and readers theatre. The more I taught about storytelling, the more my passion grew to become a teller and share the wonderful stories, no longer commonly known, with new generations. Fairy tales still made the most sense to me. They provided a world view consistent with my own. Many events could not be explained except through magic. People, even the most unlikely people, often surprised me with their goodness and strength. Every one, regardless of status, struggled and had to overcome challenges which were often overwhelming. Help comes from the most unexpected places. Kindness is never ever wasted. The ones who can never repay you and cost you your last resources are often the best people to help.
Motherhood altered my dream, from a theoretical to a practicing storyteller. The addition of a little listener brought forth all my need to share, to open worlds, to enchant with "Once upon a time." I told stories in parks, churches, schools, and at birthday parties. My daughter's birthday parties had themes of great stories: Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland.
My adventure finally brought me to the heart of the art: Jonesborough, Tennessee. Fairy tales are the best way for me to connect hearts, to encourage dreams, to grow faith. As George MacDonald said, "My imagination was baptized and converted by reading fairy tales, the intellect came later."
I am celebrating the magic of storytelling in Jonesborough, reminding listeners by colorful re-telling of the excitement, wisdom, and joy found in fairy tales from all over the world.
Types of stories: All
All settings and audiences
Terry is a native of southwest Virginia. He has lived throughout the country and served in the United States Army. Terry has a bachelors of social work and has taken several theatre courses at East Tennessee State University in recent years. He has also performed in two student film projects including The Gatherers. Terry has performed stories for a number of places including the Crumley House, Christopher Taylor Cabin, Johnson City Adult Day Services Prior, and the Mountain Makins Festival where he was the Story Slam champion for 2017. Prior to this, he worked as an accident investigator for a local law firm. In addition to storytelling and acting, Terry enjoys fly fishing, target shooting and writing.
Some folks say that Judy was just naturally born talking and has never quit. She inherited her love of words and books from her writer mother and her appreciation of tall tales from her Father. Her inspiration for her “down home” stories come from a multitude of different, and possibly strange, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends and her earthy rural grandparents. Judy is a national award winning storyteller and has told stories from backyard picnics, to the “White House” on Pennsylvania Avenue. Whether sharing folk tales, fables, spiritual, historical, motivational, chilling stories or her heartwarming “Down Home Tales”, Judy’s warmth and energy shine through, having you laughing one minute and holding back a tear the next. She has traveled halfway across the world in search of finding and telling the perfect story. In addition to being a storyteller, Butterfly is also a professional clown, teacher and children’s entertainer. She may don a costume and include a touch of magic, face painting, balloons, music or puppets and ventriloquism in her stories, to the delight of her younger audiences. Butterfly’s Fun Company includes a long list of characters.
Judy “Butterfly” Farlow 1458 Willow Street Kingsport, Tennessee 37664
Types of stories: Endless and diverse stock for all ages. Specializing in personal and original stories of strong women, shivery scary tales and specialties for the holidays (Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween)
Preferred Settings: All (libraries, festivals, civic organizations, businesses, schools, assisted living facilities, etc)
Special Talents: Historical and authentic character portrayals, puppets and ventriloquism.