JSG Welcomes Special Guests

Andy Offutt Irwin

May 3, 2022

Storyteller, humorist, musician, public speaker, educator, whistler, show-off.

Ed Stivender

May 10, 2022

Ed Stivender has been called “the Robin Williams of storytelling.” Since 1977, when he left his day job as a teacher and turned to storytelling full-time, Stivender has fabulated his way around the globe at major storytelling festivals and in other settings.

Donna Washington

May 17, 2022

Donna has performed at thousands of schools & libraries and numerous storytelling festivals throughout the country. 

Andy Hedges

May 24,2022

Andy Hedges is a songster, reciter, storyteller, guitarist, and collector of cowboy songs and poems. The son of an Italian schoolteacher and a rodeo cowboy turned preacher, Andy was born in Lubbock, Texas, in the spring of 1980. He grew up in the small community of Tokio, Texas, where his family paid rent on an old farmhouse by looking after a few head of cattle. It was there that Andy fell in love with traditional music by listening to his father’s cassettes of cowboy songs.

Pippa White

May 31

Pippa White’s One’s Company Productions have taken her to conferences, festivals and performing arts centers in over 30 states. Her performances, which appeal to a wide range of audiences, connect viewers with immigrant stories in Voices from Ellis Island and The Story of the Orphan Train, pioneer stories in Far as the Eye Can See, war stories in Voices from the Resistance and Saints, Soldiers, and Spies, women’s stories in her new production 72 Years to Women’s Suffrage, and stories of great reformers in Angels and Troublemakers and Women Who Made a Difference.

Mark Mahoney

April 26, 2022

Mark Mahoney is a blues musician residing in the Kingsport area. He has played in many venues in the Tri-Cities, and he is most noted for his guitar work as well as soulful voice. Mahoney's repertoire ranges from Delta Blues slide guitar to classic blues from Memphis and Chicago. He also loves to play music of the Rolling Stones. Mahoney currently works in Hawkins County as an 8th Grade Language Arts teacher. Before teaching, Mahoney was a professional news photographer  [email protected]

Vianna Isbister

April 19, 2022

Vianna graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and minors in Dance and Storytelling from ETSU. She enjoyed it so much, she is back at ETSU working on a Master of Arts in Communication and Storytelling Studies. Vianna is passionate about blending performance mediums and uncovering the story within each piece of art. She enjoys looking at life as though every new opportunity thrown her way is a potential story and piece of art. Other interests include reading everything she can get her hands on (including academic journals), watching excess amounts of Youtube, and tabletop roleplaying games.

Wenny Elrod

April 19, 2022

Wenny Elrod (storyteller) earned her masters degree in Literacy Education with a focus in Storytelling at East TN State University (ETSU). She is co-founder of Mountain Empire Literacy Outreach (MELO). Wenny believes that stories and songs are the most effective bonding and teaching tools for family, church, and community. She also strives to provide the opportunity of inclusion for all people interested in community activities, and events.

Michelle Hackett 

April 19, 2022

Michelle Hackett learned American Sign Language (ASL) and earned her Dietetics BS at Brigham Young University (BYU). She attended Ohio State University (OSU) for her Human Nutrition MS program and PhD in International Nutrition. Michelle also attended classes in Spanish and Portugues. She is fluent in all three languages. She interprets weekly for the deaf at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in other public venues. She recommends https://aslrochelle.com for those who might be interested in an introduction to sign language. 

Janet Tuvek

April 19, 2022

Janet Tuvek graduated from Tennessee School for the Deaf, Knoxville (TSD) and attended Gallaudet University majoring in social work. She recently retired from the Physical Therapy Department at Mountain Home VA. Janet loves dogs, music, stories, and good jokes. She has been ASL interpreting songs and stories with Wenny during their 50 years friendship.

Chloe Suarez

March 22, 2022

Chloe is 12 year old and homeschooled. Her passion is music and helping people, especially little ones.

Kelle Jolly

March 1, 2022

"The Tennessee Ukulele Lady", is an accomplished music entertainer and educator. She shares musical stories and songs from the South. Her repertoire includes traditional African American music of blues, jazz, spirituals, and folk. Kelle is a graduate of South Carolina State University, where she studied Music Education with Concentrations in Voice. Kelle is the 2011 Mountain Soul Vocal competition winner and the Knoxville Community Shares 2013 Artist of the Year. Kelle Jolly is the host of Jazz Jam, Knoxville's only vocal jazz radio show, on WUOT 91.9FM. She is the founder of the Women in Jazz Jam Festival and Ukesphere of Knoxville. Kelle and her saxophonist husband, Will Boyd, have served as ambassadors of jazz from Tennessee to Japan. They are Knoxville MLK Commission Artist Award recipients. In 2021, the City of Knoxville proclaimed July 21st, "Kelle Jolly and Will Boyd" Day in Knoxville, TN. Kelle Jolly is currently a graduate student in the Communication and Storytelling Studies program at East Tennessee State University, pursuing her Master of Arts degree. .