Storytelling Concerts

American Sign Language Interpretation

Thursday, March 9, 2023

7:00 – 9:00 pm • Tales to Make You Tingle (Free admission)

Tellers: Fran Stallings, Sally Goodroe, Shayne Larango, Loren Niemi, Decee Cornish, David Brock, Fred Peters, and Jacqui Rash
Emcee: MaryAnn Blue

Fran Stallings teaches and tells nationwide and overseas. Her twenty-year partnership with traditional Japanese folkteller Hiroko Fujita led to four award-winning books of rare tales in English for the first time. The pair also received the NSN International StoryBridge Award for their work on both sides of the Pacific. Retired from teaching university biology, Dr. Stallings currently focuses on environmental storytelling as “EarthTeller.”

Sally Goodroe has been telling stories since 1986 with the Houston Storytellers Guild.  She is a librarian with the Houston Public Library. Sally is a long time active member of TSA and a recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award.

Shayne Larango is a Grand Mother (two words both capitalized), an aspiring comedian, active citizen of the democratic process, 2019 Second Biggest Liar in Kendall County, 2018 George West StoryFest Biggest Liar in Texas, 2016 Dallas Storytelling Guild Rising Star, 1986 T.E.E.N Texas Miss Congeniality. Larango has story told in Istanbul, Alaska, and all across the lower 48.

Loren Niemi has spent forty-four years as a professional storyteller. He creates, coaches, performs, teaches and writes about what it means to be human for audiences of all ages in urban and rural settings. From Fringe Festivals, cabarets, poetry and story slams to working with artists and social activists in immigrant and BIPOC communities, Loren tells the stories he lives. In 2016 he was recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s Lifetime Achievement award and in 2021 founded the American School of Storytelling, offering classes, performances, and resources dedicated to storytelling, poetry and other spoken narrative arts.

Decee Cornish is an award winning storyteller. He has informed, enlightened, and entertained audiences of all ages. His work with at-risk youth has been recognized by the Presidential Commission of Arts and Humanities. He is a five-time Texas State Liar’s contest winner, Story Slam National Champion, Fort Worth Live Theater Award Winner, and received the Metropolitan Live Theater Award for his original one man stage show “To Love the Earth: the Life and Times of George Washington Carver.”

David Brock lives in Cedar Hill, Texas, with his parents, a donkey, dog, cat and two goats. He began storytelling at the Zula B. Wylie Public Library around age seven, and has been telling ever since. Besides storytelling, David enjoys going barefoot, climbing trees, and almost anything related to science and math. He currently takes classes and works as a lab assistant at Dallas College, Mountain View Campus.

Fred Peters was raised in a wrecking yard. He explains, “I’ve heard more stories than most folks. Many of them I still remember.” He started telling stories around the campfire with Boy Scouts and 4-H over 50 years ago. Fred has led an interesting life as a tour guide in Alaska, a celebrant performing weddings and funerals, an auctioneer and a hypnotist. He is a member of Tipi Tellers and enjoys geocaching, scuba diving, rock collecting, traveling and stories.

Jacqui Rash Always smiling, “Miss Jacqui” grew up on Stick Ross Mountain near Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Her grandfather was a well-known storyteller. Jacqui is a retired children’s librarian who knows how to craft a story to delight the young and the young at heart.  She is an active member of the Tejas Storytelling Association and the Tarrant County Guild of Storytellers.

Friday, March 10, 2023

9:00 – 10:30 am • Good Morning Denton Concert

Tellers: Daniel Jones, Waynetta Ausmus, Kanute Rarey, Debbie Waddell, David Thompson
Emcee: Jaye McLaughlin

Daniel Jones lives among his three dogs and many trees in the 8 acre Poet-s-park. Rather than having a “career”, he careered through life to end every day re-tired.  He not quite single-handedly built, wired, plumbed. and continues to repair his rambling abode amid the splendor of 38 X 4 seasons.

Waynetta Ausmus hails from Oklahoma, moving to Texas after graduating from college. For twenty years she has been broadcasting weekly radio shows on KJIM/1500 AM/101.3FM, Sherman/Denison. Waynetta also has had a 24/7 internet station on Live365. During her broadcasts, Waynetta combines western/cowboy music, cowboy poetry, and tales from the Old West with insights from her life on the Lucky Me Ranch.

Kanute Rarey tells stories regularly at Southeastern festivals, community events and organizations. He produces a monthly Story Swap, an OPEN MIC event and an APPALACHIAN STORIES event along with a quarterly story and music event at a regional theater. He has presented workshops on storytelling, business and career management.

Debbie Waddell lives in Irving where she teaches, tells, and writes stories. Named Drama Mama by her students, she creates tales with unique twists that touches the child in each of us.

David Thompson is an internationally known storyteller.  His historical programs have been hailed throughout higher education.  Telling for some 45+ years, he delights in bringing history to life, making it accessible to all people.

10:45 – 12:15 pm • Featured Tellers Concert

Tellers: Bernadette Nason, Colin Urwin, Sheila Arnold, Elizabeth Ellis, and Joe Hayes
Emcee: Toni Simmons
See Featured Tellers page for photos and bios.

4:00 – 5:00 pm  • Rising Stars – Guild Representatives

Tellers: Hayley Turner, Cathy Smith, Viveca Deanes, Valerie Kimble, John Hale
Emcee: Kathy Culmer

Dallas Guild – Hayley Turner is native to North Dallas, but now calls East Texas home. She enjoys observing the beautiful particulars in life and writing stories about transformative experiences amongst the wonders of nature. Her signature storytelling style is the presentation of personal narratives that reveal authentic vulnerability in a meaningful way. She has performed in live storytelling shows, including Backyard Story Night Dallas, Ghost Tales, The Moth StorySLAM, and Out of The Loop: True Stories From East Texas. She is founder of The Common Story, a cultivation of camaraderie empowering individuals to transform their inward story to an outward expression within her community.

L’il D Guild in Denton – Cathy Smith is frequently asked, “Aren’t you the storyteller?” in her Argyle neighborhood because she has been sharing stories with local schools for five years.  She delights in weaving scary stories in the fall for which the kids clamor, “Tell it again.”  Prior to her move to Texas, Cathy told stories in Colorado for an additional six years and served as the chair of the Larimer County Spellbinders Chapter. She loves weaving spells through oral paintings for all ages of listeners.

Rockwall Guild – Viveca Deanes has always enjoyed stories. She developed a desire for telling stories while attending storytime with her children at their local library. Upon attending her first storytelling festival, she realized she had found her tribe. She tells personal, family-friendly stories about family and faith in, hope in, and love of Jesus Christ. She has shared stories at area libraries, Tejas Storytelling Festivals, Children’s Story Slam with her children, 5- Minute Story Slam, Virtual Tellabration, Artists Standing Strong Together (ASST), 6th TGIF Family Story Fest, and holiday celebrations.  She’s also served as Tech Support for Tejas Storytelling Events.  She’s a founding member of the Rockwall Storytelling Guild.

Territory Tellers (Oklahoma) – Valerie Kimble is known to many Tejas members as the grant writer for TSA. She also loves to tell stories! She grew up in NYC, but Oklahoma has been her home for many years. She is thrilled to represent Territory Tellers at the 2023 Texas Storytelling Festival!

San Antonio Storytelling Association – John Hale is an active member and board member of SASA (San Antonio Storytellers Association). John applies his storytelling skills in the workplace. He makes the workplace safety stick by telling true stories. Weeks and months later workers still remember the thrilling story and to not to be like “THAT GUY” who takes safety shortcuts and suffers the consequences.

7:00 – 7:30 pm • Pre-Concert Music with Sleepy Creek

Sleepy Creek has been a festival fixture for many years. ASL Interpreter Joel Hill, son Joshua Hill and Sasha Staroston make up this Americana rock band. Sometimes daughter Sarah Hill lends her outstanding vocal talents to performances. At this time the band has 4 original compositions streaming online. They seek to share the energy of inclusiveness, joy and healing as a way to connect, uplift and heal.

7:30 – 9:15 pm • Featured Tellers Concert

Tellers: Colin Urwin, Elizabeth Ellis, Bernadette Nason, Joe Hayes, and Sheila Arnold
Emcee: Kim Lehman
See Featured Tellers page for photos and bios.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

9:00 – 10:30 am • Quakertown Centennial Celebration

Tellers: Dalton Gregory and TBA 
Emcee: TBA

10:45am – 12:15pm • Featured Tellers Concert

Tellers: Elizabeth Ellis, Joe Hayes, Sheila Arnold, Colin Urwin, and Bernadette Nason
Emcee: Eldrena Douma
See Featured Tellers page for photos and bios.

1:30 – 3:30 pm • Liars Contest

Tellers: David Bowles, Debra Ann Allison, Decee Cornish, Fran Stallings, Kevin Cogan, Michael Winters, Tony Hardman, and Warren Holleman 
Emcee: Donna Ingham

See Liars page for photos and bios.

3:45 – 5:15 pm • Fringe

Tellers: Tony Hartman, Dale Schultz, Ronald Carter, and Ric Vice
Emcee: David Thompson
See Fringe page for descriptions, photos, and bios

7:00 – 7:30 pm • Pre-Concert Music: Adler and Hearne

From Texas’ upper east side near the arts hamlet of Winnsboro, award-winning singer-songwriters Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne connect with audiences coast to coast. Their music is a spirited blend of original Texas Folk with hints of blues, jazz, country and bluegrass. With 13+ recordings and decades of touring between them, their repertoire is playful, poignant and poetic – including sparky love ballads, historically based tributes, quirky story songs, and anthems of justice and peace. Adler & Hearne’s songs share a common bond with the human experience of us all. The vibe of their shows is a thoughtful balance: equal parts campfire song circle and concert hall polish, punctuated with humor and spirit.  

7:30 – 9:30 pm • Featured Tellers Concert

Tellers: Sheila Arnold, Bernadette Nason, Joe Hays, Colin Urwin, and Elizabeth Ellis
Emcee: David Claunch
See Featured Teller page for photos and bios.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

9:00 – 9:30 am • Morning Music with David Goodroe and Mel Davenport

David Goodroe – After years of threatening to learn to play the banjo someday, his mother gave him a used banjo for Christmas in 1973. A year later he took up guitar. David credits his bizarre and occasionally inappropriate—but mostly harmless—sense of humor to his mother who was probably his most devoted fan. He dedicates most everything he performs to her memory.

Mel DavenportMel Davenport weaves stories for the oldest and the youngest members of society. She shares stories once a month at a local nursing home, occasionally substitutes in the children’s department at her church, and is finishing up a year-long series on Pentecostal Pioneers of the Faith during Wednesday Night Bible studies. This retired art teacher spends a good bit of time in her studio creating things she didn’t get a chance to do while she was teaching, quite often rehearsing stories with glued and painted fingers.

9:30 – 11:00 am   (Free admission) • Sacred Tales

Tellers: Mark Babino, MaryAnn Blue, Elizabeth Ellis, Vanessa Kenney, and Toni Simmons.
Emcee: Peggy Helmick-Richardson

Mark Babino is a favorite at George West Storyfest, the Texas Folklife Festival, and the Texas Storytelling Festival. He is also a Naomi Shihab Nye Scholar in Poetry. With decades of teaching elementary school and mentoring new teachers, his workshops at the McNay Art Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Phillips Foundation in Washington D.C. have inspired many a beginning docent. Sprung from Beaumont, settled in San Antonio, Mark can often be seen walking his two dogs around city parks or playing with his new grandson. (And don’t even ask about baby photos!)

MaryAnn Blue is a retired language educator and storyteller from San Antonio, Texas.  MaryAnn was raised at the Admiral Twin Drive-in in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is blessed to be a grandmother and considers story time with her grandchildren a most sacred time.

Elizabeth Ellis grew up in the Appalachian Mountains. Invariably hilarious and poignant, she is a repeat favorite at the National Storytelling Festival. The author of From Plot to Narrative, she is a recipient of both the Circle of Excellence and Life Time Achievement Awards from the National Storytelling Network

Vanessa Kenny has over 10 years of experience within performing arts, including classical music, opera, theatre, improv, comedy, and storytelling. She studied classical music in college and within the past few years, has shifted her focus to storytelling and collaborative performance art. Vanessa’s understanding of stage presence, narrative, and acting bolster her approach to performative storytelling. Her style of storytelling is similar to that of The Moth. You can learn more about Vanessa in her recent artist feature on Voyage Dallas and keep up with shows she produces by following Curiousifi on social media or subscribing to the mailing list on the website

Toni Simmons is a dynamic storyteller and author who has presented her interactive tales throughout the US and internationally.  She has captivated audiences at many festivals including the National Storytelling Festival Exchange Place and the National Black Storytelling Festival. Toni is listed on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster and was designated as an American Masterpiece by the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the recipient of the John Henry Faulk Award and the National Storytelling Network Oracle Award.  She has served as Festival Director of the Texas Storytelling Festival and currently serves on the National Storytelling Network board.

11:15 am – 12:15 pm • Featured Tellers Concert

Tellers: Joe Hays, Elizabeth Ellis, Sheila Arnold, Bernadette Nason, and Colin Urwin
Emcee: David Claunch
See Featured Teller page for photos and bios.