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Storytellers to Celebrate Oral Tradition

Chillicothe Gazette (Chillicothe, Ohio) , September 5, 2004


An all-new community festival launches here September 10-11 with the appearance of seven nationally and regionally acclaimed professional storytellers. The Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival will feature a variety format of entertainment for visitors of all ages in separate events staged at the historic Majestic Theatre and other downtown locations, as well as educational programs on the Ohio University-Chillicothe campus.

Among the featured performers are:

  • Bill Harley, two-time Grammy nominee and winner of numerous awards, is a singer, songwriter, storyteller, author and playwright. He is the “Mark Twain of children’s music,” says Entertainment Weekly.
  • Connie Regan-Blake, awarding-winning folk musician and storyteller, has been a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered, ABC's Good Morning America and CNN.
  • Bobby Norfolk, with three Emmy Awards and international fame as a story performer and teaching artist, promotes character development, cultural diversity and self-esteem.
  • Bil Lepp, is an award-winning storyteller and five-time “Biggest Liar” titleholder. Duke Divinity Magazine calls his stories ‘awe-inspiring cathedrals of flapdoodle and bull.”

    Also performing are regional artists Kate Long, Lyn Ford, and Bill McKell.

    The festival, expected to become an annual event, presents and promotes the art of storytelling in this southern Ohio community renowned for its significant history, unforgettable scenery, and welcoming ambience. The art of storytelling has deep roots in this Appalachian region where tradition and culture have been preserved and shared over centuries in stories from prehistoric Indian tribes, early American settlers, Underground Railroad travelers, and more recent generations of historians and storytellers.

    Bill McKell, a local resident and regional storyteller, said,

    “The tradition of storytelling is alive and well in southern Ohio and deserves to be celebrated with an annual festival that will bring some of the country’s best-loved storytellers to our community to join with regional and local storytellers to educate, to inform, challenge and entertain.”

    McKell introduced the festival concept to local civic and community groups as new venue for community entertainment and regional tourism.

    Subjects Covered: education, storytelling festivals

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