Past Events

April 12th, 2017
Time: 7:15 to 8:30pm,
Place:  University of Maine at Farmington, in Roberts Building, Room 023.

Please come to the talk “What Good Is Story? Telling Tales in Uncertain Times” on Wednesday, April 12th, at 7:15 to 8:30pm, at the University of Maine at Farmington, in Roberts Building, Room 023. Stories—folktales, legends, personal stories, and more—contain unsuspected depths and powers. Folklorists and storytellers Jo Radner of Lovell and Margaret “Peggy” Yocom of Farmington will discuss with audience members how stories work on multiple levels, how our human brains are wired to think in story form, and how knowing about story and storytelling practices can serve us now—as charges of “fake news” fly back and forth daily. The talk is free and open to the public. (This event, originally scheduled for 15 March, was postponed due to snow).
This event is part of UMF’s interdisciplinary “Storyfest,” a year-long exploration of story and storytelling. Thanks to Dr. Steven Quackenbush of Psychology and his UMF colleagues who have made this series—and Peggy and Jo’s participation in it—possible.

Jo Radner lives in her family’s home region of western Maine, where she devotes herself to a second career of creating, gathering, and telling stories.  She has performed at theaters, festivals, conferences, schools, and community events from Maine to Hawaii to Finland.  Jo holds a PhD from Harvard University, taught at American University in Washington, DC, and has published books and articles on the topics of folklore, storytelling, drama, women’s studies, Celtic studies, and New England social history. She is past president of the American Folklore Society and the National Storytelling Network. http://www.joradner.com
Margaret “Peggy” Yocom grew up listening to her grandparents’ stories in the Pennsylvania German farm country. Associate Professor Emerita of English at George Mason University, she founded the Folklore Studies program and taught there for 36 years. Peggy holds a PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has published on such topics as the tales of the Inuit of northwestern Alaska, her Pennsylvania family, and the Brothers Grimm. She has also written about the folk arts of loggers and homemakers in western Maine, for this region has been her major field research area since 1975. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications. A resident of Farmington, she serves as vice-president of Western Maine Storytelling and tells stories to local audiences.  http://margaretyocom.com

 

March 15th, 2017 (This Event Was Canceled)

Please come to the talk “What Good Is Story? Telling Tales in Uncertain Times” on Wednesday, March 15th, at 7:15 to 8:30pm, at the University of Maine at Farmington, in Roberts Building, Room 023. Stories—folktales, legends, personal stories, and more—contain unsuspected depths and powers. Folklorists and storytellers Jo Radner of Lovell and Margaret “Peggy” Yocom of Farmington will discuss with audience members how stories work on multiple levels, how our human brains are wired to think in story form, and how knowing about story and storytelling practices can serve us now—as charges of “fake news” fly back and forth daily. The talk is free and open to the public.

 

This event is part of UMF’s interdisciplinary “Storyfest,” a year-long exploration of story and storytelling. Thanks to Dr. Steven Quackenbush of Psychology and his UMF colleagues who have made this series—and Peggy and Jo’s participation in it—possible.

Jo Radner lives in her family’s home region of western Maine, where she devotes herself to a second career of creating, gathering, and telling stories.  She has performed at theaters, festivals, conferences, schools, and community events from Maine to Hawaii to Finland.  Jo holds a PhD from Harvard University, taught at American University in Washington, DC, and has published books and articles on the topics of folklore, storytelling, drama, women’s studies, Celtic studies, and New England social history. She is past president of the American Folklore Society and the National Storytelling Network. http://www.joradner.com

 

Margaret “Peggy” Yocom grew up listening to her grandparents’ stories in the Pennsylvania German farm country. Associate Professor Emerita of English at George Mason University, she founded the Folklore Studies program and taught there for 36 years. Peggy holds a PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has published on such topics as the tales of the Inuit of northwestern Alaska, her Pennsylvania family, and the Brothers Grimm. She has also written about the folk arts of loggers and homemakers in western Maine, for this region has been her major field research area since 1975. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications. A resident of Farmington, she serves as vice-president of Western Maine Storytelling and tells stories to local audiences.  http://margaretyocom.com

December 1st 2016

Western Maine Storytellers at Farmington Grange

Five local story tellers from Western Maine Storytelling and the Western Order of Dedicated Storytellers (WOODS) will share tales, legends, and personal stories on Thursday, 1 December 1st, from 7:00-8:15pm at the Farmington Grange at 124 Bridge St., Rt. 43 West Farmington. Curated by Peggy Yocom and entitled “Tales for a Long Winter’s Night,” the program is intended for adults and older children. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Peggy Yocom of Farmington and Rangeley will tell “Henry Mayeux and the Fight Like to Kill ’Em All.” A story she learned from logger William Richard of Phillips, it features a strong, dangerous, mysterious logger who worked around Bemis.

Debby Bliss of New Vineyard will tell one of her very favorite stories: “The Inn of the Two Wells.”  A story she wrote herself, it takes place at an oasis in North Africa, where a beautiful woman lives in a scented garden.

Judy Loeven of Farmington will tell her version of “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” based on a children’s book by Jon Scieszka. Judy tells this beloved story from a very different perspective.

Jane Woodman will celebrate Farmington, where she was born and raised, with her story “How Farmington’s Early Citizens Got Their Public Parks” about the surprising beginnings of our very special parks: Meetinghouse Park, Bonney Woods, and Flint Woods.

Phyllis Blackstone, newly retired from the University of Maine at Farmington, will tell “The Three Best Gifts,” a personal story that offers the three best gifts that can be given on any occasion, can be given over and over again, and can be enjoyed whether one gives or receives them. And, they don’t cost money.

Friday, October 7th, 6:00 pm

at Webster Library in Kingfield

 Western Maine Storytelling presented!

Marvels and Mysteries:

Stories from the Mountains of Maine

Phyllis Blackstone told stories about a logger who experiences a down-
fall after a hard day of work in the northern woods of Maine.

Judy Loeven of Farmington told “Klouscap and Wind Eagle,” a Penobscot tale set in the Mt. Katahdin region. When a warrior hero tries to stop the wind that is spoiling his fishing, he meets with unintended consequences.

Peggy Yocom of Farmington and Rangeley told “Henry Mayeux and the Fight Like To Kill ’Em All,” about a mysterious, strong logger who lived and worked around Bemis—a story told to her by logger William Richard of Phillips.

Webster Library •22 Depot Street, Kingfield • 265-2052 • websterlibrary2@gmail.com

This event was free and open to the public.

 western-maine-storytelling_october-7_flyer

Tuesday 23 August 2016, from 6-7:15pm

Western Maine Storytelling presented an evening of stories at the Rangeley Public Library, Rangeley, Maine. It was generously Free and open to the public. Entitled “Marvels and Mysteries: Stories from the Mountains of Maine,” the program featured the following Maine storytellers:

http://rangeleylibrary.com/default.asp?Key=1&Cat=1

Phyllis Blackstone tells about a logger who experiences a downfall after a hard day of work in the northern woods of Maine.

Jane Woodman of Farmington, whose mother grew up in Rangeley, will celebrate love in the Maine mountains with her story “How Mom Caught Dad.” Jane tells how her father came home from World War II and met his future bride in Wilton—at a moment when he least expected love to appear.

Judy Loeven of Farmington tells “Klouscap and the Wind Eagle,” a Penobscot tale set in the Mt. Katahdin region. When a warrior hero tries to stop the wind that is spoiling his fishing, he meets with unintended consequences.

Debby Bliss of New Vineyard will tell “Rizpah,” a story about the surprising life of Rizpah Huey of New Vineyard who lived in Debby’s house years earlier.

 Peggy Yocom of Farmington and Rangeley tells “Henry Mayeux and the Fight Like To Kill ’Em All,” about a mysterious, strong logger who lived and worked around Bemis—a story told to her by logger William Richard of Phillips.

July 6, 2016

11:00 am – Noon

Children’s Storytelling Hour with Phyllis Blackstone and Debby Bliss, Webster Library, Kingfield, Maine.

http://www.kingfieldme.org/webster-library/

July 23, 2016,

11:00 am – Noon

Storytelling at Farmington Summerfest with Phyllis Blackstone and Mike Burns, at Enchanted Herbs and Botanicals, 156 Main Street, Farmington Maine.

http://www.enchantedherbsmaine.com/

Phyllis Blackstone: SEE THE USA……………………………….IN A ROADTREK !

Phyllis Blackstone has been traveling around the USA in her small RoadTrek Motorhome for 18 years.  This year she traveled 18,000 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific experiencing life and collecting stories. You are invited to hear a sampling of her stories.

Mike Burns: Irish-born, now Farmington-based, internationally known storyteller Mike Burns is a true keeper of the oral tradition. Known across Europe and Canada for his spellbinding performances, his hundreds of stories include tales and legends of his native Ireland. Fluent in Gaelic, English and French, his works have been collected in numerous publications including, L’Eau de La Vie /The Water of Life (Chemin des Cantons, 2009).

11 June.

11 June. Farmington. 10-12 noon. Workshop “Seed to Tree: How to Grow Memories into Full Stories” offered by Lovell storyteller Jo Radner. UMF, Kalikow Education Center, Rm. 113, 186 High St. Pre-registration $30. FMI: Myrna, 778-4387.

11 June. Farmington. 7-8:30pm. Performance by Lovell storyteller Jo Radner. “Burnt Into Memory: Stories of the Brownfield Fire.” Old North Church, High and Court Sts. $15 to benefit Western Maine Storytelling.

Jo Radner (photo by Heather Kelley-Lanser)-medium

Some Mainers still remember—and, in fact, cannot forget—October of 1947, when, after a season of terrible drought, wildfires burned all over the state.  Brownfield was one of the worst-hit areas: 80% of the town, including all churches, schools, post offices, and other public buildings, was completely destroyed in the space of a few hours.

In the face of the fire, Brownfield residents responded with courage, care, and even—in a few cases—obstinacy, like that of retired schoolteacher Mabel Stone: “She had her little dog Woofie with her, and she had a plan: she was going to stay at her house and fight the fire with a broom, a bucket of water, and a snow rake.”  Facing the devastation after the fire, neighbors ingeniously made do, shared what they had, and rebuilt what they could.

Jo Radner spent a year interviewing people who experienced the Brownfield Fire—residents who did and did not lose their homes, as well as others who aided in the rescue and rebuilding effort.  From those interviews as well as from letters and historical photographs and newspaper reports, Jo has created for Brownfield a powerful story of terror, courage, neighborly responsibility, recovery, and—yes—even humor.  Maine storyteller and author Michael Parent has called “Burnt Into Memory” “a tremendous story for our time, a story of hope and connectedness between humans at a time when hopelessness and disconnectedness are the rampant order of the day.”

Doors will open at 5:30pm. Pie will be served by the Farmington Historical Society, for a donation, at 6:00pm.  After the storytelling program, Jo will answer questions and talk with visitors about her historical objects related to the Brownfield fire that will be on display during this evening only. Pie will again be served after the hour and a half program.

From 10:00am to noon, also June 11th  in Farmington, Jo Radner will present a workshop “Seed to Tree: How to Grow Memories into Full Stories”  in Kalikow Education Center, Room 113, 186 High Street, the University of Maine at Farmington.

Link to full event description http://www.dailybulldog.com/db/arts/storytelling-program-in-farmington-to-feature-the-1947-brownfield-fire/

 

 

First Friday Art Walk. April, 1, 2016

Farmington

DSC_0522

April 1st. Western Maine Storytelling, 6-7pm at: Enchanted Herbs and Botanicals, 156 Main Street, Farmington, Maine.

April 1st–in conjunction with the Farmington First Friday Art Walk, 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

WMS will be telling stories at Enchanted Herbs and Botanicals, 156 Main Street, Farmington.

The storytelling program featured four local tellers.

Debbie Bliss. In her story, “Zarko,” Debbie tells of a clever trickster who hatches an elaborate scheme to buy another man’s beard.

Debby Bliss has been telling stories since she was eight years old in Waterville, and she still loves to be surrounded by stories at every possible moment. She’s been waiting to tell this story for 17 years. A resident of New Vineyard, she convenes the monthly meeting of WOODS storytellers in the Farmington Public Library every third Thursday at 7:00 pm.

Judy Loeven. The Squire’s Bride (Norwegian folktale, though variants are found elsewhere). An old squire tries to force a farmer’s daughter into marriage by using her father’s debt against them. Through a misunderstanding, she is able to wreak a hilarious revenge upon the squire.

Judy Loeven, who didn’t come from a storytelling family, found her voice on a casual basis in college, and on a more formal one when she worked at a wolf sanctuary, telling wolf and coyote stories at weekend events. She has since broadened her repertoire to folktales in traditional and modern versions, translations of stories by a beloved Dutch children’s author, and more recently, stories from her own life. A member of WOODS, she lives in Farmington.

Ashirah Knapp.  Ashirah has a series of kids’ (age 3-9) stories about a down-to-earth lady farmer, her trusty tractor, and their adventures on and around the Good Dirt Farm. The story tonight is about maple sugaring with a twist.

Ashirah Knapp homesteads with her family in Temple, Maine, where she and her husband run Koviashuvik Local Living School. Telling stories helps keep her children happy while getting that last row of carrots thinned, or wheelbarrow of wood split. Along the way, Ashirah discovered that telling stories helps keep her happy, too!

Mike Burns.  An Irish Tale.

Irish-born, now Farmington-based, internationally known storyteller Mike Burns is a true keeper of the oral tradition. Known across Europe and Canada for his spellbinding performances, his hundreds of stories include tales and legends of his native Ireland. Fluent in Gaelic, English and French, his works have been collected in numerous publications including, L’Eau de La Vie /The Water of Life (Chemin des Cantons, 2009).

19 February, 2016

Western Maine Storytellers at the Farmington Grange 


Storytellers at grange 2-19-16

(L to R) Carole Lee, Judy Loeven, Peggy Yocom, Debby Bliss, Jane Woodman, and Rob Lively.

This storytelling event took place Friday, February 19th, from 7:00-8:15pm, at the Farmington Grange at 124 Bridge St., Rt. 43 West Farmington. It was a wonderful evening of storytelling for adults and older children entitled “Around the World and Home Again.” The event was free and open to the public. Curated by Peggy Yocom, the storytelling program featured five local tellers from Western Maine Storytelling and from WOODS (Western Order Of Dedicated Storytellers).

 

Rob Lively opened the evening with “Mirror, Mirror, Where’s The Mirror?” What do you do when you’re traveling abroad on business to meet some high officials and you have absolutely no access to a mirror as you get dressed?  When Rob Lively traveled to Russia as UMF dean to meet a university president, the only mirror in his hosts’ apartment was in their bedroom, at the far end of their bed. What to do? Rob shares his sometimes awkward, always humorous solutions.

Rob Lively recently retired from University of Maine, Farmington where he was a dean. Born and raised in southwestern Pennsylvania, he has worked as a steel mill laborer, a grave digger, a taxi cab driver, and an EMT in Wilton. After living in England with his family for seven years while he attended graduate school, he moved to Maine in 1977. Residents of Wilton, he and his wife have two grown children and one granddaughter. Rob serves as president of the Western Maine Storytelling executive board.

 

Debby Bliss told an eerie folktale from Chile, “The Charcoal Cruncher.” A man wakes one night to watch in horror as his wife’s head flies off her body, rolls to the hearth, and chews on the live coals there. The next day, she looks normal, but she doesn’t talk. All she does is nod. Frightened, the man goes to his mother for help, and she tells him just what to do.

Debby Bliss has been telling stories since she was 8 years old in Waterville, and she still loves to be surrounded by stories at every possible moment. She’s been waiting to tell this story for 17 years. A resident of New Vineyard, she convenes the monthly meeting of WOODS storytellers in Farmington Public Library every third Thursday.

 

Carole Lee  lead us home as she told “Coming to the USA.” It’s easy to speak and write in your mother tongue, but have you ever experienced what it’s like to move to another country and try to learn and speak a very different language? Carol Lee, who grew up in Hong Kong, will told  about her first try at ordering food in a McDonald’s and about the most embarrassing mistake she ever made speaking English—in front of her entire class of college students at UMF.

 Born and raised in Hong Kong, Carole Lee was a high school teacher of chemistry and biology. About six years ago, she moved to Maine and now teaches science education at the University of Maine, Farmington. She is a member of WOODS.

 

Judy Loeven  performed “This Job Is for the Birds!” When you have to work your way through college, you often find yourself in rather unusual jobs. Judy worked at a private aviary where the many, varied birds—from small species of geese to swans and cranes—kept her on her toes. One small, green bird gave her a hazing she has never forgotten.

Judy Loeven, who didn’t come from a storytelling family, found her voice on a casual basis in college, and on a more formal one when she worked at a wolf sanctuary, telling wolf and coyote stories at weekend events. She has since broadened her repertoire to folktales in traditional and modern versions, translations of stories by a beloved Dutch children’s author, and more recently, stories from her own life. A member of WOODS, she lives in Farmington.

 

Jane Woodman celebrated Farmington with her story “How Mom Caught Dad.” It’s the season of Valentines, so do you know how your mother and father met? How did you meet your heartthrob? Jane tells how her father came home from World War II and met his future bride in Wilton—at a moment when he least expected love to appear.

Born and raised in Farmington, Jane Woodman belongs to WOODS and is active in the Farmington Historical Society.

 

November 7, 2015
John Bear Mitchell, Emery Community Arts Center, Farmington

John Bear Mitchell

Native American Storyteller, John Bear Mitchell to tell about Maine Indians, Wabanaki People.

John Bear Mitchell shared stories that teach ancient societal wisdom in “Maine Indians, Wabanaki Peoples – Our Past and Present Stories” at the Emery Community Arts Center in Farmington on November 7, 1:30 pm.

By linking the stories to his tribe’s modern day meanings, the audience will enjoy these Wabanaki stories that give us a glimpse into the cultural values of Maine’s native tribes.  These same teachings are important and still hold relevance in the daily lives of contemporary Wabanaki.  The stories seek to explain, educate, and reflect on the basic principles of life and taking care of our own.

Mitchell is a member of the Penobscot Nation on Indian Island in Maine.  He presently serves as the Associate Director of the Wabanaki Center at the University of Maine in Orono and University of Maine Native Program Waiver Coordinator.  His singing and storytelling can be heard in many Maine PBS programs, tribal-sponsored awareness videos, and other documentaries with topics on Maine’s Native People.

 

July 2015 – Farmington Downtown Summer Fest

Western Maine Storytellers at the Octagon House

Morning children’s session:

Debby Bliss, Judy Loeven, Tom Standard.

Afternoon adult session:

Judy Loeven, Rob Lively, Mike Burns.

Mike is an internationally known storyteller. Did you notice how he closes his eyes when he tells? His grandfather and father, both storytellers, closed their eyes, so he does the same.

To see a video of Mike Burns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQM07_Zp1pg

 

June 2015Motoko and Eshu

Presented by Western Maine Storytelling the summer of 2015, providing a free morning program for children at the public library, and an evening program for adults at the Emery Community Arts Center.
Emery Art Center Farmington Maine

Emery Art Center Farmington Maine

Stories from Asia and Africa

Two nationally acclaimed storytellers join forces to help communities celebrate diversity of cultures through world folktales, original narratives, and music. Eshu, a winner of the Storytelling World Award, specializes in tales and songs from Africa and the Diaspora, leavened with humor and mystery. Parents’ Choice Award winner Motoko blends her hilarious and poignant tales with exquisite mime movements. With nearly 50 years of combined experiences performing in schools, libraries, theaters, and festivals, Motoko and Eshu offer a unique collaboration between cultures, entertaining audiences of all ages.” – http://www.folktales.net/

June 2014Antonio Rocha

Storyteller, mime, and actor was presented by Western Maine Storytelling the summer of 2014, providing a free morning program for children at the public library, and an evening program for adults at the Emery Community Arts Center.

Both were very well received as Antonio shared vibrant and animated stories that draw from personal life merged with the lore and mythology of traditional story.

“I strive to use my talents as a mime and storyteller to illustrate lessons from different aspects of life. Using the versatile yet simple nature of these art forms, I bring the audience and workshop participants to activate their imagination through rich symbolism and imagery.” – Antonio Rocha

For more info about Antonio:www.storyinmotion.com

 

Other past events and story tellers include:

Wes McNair,

Maine’s poet laureate. http://www.maine.gov/msl/poetry/mcnair.htm

Joseph and Jesse Bruchac,

speaking on their Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions. www.josephbruchac.com 

Susan Poulin – as Ida LeClair,

www.poolyle.com

Roger Paul,

who teaches Wabanaki Language and Culture for the Penobscot Tribe. http://www.dailybulldog.com/db/features/storytelling-festival-bringing-maine-tales-to-life-july-19-21/

Jo Radner

One of our own W.M.S. committee member  www.joradner.com

Michael Parent,

speaking on his Franco-American heritage http://www.michaelparentstorytelling.com

Michael Cooper,

appearing in a variety of masks and costumes http://www.themaskedmarvel.com

Judith Black,

speaking about her New York experiences  http://www.storiesalive.com/index1.htm

We have also featured Western Maine loggers, and emergency service personnel from the area (police/fire/ambulance).