May 22, 2019

The Canton (Maine) Historical Society invited Jane Woodman and Rob Lively to give a workshop on “Preserving Your Family History through Storytelling.” They received the highest praise possible from a New Englander: “This was better than I thought it would be.”

A storytelling workshop in progress at the Canton Historical Society.

October & November 2017

Tom Saviello interviewed Jo Radner, Rob Lively and Mike Burns on his Mt. Blue Community Access Television program “Talkin’ Maine

 

Jane Woodman tells a story during the Rangeley Story Circle, September 10, 2017, a Western Maine Storytelling event (Photo: Peggy Yocom)

August & September 2017

Western Maine Storytelling received grants from the Maine Humanities Council and the Tri-Valley United Way in 2017 to advance storytelling in four communities: Livermore Falls, Wilton, Farmington, and Rangeley. It is with gratitude and thanks that we recognize and applaud the support from our Great Community!

A storytelling workshop was offered in each community—helping participants mine their own family stories—followed by a second session where seasoned storytellers and those from the workshop shared personal and family stories. The goal was to encourage face-to-face communication through stories; the fear being we are so engaged in our computer and smart-phone screens that we are losing the art of communication.

August 29, 2017: Peggy Yocom– Storytelling Workshop: “How to Recall and Tell Our Family Stories,” 6:00 – 7:30 pm
September 9, 2017: Storytelling Swap: “Sharing Our Stories: A Community Celebration,” 10:00– 11:30 am.

October 10, 2017

GRAND FINALE EVENT IN FARMINGTON

“A Community Celebration of Stories.” The Landing, Olsen Student Center, 111 South Street, University of Maine at Farmington; 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

Follow this link to read an article about the workshops hosted by Western Maine Storytelling http://www.dailybulldog.com/db/arts/storytelling-workshop-is-may-18/

Sponsored by Western Maine Storytelling through grants from the Maine Humanities Council and United Way.

May-July 2017

A COMMUNITY CELEBRATION OF STORIES
LIVERMORE FALLS TREAT LIBRARY (Brianna Brush; brush@treat.lib.us)

  • May 18, 2017: Jo Radner– Storytelling Workshop: “How to Recall and Tell Our Family Stories,” 6:00 – 7:30 pm
    June 1, 2017: Storytelling Swap: “Sharing Our Stories: A Community Celebration,” 6:00 – 7:30pm. WILTON PUBLIC LIBRARY (Jen Scott: jenscott2@yahoo.com) 645-4831
    Main Street, Wilton
  • June 15, 2017: Jo Radner– Storytelling Workshop: “How to Recall and Tell Our Family Stories,” 7:00 – 8:30 pm
  • June 29, 2017: Storytelling Swap: “Sharing Our Stories: A Community Celebration,” 7:00 – 8:30pm. FARMINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY (Maurie Stockford—mstockford@farmington.lib.me.us) 778-4312
  • June 17, 2017: Jo Radner– Storytelling Workshop: “How to Recall and Tell Our Family Stories,”10:00 – 11:30 am
  • July 8, 2017: Storytelling Swap: “Sharing Our Stories: A Community Celebration,” 10:00 –
    11:30 am. RANGELEY PUBLIC LIBRARY 864-5529   (Janet Wilson, director@rangeleylibrary.org)

April 12, 2017

“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 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 1, 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.

October 7, 2016

Western Maine Storytelling presented at the Webster Library, Kingfield
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.

August 2016

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:

  • 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

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

July 23, 2016

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

  • 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).

June 11, 2016

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.

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.

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.”

April 1, 2016

In conjunction with the Farmington Art Walk, Western Maine Storytelling will be telling stories at Enchanted Herbs and Botanicals, 156 Main Street, Farmington, Maine. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mike Burns.  An Irish Tale.

February 19, 2016

Western Maine Storytellers at the Farmington Grange 

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

November 7, 2015

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

June 2015

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.

Stories from Asia and Africa – presented by Motoko and Esau

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 2014 – Antonio 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: