A journey to the land of the mind's eye
Each year, Storytelling Festival performers return with a show for families on Sunday afternoon.
Bill Harley has been called "the Mark Twain of contemporary children's music," and he's equally adept at telling stories to adult audiences. Says Penguin Books: "Bill Harley has the uncanny ability to reaffirm life for listeners, be they five or fifty. Humor, empathy, intelligence and reality all radiate from his work and from him." A two-time Grammy winner and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Bill uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. His work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves. Bill began singing and storytelling in 1975 while still in college. His work has influenced a generation of children, parents, performing artists and educators.
“I think of myself primarily as a storyteller,” says Don White, “but the road I took to get there took me through stand-up comedy and folk music.” Storytelling is the heart of Don White’s career. Whether he is singing and playing his guitar, talking to his audience, or writing his memoir, it all starts with a story. And he has helped others to find their gift for a good story, too. He has taught ordinary people how to use humor to make it easier to speak in public, started the long-running Speak Up! Spoken Word Open Mic in his home town of Lynn, Massachusetts, and was a keynote speaker at the “Sharing the Fire” edition of the Lanes Conference. And on any given night, he is somewhere working a crowd from tears to laughter. Don was a featured teller at the 2015 National Storytelling Festival.
Charleston, West Virginia, storyteller Bil Lepp describes himself as a "liar," and in fact he got his start when he won the West Virginia Liars Contest in 1990, picking up a hundred dollars and a golden shovel for his efforts. The Smithsonian Folklife Center has called him "a side-splittingly funny man." Growing up in a family where the truth was fluid, Bil Lepp became adept at spinning tales and exaggerating circumstances at an early age. A nationally renowned storyteller and five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest, Bil’s outrageous, humorous tall tales and witty stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Be it a hunting trip, a funeral, or a visit to the dentist, Bil can find the humor in any situation, and he explains that while his stories may not be completely true, they are always honest.