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We've heard it all before... we rejoice in the retelling!

MO-TELL Newsletter and Blog

  • Writer's pictureMike and Nancee Micham

This month’s featured teller and History Project spotlight is Mike Micham who joined MO-TELL in 2014, he thinks. His introduction to Storytelling was listening to storytellers and authors Richard and Judy Dockery Young way back in 1987 when they visited and entertained at Rawhide, a western themed tourist attraction in Scottsdale, AZ. where he first met his wife, board member Nancee Walker-Micham. But wait, what is he doing in Arizona? Long story short this native Michigander left Michigan shortly after high school. After doing some traveling through Alaska, Southern California and Arizonahe “settled” In Arizona to work for a friend’s roofing company, got married (not with Nancee yet), had a child and jammed with his friends on the weekends. He took up guitar when he was 14 and always loved playing.

A clandestine visit to Rawhide with his friends led him there. While everyone was watching the antics of the characters of this western town and comedy skits in the street, they all looked at him and said you know you’d be really good at this! So that led to him auditioning for a weekend gig as the dumb deputy and how Deputy Buckshot Buchanon was born. In between skits and “atmosphering” on the streets of Rawhide he would pull out his guitar. Once Nancee finally came around to talking to him (another story for another time) she would join him and sing old folk songs and they began courting.

Mike and Nancee decided to leave Arizona and head to Branson, MO. to audition for Silver Dollar City where they were hired to be characters at McHaffie’s Homestead. Mike became the lead guitar player for The Homestead Pickers and picked up other instruments along the way and as fate would have it also shared the porch stage with Judy Dockery Young who was the resident storyteller.

In 2005 Steve Otto was walking by the homestead and saw Nancee telling stories, she was storytelling on Judy’s days off. They struck up a conversation and that led to Steve inviting Mike and Nancee to the Chicken Festival RAPS had every year which led to meeting Joyce Slater and being invited to tell at The Kansas City Storytelling Celebration for more than 15 years which of course led to joining MO-TELL.

Mike really doesn’t tell folk or fairy tales, he pulls from stories of real life from childhood, living in the Ozarks on an 80-acre farm and his love of Irish music and legends. Telling stories through old folk songs with Nancee as they tour and perform at libraries, schools, festivals, State Parks (through MO-TELL) and Renaissance Faires.

He really enjoys telling and entertaining children since he is a big child himself. If you have met Mike and have been gifted with a bad Dad joke you know that he is young at heart as the saying goes and always tries to bring others joy.

  • Brother John Anderson

Date: May 11, 2024

Event: Spring on the Farm

Venue: Watkins Woolen Mill State Park

Presenter: John "Brother John" Anderson

A beautiful spring it was at Watkins Mill Park. Originally, I had requested for a stationary spot to present my interactice program, "Brother John's African Folktales." Ironically, I prefer not to be a roaming style storyteller. However (in a positive sense), I was coaxed out of my personal comfort zone. Busking seemed very ideal for that.

the day's events (in terms of my patrons) was very slow. I had nobody visiting my presenting area. As I finished setting up my presenter area and stated warming up on my Djembe drum (I usually begin with a Harambe drum and call -- Harambe in the East Afrifan language of Swahili means, "Let's pull/come together"). It was at that point where I was being coaxed by a couple of old-time, latter 1800s fiddle and guitar musicians. They waved for me to come and sit in on their jam session. I stayed with them for about 30-40 minutes. Come to find out, we have mutual good musician friends in common.

As I ventured back to the presentation area under the shade tree, I noticed that the shade was no longer. the high, midday sun had removed the shadow. A couple came strolling along by my area. After exchanging pleasant greetings, they noticed I was carrying my Djembe. I began entertaining their curiosity with the story regarding the origin of the "Talking/Happy" drum. I asked the gentleman if he would liek to play. his wife eagerly coaxed him to tap out of a few rhythms, chiming in and whipping out her phone, "Let me snap a pic to send your older brother. You know he's a drummer. He would dig this!"

The impromptu greetings and enrichment story chats continued. One incident in paricular stuck with me as a memorable experience. A lady came strolling by with her husband and their pre-schooler son. She had her older teenage son escorting him arm-in-arm. The young man was developmentally challenged. He didn't speak. However, when I introduced myself to the family and asked if he wished to play the Djembe. He proceeded to tap out a few beats. I chatted with his parents for a few moments. as they were bidding farewell and turning to leave, the teen seemed to not want to go. Turning towards me, his mom exclaimed, "Wow! This is the first time he's smiled all day!"As he turned to leave, he left me with a broad, enthusiastic smile of pure joy that stretched across his face.

These are the connections that are, like the adage in that credit card commercial, "PRICELESS!"

  • Writer's pictureBobby Norfolk

From Sherry Norfolk:

My tips:

1. Always tell stories that you love. If you don't love the story, your attitude will be conveyed to the audience.

2. Don't wait for the story to be "perfect" before you share it with an audience. The story is shaped by and with the audience, so allow that to happen!

From Bobby Norfolk:

1. Find a good book of tongue twisters and practice outloud! This is basic knowledge in theatre and should be in STORY.

2. Make the story to fit your personal style. They are like clay and can be shaped and reshaped.

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