I worked in public education for 33 years as a music teacher and elementary librarian. My mom was a homemaker who worked at Ball State University as a cashier, Dadworked for car dealerships all his life, in the Service Department and Body Shops. I have one brother who’s 6 years younger than me. I don’t really have any particular hobbies, because my three professions: Teaching, Music, and Storytelling have kept me pretty busy all my life. My wife Kathy is from St. Louis and until recently taught 1st Grade . I have one son, Nate who is a gifted young man, currently working at Sports Port and at So Il Climb.
What is your interest in storytelling? How did it begin?
I’ve always led two different lives, one as a Elementary Librarian in the Ferguson/Florissant school district, where I entertained school children with stories, that usually had a funny message and as a professional musician who improvised jazz since I was in high school. Storytelling puts the two together because I’m always making something new up to add flavor to the stories, like singing a song, giving the
characters voices, or doing sound effects.
Why did you decide it was important to be a member of Missouri Storytelling?
How can Mo-Tell improve? Example: members, news, I have always tried to support the arts, I think being part of a statewide professional organization dedicated to promoting Storytelling is a good thing to do. Whatever I can do to promote and encourage tellers and audiences throughout Missouri benefits all of us in the profession.
What tellers have been influential in your life?
Well, most of my family were pretty great storytellers, even though they might not have known it. So that’s what got me started. Hanging around with musicians, who were always swapping tales about the crazy characters they met, whether on the band stand or in the audience, makes you want to share your experiences with your bandmates. Then there’re the folks who are professional tellers that moved me, like Bobby Norfolk, Annette Harrison, Sue Hinkel, and Ken Wolfe. If you keep your ears open, you’re certain to hear something that inspires you, either in the stories they choose, or the way they tell them. If you hang around with them enough, something is bound to rub off.
What is a favorite story, movie, song?
It’s really hard for me to pick a single story, but one I dearly love is a tale from Ghana called Le Le Goro about a four year old girl who’s so strong that she can throw an Antelope, Leopard, and Elephant up into the sky. It’s both funny and poignant. There are way too many movies to narrow it down to one. As a musician, I truly love 1,000s of songs. Frankly I like any song that has a good story or a great melody.
Favorite Trick or Treat Joke? Memory of Xmas? Valentine memory? Favorite vacation?
Holidays are an important time for telling and remembering stories. Vacations, even more so! My family visited Expo 67 in Montreal Canada and right out of the gate, my brother who was 10 years old at the time, won a giant stuffed teddy bear throwing a ball into a stack of bottles. We had to carry that bear all over the fair,in 100 plus degree heat, and on the metro.