One of our first methods of communications was through storytelling. Whether told around a campfire, kitchen table, or at bedtime, stories help to reinforce cultural values and assist in creating a sense of who we are as individuals and a group. While we tend to think of stories as spoken narratives, songs, symbols and art also “tell” stories of who we are.
Stories also help us make sense of those occurrences that seem to defy explanation. For example, virtual every culture has a creation story. Most have a story that describes why the sun rises in the morning, travels across the sky, and then sets in the evening. Stories seek to make life less complicated.
Terri Ingalls, Vicki Byrd, and ReVonda Crow are professional storytellers from Surry and Wilkes Counties. As members of the North Carolina Storytelling Guild and the Surry County Storytelling Guild, they work closely to develop each other and enhance their skills.
Terri Ingalls has worked as a flight attendant, travel agent, media buyer, theatre subscription office manager, and professional actor at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. She left a 15-year stint as an administrative assistant at the North Carolina School of the Arts to concentrate on writing, and was a 2001 and 2011 recipient of a Regional Artist Project Grant from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Terri became interested in storytelling and in 2005 helped create the Surry County Storytelling Guild. She has told stories for the Northwest Regional Library system, Ridgecrest Retirement Community, the Cherry Orchard Theatre (in Ararat, VA), and at Bud Break (Surry County’s inaugural wine festival). As part of the NC Arts Council 2nd Saturday Celebrations, she told stories at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville, NC and Horne Creek Living Historical Farm (a 45-minute original work created for them on the history of Horne Creek). She also performed original works at a national woman’s conference in Greensboro. The summer of 2010 Terri created a one-woman show titled “Pearl, Your Mother,” which premiered at the Cherry Orchard Theatre. In 2011, She was commissioned by the Gilmer-Smith Foundation to research and tell the life story of Gertrude Smith, creator of the Foundation and a legendary eccentric. That 45-minute work premiered at the Gertrude Smith House in Mount Airy in September 2011 at the Preservation NC’s Annual Conference.
ReVonda Crow has lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains since 1989. Raised in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, she moved west to attend ASU where she received a BA in cultural anthropology. While teaching English in China, ReVonda wove stories into her classroom presentations, a method she continued while teaching back home at Wilkes Community College.
Revonda has also told at a variety of venues, such as music, heritage, and storytelling festivals; the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum; and retirement homes. Her organizational skills have been put to good use in event planning and coordination of those events.
ReVonda enjoys telling Brer Rabbit stories, ghost stories, stories with a twist, and local history and cultural tales that appeal to both adults and children. Plans are in the works for ReVonda to be storytelling in Ireland this fall.
Vicki Byrd recently retired after 31 years of teaching elementary aged children in the public school system. She often entertained her students with stories of “the goofy things I did while in school.” Her teaching career spanned five different systems.
Vicki’s storytelling resume includes stories told at Tellabration, Horn Creek Farm, the Cancer Survivor Dinner at Cedarbrook Country Club, Wilkes County Schools, Elkin City Schools, Ocracoke Preservation Museum on Ocracoke Island, and the Carroll County (Va.) Agricultural Fair. She has also participated in a storytelling workshop on Ocracoke Island.
These talented and entertaining ladies will bring their program to Sparta on July 11, 2015. The family-friendly event will begin at 6:00 pm at Crouse Park.
For more information contact the Alleghany Chamber of Commerce at 336-372-5473 or visit http://visitalleghanync.com/