Stories in the Valley

The third Wednesday of each month during In The Tradition

Charles Kiernan: Three Army Surgeons

Nov 1, 2017

Halloween is the month for storytelling, especially those odd and creepy stories that can be told around a fire. The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild will be lighting one of those fires, around which to gather, very soon.

I will tell you about that in a bit, but first I am going to regale you with my version of one of my favorite Halloween stories, The Three Army Surgeons. This is a Brothers Grimm tale, little heard of. Most of the Grimm stories we know, like Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel are the tales that Walt Disney has turned into movies.

Heather Forest: Beggar King

Nov 1, 2017

As we move toward the holidays, we move toward a period of celebration, feasting, and family gatherings. It is also a period of looking back, taking stock, and contemplation.

For this month’s offering, I’ve settled on a contemplative story, a story about wisdom and judgement. It called The beggar King, and told by Heather Forest, who has told us so many traditional and multicultural tales over the years. Heather is a Circle of Excellence Award winner, which is presented by the National Storytelling Network, and founder of Story Arts, a cultural arts organization.

Andy Offutt Irwin: Generational Revenge

Nov 1, 2017

Last week I attended a storytelling workshop with the wonder teller, who hails from the great state of Georgia, Andy Offutt Irwin, at Rose Valley in Media. Rose Valley is the home of the talented Megan Hicks, who runs the Rose Valley House Concerts. (Check her out on Facebook.)

Well, hearing Andy again, reminded me of the elements of which humor is really composed. Here is a bit of the wit of Andy Offutt Irwin.


That was Andy Offutt Irwin.

Richard Marsh: Burning of Tara, Iaun Zuria

Nov 1, 2017

Saint Patrick’s Day is nearby. I thought I’d engage you in a bit of Celtic legend. No Leprechauns or pots of gold here, I’m talking the tales of Fionn mac Cumhaill and the lesser known story of Laymore  and Luth . These go back a ways in time, around the era when Christianity was coming to Ireland.

My friend Richard Marsh will be your guide though a landscape long past. If you find yourself in Ireland, you may want to look Richard up. Besides being a bardic storyteller, he gives story-tours of prehistoric sites.

Judy England-McCarthy: Complaining Bird

Oct 31, 2017

Judy England-McCarthy is a longtime member of the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild. Her original stories are filled with elements of humor and wisdom, magically unfolding to share with the listener life’s truths to both young and old alike. One of her favorite type of tale to tell is pourquoi (puʁ.kwa) stories, that is, how something came into being. This is one that she has adapted from a story from India. Enjoy.

That was Judy England-McCarthy.

Dan Keding: The Banjo Player of Franceville

Oct 31, 2017

Dan Keding, a storyteller born in Chicago and still living in Illinois, is of international acclaim for his telling of traditional world folktales, personal narratives of his boyhood in Chicago, ghost stories and dark tales, and superbly crafted original pieces. Plus, his powerful ballad singing has made him a festival favorite throughout the US, Great Britain and Ireland.

Today’s tale you will recognize thematically, but like all good tales, they travel and adapt to their new homes with the aid of a storyteller. This tale is called The Banjo Player of Franceville.

Bill Harley: Ms. Ammons and the Boy’s Room

Oct 31, 2017

To celebrate the end of the school year, I will play an excerpt from Bill Harley’s Ms. Ammons and the Boy’s Room. Bill is a Grammy Award winning storyteller. The piece is a little long for this program, so to summarize the beginning, it is the end of Bill’s fourth grade school year, and for the last week his class ends up with the substitute teacher from hell. Bill picks up the story from there.


That was Bill Harley.

Susan Klein: Through a Ruby Window, a Martha’s Vineyard Childhood

Oct 31, 2017

Summer is that time of year when kids have time to do what they like. Maybe a little too much time. What is that saying about idle hands?

Today’s story is an excerpt from Susan Klein’s Through a Ruby Window, a Martha’s Vineyard Childhood, in which she and her cousin Dave, while away an afternoon in the company of their dog, Rusty.


That was Susan Klein.

Robin Reichert - The Turtle

Oct 31, 2017

Today we are going to give a listen to local storyteller Robin Reichert. Robin says, “The child within each of us longs to be soothed by the muse of story.” Robin weaves tales that will open your heart and stir your soul’s imaginings. Her original stories often contain elements of her own journey filled with the ups, downs, humor, and magic that life presents to us all.

Robin deals with a good bit of Native American material. Here is one of those called The Turtle.


That was Robin Reichert.

The Children’s Winter Series has already begun. It is held at Godfrey Daniels on the first and third Sunday afternoons, now through March. This coming Sunday my dear friend, Larry Sceurman, will be on stage. Larry has been a member of the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild as long as the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild has been. From lively folk tales to heartfelt personal stories, Larry’s resonant voice will carry you along, down the river of the spoken word.  I am going to play for you Potato Supper from his CD Larry Sceurman Live!