Back Porch Stories
Back Porch Stories, a story-telling event for the entire family, was presented at the Ansonia Theatre in Wadesboro on Friday, April 4, 2014.
Back Porch Stories was sponsored by the Anson County Writers' Club, the Anson County Arts Council, and Anson County Tourism Development Authority as a part of the 2014 Carolinas Writers Conference.
Featured storyteller Mitch Capel/“Gran’daddy Junebug" was born and raised in
the small town of Southern Pines, North Carolina. He has been bringing stories to life and delighting audiences throughout the United States with his warmth, wit and compelling storytelling style since 1985.
As a child, his grandmother read to him from the works of Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and after re-discovering “A Cabin Tale” as an adult, Mitch started reading it to his kids every night and memorized it. He was invited to tell the story at a banquet where there were teachers in the audience, who subsequently invited him to their school. Using make-up and baggy clothes, he developed the older character “Gran’daddy Junebug,” to deliver the words because he felt a young man wouldn’t be as convincing. He proudly claims that now he doesn’t need
“make up” for his characters…he just “shows up!”
Capel has memorized over 70% of Dunbar’s work and is considered the “national interpreter” of the poet laureate. It is Mitch’s voice you hear as Paul Dunbar on the kiosk at The Wright/Dunbar Interpretation Center in Dayton, Ohio.
Capel calls his style of storytelling “sto’etry” (stories recited poetically), and has been described as a “word magician”, a “national treasure”, “unexpectedly powerful”and a “transformer of lives”. He has been featured at numerous festivals including twice at The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN & The Timpanogas Storytelling Festival in Orem, Utah; The Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC; The 2009 Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC and annually at both The National Black Storytelling Festival (since 1988) and The Signifyin’ & Testifyin’ Storytelling Festival in Minnesota (since 1994).
Gale Buck was first labeled as a "storyteller" by Santa, as he presented
The True Magic of Christmas after dinner one evening. Awakened to
his old calling he realized that he had been a storyteller for many
years in cultural arts programs, telling "The Beast of the Highlands"
and other stories about the Great Highland Bagpipes.
Gale now studies with several storytelling groups and offers stories from a library of over 200 original
works. Focusing on stories that reveal the magic in our lives, Gale’s stories will make you laugh; some
will bring tears of sorrow. Almost all will make you think - about who you are, the journey you are on,
and who is traveling with you. And he still shares The True Magic of Christmas at every opportunity.
In addition to stories for telling, Gale has authored three books - The Woodsman’s Tale, share your life
without expectation and Finding Nicholas, secrets of santa revealed by his woodsmen. The third book
retells the Secret Stories of Santa for storytellers. More books about the Woodsmen and the Highlands of Scotland are in the works.
Brenda Gilbert studied music at Greensboro College and theatre at East Carolina University, and has performed in many theatrical productions over the years, including leading roles in I Do, I Do; Guys and Dolls; Mame; Little Mary Sunshine; The Music Man; Never Too Late; Send Me No Flowers and Anne of Green Gables.
She spent over 25 years as the Director of School-Community Relations for Scotland County Schools. Brenda began telling stories in 1980, when a middle school librarian invited her to tell stories to her students. Since then, Brenda has told stories to tens of thousands of students in the Scotland County and surrounding school systems.
She is the founder of the Story Spinners Storytelling Guild, which meets monthly in Laurinburg and enjoys coaching and helping guild members grow in the art of storytelling.
Brenda is co-founder of the Storytelling Festival of Carolina and chairs the board of the Storytelling and Arts Center of the Southeast. She is a member of the North Carolina Storytelling Guild.
J.A. Bolton started telling stories at a young age when the fellas at the local store would buy him a drink and a candy bar to tell 'em a story. He soon found that telling stories was a good way to take a break from hard work on the farm too. Since then, he’s gone on to tell some pretty tall tales that include huntin’, fishin’, and workin’ on the farm. His motto is "Live, Love, Laugh.”