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December 2008 – January 2009

The Newsletter of the Story Circle of the Capital District

Editor and Publisher: Claire Nolan 11 Norwood Street Albany, NY 12203

(518) 209-6477 E-mail: cbnolou@yahoo.com

Visit our web site at www.story-circle.org


“The difference between the right word and the almost right word

is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

Mark Twain


Story Circle Business News


Meetings 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the William K. Sanford Public Library and 6:15 to 9:00 p.m. at the Guilderland Library (GPL). At GPL, we will have a topic for panel/roundtable discussion.  Facilitators for upcoming meetings:
Upcoming Meetings:
December 17 -- GPL— Nancy Payne  facilitator  -  
 Cinderella is the story chosen for this year’s fun, One Story, Different Voices Bring your version of this tale to share.
January 20 – William K. Sanford Library in Colonie.

Story Circle Meeting Wednesday October 15 in Niskayuna

Facilitators: Kate Dudding and Fran Berger

Stories told:
Nancy Payne-- Australian creation story
Joe Doolittle-- "A Mountain for Me"--original
Adam Hoffman-- "Rival Fiddlers"--from <Spooky New York>
Kate Dudding-- "Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell" -- British legend
Louise Koenig-- "So What Else is New" –original
Dan Testo-- "Boo!" -- a jump tale
Tales 'n Tunes-- "Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Afraid of Anything"

                      -- picture book by Linda Williams\"Scarecrow Song" -- original

Jane Ainslie, Gert Johnson, Karen Pillsworth


Story Circle Meeting Tuesday November 18 in Colonie

Louise Koenig  – Facilitator

Stories told:
Dee Wind--"Rental's Rescue", (true)    

Eric Randall--"A Ghost Story" (true)

Adam Hoffman--"Loop Garoo"

Nancy Payne--"The Milkmaid" (two versions for contrast)

Kate Dudding--"A Different World" (taken from an interview from the 1940's)

Frank Wind— an original story

Joe DoolittleQuest rover” he could not complete his story because he gave up his time to others. 

Don Darmer, Carol Connolly,
Kent Busman, Karen Pillsworth, Dee Wind and Patsy Patrick


Ongoing Events

Story by Story is our weekly TV show; tune in on Sunday nights at 8:30 and Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 on Schenectady Public Access TV, Channel 16.

OPEN MIC in Saratoga on the Second Wednesday of each month. 

December 10 (6:45 sign-up) Stories from 7 – 9 at Woodlawn Commons CANCALLED


January 14 (6:45 sign-up) Stories from 7 – 9: at Caffè Lena 47 Phila St. Saratoga Springs. 6:45 pm sign ups; 7:00 Storytelling. Phone: 583-0022.



OPEN MIC in Schenectady  Robb Alley  CANCALLED


Adirondack Storytelling Guild – Contact Fran Yardley  franstory@gmail.com.


Interfaith Story Circle - Wednesday  December 10 6:30-8:30 p.m.                                   

Chapel House at the University at Albany

 Facilitator: Tracy Offield

Theme: Stories from the Baha'i tradition

 Come join us to learn about the Baha'i faith.  Tracy will share stories from his tradition and invite listeners to share favorite stories from their own. 

 A great opportunity to learn about a faith that is new to most of us in our circle.  Please consider joining us to welcome Tracy and the Baha'is to interfaith storytelling the UAlbany Chapel House, an interfaith venue also new to our circle.  Chapel House is located on University Drive West across from the SEFCU Arena at the University at Albany Campus. (Enter the campus from Western Avenue; turn left and look for the Chapel House sign on your left.  The building itself is set back from the road among trees and is somewhat hard to see. If you reach the Dutch Quad parking lot, you've gone too far.) GRSJohnson@aol.com

Interfaith Story Circle Winter Lights Sunday January 21 – Time and Place to be announced.  Contact Gert Johnson GRSJohnson@aol.com


Family Programs

December 2 at 6 p.m. Alan McClintock  "Stories from Near and Far" at the Stillwater Free Library 74 South Hudson Avenue (Routes 4 & 32) in the village of Stillwater, north of Mechanicville, south of Schuylerville.  For more information please call 664-6255. Free

December 7 at 3:30 Dee and Frank Wind at the old Masonic Temple 138 Maple Ave, Altamont, NY 12009.  For more information please call Judith Wines at the Altamont Library 861-7239. Free.

December 14 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Rotterdam Square Mall.  PJ Party with Santa.  All kids are welcome for an evening with Santa – Dress in your PJs.  Enjoy listening to Santa read a story, milk and cookies, as well as games and entertainment by storyteller Claire Nolan and Radio Disney.  The event will be held in the Macy’s Wing.  93 W. Campbell Road, Schenectady. 374-0300. Free.

December 31 at 8:00 and again at 9:00 p.m.  Fran Yardley will be presenting Adirondack Stories; New and Old at First Night Saranac Lake. Location: The Artist's Guild, Main Street Saranac Lake. For a full schedule and more information, go to www.firstnightsaranaclake.org/schedule.html


Adult Programs

December 7 from 5:00 – 8:00  Jubilee: A Potpourri of Stories. Six splendid performers, Barbara Chepaitis, Margaret French, Claire Nolan, Eric Randall, Ben Russell, and Dan Testo, share some of their favorite stories with us.  Story Sunday at Glen Sanders; 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, NY. $30 per person (includes entertainment, dinner, tax and tip). Bring someone new and you each save $3 (only one discount/person).  Entree Choices:
Sliced Sirloin of Beef with roasted garlic demi glace;
Chicken Alexander, a boneless breast of chicken filled with spinach, mozzarella cheese and roasted red peppers;
Penne Pasta with roasted vegetables. For reservations call 384-1700.


January 11 from 5:00 – 8:00 Three Spirits: Stories of Coincidence, Surprise & Shared Joy with Storytellers Kent Busman, Alden (Joe) Doolittle, and Harlan Ratmeyer who will entrance us with tales to warm a winter's night.  Story Sunday at Glen Sanders; 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, NY. $30 per person (includes entertainment, dinner, tax and tip). Bring someone new and you each save $3 (only one discount/person).  Entree Choices:
Beef Tips with rosemary demi glace;
Chicken Pomodoro, a lightly breaded boneless chicken breast topped with sliced tomato and fontinella cheese;
Eggplant Parmagiana.


January 24 at 7:30 pm   Surprise! Storytellers Fran Combs Berger and Claire Nolan appearing together for the first time - Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the theatre - these two will surprise you from the depths of the ocean, down a bumpy road and in the middle of an Oklahoma tornado. Word Plays in The Gallery at Proctors. Saturdays at 7:30 pm.  Free Parking.  432 State Street, Schenectady. http://www.storycircleatproctors.org/word-plays.shtml. $16.


February 21 at 7:30 pm  Detours. Betty Cassidy, Margaret French and Nancy Marie Payne  Potholes, rough roads, lane changes and dead ends. Or, once in awhile, unexpected new vistas and a new destination. Join Margaret, Betty, and Nancy as they share stories about life's detours. Word Plays in The Gallery at Proctors. Saturdays at 7:30 pm.  Free Parking. 432 State Street, Schenectady. http://www.storycircleatproctors.org/word-plays.shtml. $16.


Workshops and Classes for Storytellers

April 16, 2009April 19, 2009 Each year Marni Gillard brings Storyteller/Coach Doug Lipman to her home in Schenectady for an intensive weekend workshop. Beginners and experienced tellers work together and learn both how to improve our work and how to find the kind of supportive helpers that keep us from feeling isolated in our artistry in the future.
Thursday evening (
7 p.m.) - Sunday (2:30 p.m.)
Thursday there is an optional soup/salad dinner at 6.
Sunday April 19 Doug is performing at the Glen Sanders Story Sunday Dinner Series from 5-8 ($30).

COST: $497... BUT SAVE $100 by paying in full by Feb. 1.
Yes, just $397 for 3 sessions of individual coaching, 7 sessions of watching others be coached, and several mini-lectures on topics from how artistic work equals political work to how to find support for your artistic growth year round. $50 deposit holds your spot. The weekend is limited to 8. If you can¹t come, it will be refunded once the weekend is full. Any returnee to one of Doug¹s long workshops, here or elsewhere, gets an additional $30 returnee discount ($367).


Among Ourselves

December 8 Claire Nolan as Mother Jones at the Voorheesville Middle School.



Never Give up on Youth Storytellers
                                                               by  Marni Gillard

At the end of September I finished a life-story residency with 9th graders at
Schenectady High School and, frankly, I was wiped. Although just about everyone told a tale to a partner or four-some, I felt tremendous resistance from the kids to see themselves as storytellers and tell to the whole class. Throughout the unit their teachers stayed relaxed and after some cajoling, a few students each period stepped up. Still, I never quite got that feeling of “success” at the residency’s end. Afterward, I was headed out of town for over a week, but the teachers and I listed some names of the young people we thought might be willing to put on a team show, once I got back. Well, ten arrived for the first of five rehearsals over a three-week period and finally on October 30, we pulled off an all-9th-grade (fine arts house) assembly, Mod 4. It was SOOOO cool. After so many years telling tales you’d think I’d know the power of storytelling and the potential of new storytellers. Yet, as I write, I am still in awe after watching what looked like some barely smoldering sparks burst into a stunning mid-day October bonfire that warmed and thrilled us all.

Kids who had acted shy or seemingly blah during those after-school rehearsals, suddenly sparkled once their friends (all the 9th graders) sauntered in as “audience.”  Here are just a few highlights:

Madison opened as a six-year-old seeing her teen cousins playfully give each other the finger. When she asked her bigger cousin, “What’s that mean?” the girl hesitated then said, “Um, ‘I love you.’” Madison’s child narrator fantasizes who she might say “I love you” to since she just loves everybody at her new Catholic school. At the conclusion of morning Mass the next day, she folds her little fingers just right and offers her newly acquired learning to the priest.

Allanah, after rehearsing in a kind of speed-mumbling style, finally showed her true wacky teenaged self and reenacted how she and a cousin replayed a scene from “Jackass II” (the movie) - the one where you shovel snow INTO your house and then ski down the stairs....(needless to say, a cautionary tale).

Breanna’s mere entrance brought whoops and hollers. She high-fived the whole front row, then OWNED the stage. With perfect timing she stared down anyone not totally listening! She shared what it would be like, as a ten-year-old, to watch your mom being arrested, and took us straight into the terror. She had never closed her tale like this before, but tearily and maturely, she warned, “You know how everyone says ‘I HATE MY MOTHER’- Well stop it. Appreciate what you got.” And the audience applauded wildly!

Jordon, 9th grade cool football star, closed the concert, unafraid to show how chicken he was to jump off a local bridge on a hot summer day though all his older homeboys were doing it. (“Usually I’m ‘Monkey-see, monkey-do’ but not THIS time!”) We felt him tremble as he held tight to the bridge and looked down. Finally, arms flailing, he jumped. A childlike face emerged from the water, “I STILL think you are all CRAZY, but that wasn’t just scary, it was fun!”

Schenectady High’s award-winning fine arts department stresses dance, music, drama, and art, but these were first-semester shy 9th graders exhibiting for their peers how to push thru the fear of daring to be dramatic, and did they shine. Storytelling was suddenly “stand up” - funny, goofy and, yes, very moving. We used the black box theater and those skinny chin-wire mikes and our “little performance” suddenly became a professional show.

I tell this partly as a teaching tale for myself and other artist-educators. Never stop believing in the kids. Push through any discouragement that says things aren’t going well. Keep appreciating and nurturing every seed of skill new storytellers (or dancers or musicians or....) show, and respect that their fear of performing is real but will pass with the opportunity to perform in an authentic setting. Tim Dugan, Pat Harmon, Rich Agnello, and I hung in with those teens, and they showed their stuff.



Dues are Due!


Story Circle dues are due in January. Dues are $10.00 per person. By paying dues, you are listed on the Story Circle Membership List, you are  eligible to be included in our Roster of Tellers, receive bi-monthly  issues (by snail mail or email) of our newsletter, the Talespinner, and  are eligible for a discount on SCCD sponsored workshops with national tellers. So, mail your dues to Carol Connolly Carol Connolly, 1100 Niskayuna Road, Niskayuna, NY 12309.  Use the handy form found here in the December/January issue of the Talespinner.

 See You Next Time!


All meetings are held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the 3rd Tuesday or Wednesday of the month alternating between Tuesdays in odd numbered months at the William K. Sanford Library and Wednesdays in even numbered months at the Guilderland Public Library.

DIRECTIONS: The Guilderland Public Library is located at 2228 Western Avenue, Guilderland, 1/2 mile west of Rte. 155 on the south side of Western Avenue. (December)

The William K. Sanford Library is located at 629 Albany Shaker Road, just off Northway Exit 4, and 1/4 mile east of the intersection of Wolf Road and Albany Shaker Road on the left side.  (January)








(  ) I want to be a member of Story Circle, enclosed is a check for $10.00 for the newsletter and a roster of members. Renewal January of each year.

(  ) List my name among performing storytellers for referral.

(  ) Send my newsletters via US mail.   (  ) Send my newsletters via E-mail.

Membership renewals are due each January and are good for one year.  Please make checks payable to “Story Circle” and send to Carol Connolly, 1100 Niskayuna Road, Niskayuna, NY 12309

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