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December 2009 – January 2010

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


“Storytelling is a sacred art. And the irony of it is that most people—if you say that—back away. They want to be amused mostly, or have a way of passing a little time. Not Blue. Even when I'm trying to be funny, I'm trying to give you my soul. That's strong."

                                                                           Brother Blue,  1921 – 2009


Story Circle Business News


Meetings 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. are at the William K. Sanford Public Library (Colonie) and 6:15 to 9:00 p.m. at the Guilderland Library (GPL). At GPL, we will have a topic for panel/roundtable discussion. 

Upcoming Meetings:

December 16 at GPLHoliday Meeting – Facilitator: Louise Koenig Bring a snack to share.  Join in the Story Circle’s Traditional Holiday Telling of “Same Story Different Voices”. This year: Rumplestiltskin!

January 19 at Colonie. Facilitator: Carol Connolly

October 2009 Story Circle Meeting:  October 21 - GPL Stories and Swap. Facilitator: Claire Nolan. 

Claire Nolan – Crossing Borders - Personal

Kate Dudding – Gifts of Friendship - Personal

Christy Keegan – Hoboes and Hookers Ch. 2 - Personal

Carol Connolly and Don Darmer (Tales n Tunes) – Too Much Noise on Halloween Night - Adapted

Adam Hoffman – The Hermit’s House – Spooky New York

Nancy Marie Payne – Animal Council – Fables by Jambbal

November 2009 Story Circle Meeting: November 17 in Colonie. Facilitator: Joe Doolittle 

Our meeting was a two part session from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Marni Gillard, Mary Murphy, and Paula Weiss, (plus some kids parents & sibling) joined us with this years first year student tellers from Children at the Well.  They shared stories they were preparing to tell at their Showcase December 13th at 2:00 PM at the Unitarian Society in Schenectady.  They were awesome and reflected their enthusiasm and the work of their coaches in their stories.  Many also had attended Tellabration and they shared positive experiences from watching and learning from the tellers.  Following this session we had our regular meeting with a Warm-up : Favorite elements of Thanksgiving

Stories Told:

Kate Dudding - Tapping with Vicki - a personal story

Nancy Payne   -The Woman & her son - from Newspaper

Adam Hoffman-The Great Race  -  Native American Tale

Aviva Rossman  -  A spontaneous tale - extemporaneous

Joe Doolittle  -  Love & Fresh Vegetables - personal/South Africa

 Dee Wind - Listener

Theme for the night: bustling energy from the kids of Children at the Well and appreciations for Coaching and a great Tellabration.


Dues are Due in January - $10.00 per year.  Please use the form on Page 8.


Winter is almost here; keep in mind our Cancellation Policy: Use the following guidelines to cancel a meeting or to check on a scheduled meeting:  It is up to the facilitator to decide to cancel a meeting. The facilitator may consult with Carol Connolly or Kate Dudding. If the facilitator decides to cancel a meeting: 1) Send out an e-mail message via the Story Circle listserv (or ask Carol Connolly or Kate Dudding to do it) and 2) Notify the library
Story Circle members who are planning to attend a meeting may call or e-mail either the facilitator or the library to determine if a meeting is being held.


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.

Children at the Well: Interfaith Youth Storytelling Sunday, December 13th 2:00 p.m. First Unitarian Society of Schenectady 1221 Wendell Avenue.  Fifth Annual Interfaith Telling with youth from the Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Unitarian and B'hai traditions.  Stories will be followed by light refreshments and an interfaith mixer activity; no pot-luck this year, http://www.childrenatthewell.org/
OPEN MIC in SaratogaSignups to tell stories at 6:45 p.m. Stories begin at 7:00 pm
Monday December 14, Caffé Lena 47 Phila St. Saratoga Springs 12866 (518) 583-0022. $3.00
Monday January 13 at Woodlawn Commons. Free.   Directions to Woodlawn Commons:
From Broadway in Saratoga, turn West on Church St. Turn right on Seward St.  (if you get as far as the hospital, you've gone one block too far). Turn right again on Clement st. (at the 2nd stop sign)
Look for Hospice and turn in.  Woodlawn is the big yellow building straight ahead. (156 Lawrence St.)

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

Interfaith Story Circle January Meeting time and date TBD

Dates and Location TBD - Albany Open Mic - We are looking for storytellers and listeners and a location for an Open Mic in Albany – call Claire at 209-6477 or e-mail cbnolou@yahoo.com if you are interested.

Family Programs

December 6 Sunday at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 -- “Holly Jolly Holiday Songs & Stories.” Tales 'n Tunes will perform on at the Empire State Plaza during the Holiday Tree Lighting Festival.  Meeting Room 6 on the Concourse Level. Free.

December 6 Sunday at 10:00 am.  Family Hanukah program with Judith Black.  Cohen Hillel Open House located on Community Rd. Marblehead, MA. Contact: shira@cohenhillel.org

December 13 Sunday 3:00 – 4:00 pm “Gifts of the Season”: Holiday Stories from Storyteller Robin Bady, accompanied by alterna–pop violinist Deni Bonet at NYU (New York City). Admission: $5 for adults (free for children and New York University folk) Contact: (212)998-5867 or ed.theatre@nyu.edu.
December 18
Friday 3:00 to 4:00 pm. Regina Ress
Stories for the Winter Solstice  at The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center inside Central Park, 110th Street (between Fifth and Lenox Avenues), New York City.  For this darkest moment in the cycle of the year, Regina Ress brings tales from the many beautiful winter holidays that celebrate light in the darkness. Come to the Dana Discovery Center for this multi–cultural hour ending with a candle light procession inviting the light to return and with it a sweet New Year. Admission: Free. 212-860-1370

Check out http://www.storytelling-nyc.org/calendar.html for more New York City Storytelling events.


December 19 and December 20 Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 pm at Hubbard Hall Main Stage.  A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas “A Holiday Readers' Theater” to benefit the Cambridge Food Pantry. Directed by Dina Janis.  Dylan Thomas' A Child's Christmas in Wales has become a familiar part of the holiday season. This simple tale captures the child's eye-view and an adult's warm remembrance of the time of presents, good things to eat, and, in the best of circumstances, newly fallen snow. A holiday event for the entire family, presented by the Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall. At the Concession Stand: We will offer a variety of traditional Welsh fayre, available a la carte, including Leek & Potato soup, hearty bread and butter, Welsh cakes, apple pie and cheddar cheese, and mulled cider, coffee or tea. Doors will open at 7:30pm with food available before the show and during intermission. Tickets: $12.00 non-member, $10.00 member, $5.00 student 25 E. Main St. Cambridge, NY 12816. 518-677-2495 (9 to 5, M - F).  http://www.hubbardhall.org


Adult Programs




Story Slams. What is a story slam? According to massmouth at http://massmouth.ning.com/ “a  Story Slam is “based on a poetry slam format and similar to American Idol, a story slam is a contest of wit, words and in this case, story by known and undiscovered talent.” massmouth posts a theme on it's blogspot and story slammers sign up on the night to tell a 5-minute short story on the evening's theme . Ten lucky tellers will be picked at random, or participants can opt to listen, or join a judging team. There will be 3 teams of 3 judges and the 2 sets of 5 stories will begin with a short-short feature by one of the judges. Listeners will be engaged in story improv games and other entertainment between the 5 minute features. And the audience will have full service for the pub menu and bar at http://www.kennedysmidtown.com/index.htm. Their menu is varied and the food is good!
December’s theme is "its my job". Or it was your job? Work. Each of the ten 5 minute stories is judged on how well it is told, how well it is constructed and how well it honors the time limit and relates to the theme. The 3 highest-scoring tellers are awarded prizes and an opportunity to perform at the "the big mouthoff" venue and date TBA. Prizes will be awarded at each slam. $10 which includes a $5.00 cover and one drink.

December 6 Sunday 5:00 – 8:00 pm Story Sunday at Glen SandersKindred Spirits”. With Barbara Chepaitis  and Kate Dudding.  Sometimes our lives are blessed by caring and sharing people who touch our hearts and change our lives. Join Barbara and Kate as they share stories of kindred spirits. Barbara Chepaitis is author of 7 published novels, including the critically acclaimed Feeding Christine and These Dreams, as well as the sci-fi series featuring Jaguar Addams. She is past director of the storytelling trio The Snickering Witches, and a Teaching Artist with the Lincoln Center Arts in Education program. Kate Dudding brings history to life by giving a voice to people from the past. She has been commissioned to create performance pieces by several organizations, including: The New-York Historical Society, Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, and The Empire State Aerosciences Museum. Menu: Brisket of Beef with Pan Gravy; Herb Crusted Panko Chicken; Orecchiette Pasta with Broccolini and Plum Tomatoes. 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, NY, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. $30 per person (includes entertainment, dinner, tax and tip) Bring someone new and you each save $3 (only one discount/person). Reservations: (518) 384-1700    sc@katedudding.com

December 14 6pm to 9:30pm – Story Slam - "it's my job" in Boston -  third in a series of 6 slams in 2009-2010 - "its my job" or it was. look here for details on theme and more on slams... http://massmouth.ning.com/forum/topics/story-slam-rules-pr-for. Organized by Doria Hughes, Andrea Lovett, Norah Dooley, Stu Mendleson at Kennedy’s Midtown 42 Providence St. Boston, MA.  http://www.kennedysmidtown  Phone: 617-426-3333

January 10 Sunday 5:00 – 8:00 pm Story Sunday at Glen SandersStories and Songs from the Adirondacks and Beyond” with Dan Berggren and Jeannine Laverty. Sharing an enchantment with the Adirondacks, singer/songwriter Dan Berggren and storyteller Jeannine Laverty join together for an evening of entertainment from these mountains and beyond. Menu: Sliced Sirloin of Beef with roasted garlic demi glace, potatoes and seasonal vegetables; Chicken Francaise with rice and seasonal vegetables; Pasta Primavera. 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, NY, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. $30 per person (includes entertainment, dinner, tax and tip) Bring someone new and you each save $3 (only one discount/person). Reservations: (518) 384-1700    sc@katedudding.com

January 16 Saturday 7:00 pm at Proctors “Stories from Canada” with Margaret French. A spoken Word Program in Robb Alley before the Canadian Brass.  Proctors Theater 432 State Street. Schenectady 12305.  Free.

January 17 Sunday 2:00 pm.  Word Plays at Proctors.  “Oh Shit!” with Claire Nolan and Frank Wind. These stories are so unusual, so unbelievable that they must be shared. Things like this have happened to us; they’ve probably happened to you, too! The only logical response to these personal stories and folktales will be, "Oh Shit!". In the Fenimore Gallery at Proctors Theater 432 State St. Schenectady NY 12305. $16.00 http://www.storycircleatproctors.org/wp%20third%20season%201%20coupon.pdf for Money Saving Coupon!  Tickets at the Proctor’s Box Office: http://www.proctors.org/

January 31 Sunday 5:00 – 8:00 pm Story Sunday at Glen Sanders “Having Everything Right” with Three Spirits: Kent Busman, Alden (Joe) Doolittle, and Harlan Ratmeyer. Stories of the "right place and time”, of life "in balance." Join three of the region’s most whimsical and irrepressible storytellers as they spin tales of those key moments in life when we sigh and connect and realize that life just might be in "balance," or at least we're close! Reverend Busman directs the Fowler Camp and Conference Center, Reformed Church in America, Joe Doolittle leads a not-for profit healthcare quality initiative, and Reverend Ratmeyer is Director of Pastoral Care at Albany Medical Center and Pastor of the 1st  Reformed Church of Bethlehem.

Menu: Beef Tenderloin Tips with Egg Noodles and seasonal vegetables; Chicken Alexander with potatoes and seasonal vegetables; Eggplant Piccatta . 1 Glen Avenue, Scotia, NY, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. $30 per person (includes entertainment, dinner, tax and tip) Bring someone new and you each save $3 (only one discount/person). Reservations: (518) 384-1700    sc@katedudding.com

February 21 Sunday 2:00 pm.  Word Plays at Proctors “Hunger” with Mary Murphy and Nancy Marie Payne. Anyone who has ever wanted something, really wanted it, knows that hunger doesn't only pertain to food. This afternoon, our tellers will explore the humor, longings and driving desire behind hunger. In the Fenimore Gallery at Proctors Theater 432 State St. Schenectady NY 12305. $16.00 see http://www.storycircleatproctors.org/wp%20third%20season%201%20coupon.pdf for Money Saving Coupon!  Tickets at the Proctor’s Box Office: http://www.proctors.org/

Ongoing The Moth StorySlams various locations, NY, NY http://www.themoth.org/storyslams

Check out http://www.storytelling-nyc.org/calendar.html for more New York City Storytelling events!

Storytelling on the Radio

http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=09-P13-00048&segmentID=6 Jay O’Callahan tells the story of JC High Eagle an engineer at NASA who worked on the Apollo Missions. And you can hear Jay O'Callahan's live broadcast performance of "Forged in the Stars" – his love letter to NASA, on Living on Earth radio program, the last week in December.  In New York’s Capital District, tune in at WAMC 90.3FM - Saturdays, 6am-7am and Tuesdays, 8pm-9pm.

Workshops and Classes for Storytellers


January 26 Tuesday 6:30-8:30 “Chicken Soup for Body & Soul”  with Marni Gillard
Homemade chicken soup with warm crusty bread leads to an evening of storytelling, two ways to nurture your relationship with the divine. Choral prayer concludes the evening. Dominican Retreat and Conference Center, Rt. 7 Niskayuna, NY.  $20.00 per person; for reservations call (518) 393-4169 Monday through Friday, 8:30-4:30 PM or email

February 22 2010 – March 7 2010 A Storytelling Tourism experience in India.

Limited to 18 Participants. Orientation in Chennai, India then by Bus: Visiting the East Coast Sea-Fishing Village of Poompuhar, Visiting the Central City of Madurai,

Visiting Locations in the Western Ghats Mountains. Including the Valparai area, home of the Muthuvan tribal people (who claim that their ancestors accompanied Kannagi to this area).

Along the way --

1) Tamil Language Teaching and Learning (for visitors to Tamil Nadu).

2) Storytelling (with translation when needed), as listeners and tellers,

Especially relating to the Silappathikaram (the Epic of the Anklet, Kannagi’s story);

and to Folktales -- Grandmother stories, Raja-Rani stories, stories in which animals

speak, etc. -- of the five traditional Tamil eco-cultural zones (seashore, agricultural lands,

pasture lands, barren lands, and mountain forests) in which the story takes place.

3) Storytelling Workshops. Participants will keep journals.

4) Interactive Talks with Scholars and Members of Communities.

This tour will be led by Eric Miller (based in Chennai), Director of the WSI; and Laura Simms

(based in New York City), a longtime leader of the International Storytelling Movement. For more information:  http://storytellinginstitute.org/ 


News from LANES

The League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling

The Passing of Brother Blue

By Laura Packer

“We ain’t nothin’ but music wrapped in a body made of snow.” Brother Bluehttp://etc.usf.edu/clipart/3200/3236/butterfly_3_lg.gif
On Tuesday night, storytelling night, November 3, 2009, our beloved mentor, teacher and self-proclaimed holy fool Brother Blue, left this world to go home to be with the ancestors. We who remain are left so very blessed by his presence in this world and in our lives. He taught us how to live stories, not just tell them. He told us that storytelling is God talking to God and modeled that every single day. And when Blue listened, he listened powerfully with all his heart, all his soul and all his strength. Anyone who has ever been near him knows this. He didn’t just change the world, he changed worlds – every single person he met. In the street, at festivals, in prisons, at storyteller gatherings, in the offices of academics and wherever there was music.
If Blue were here to talk about himself now he would say, “Don’t remember Blue. Remember Ruth. Ruth is truth.” Ruth, Blue’s amazing wife who has kept him from floating off into the clouds for decades, is doing about as well as can be expected.

Brother Blue passed peacefully – he was ready. He got to tell one last story to his beloved Ruth and then let go. As far as we can tell he was not in pain.

More information can be found at http://www.laurapacker.com/brotherblue. You can leave your memories of Blue and messages for Ruth, his wife. Blue once said, “When you tell a story, you tell it to all creation. It's cosmic. It never goes away.” He will always be with us. Go and tell your stories. Laura Packer www.truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.com

Tellabration News

Each year in November, in 200 locations around the world, people gather together to share stories at programs called Tellabration. In Schenectady, NY on November 15, at the GE Theater at Proctors, Tellabration 2009 featured eight storytellers:
Claire Beetlestone, Betty Cassidy, Regi Carpenter, Kate Dudding, Karen Glass, Christie Keegan, Jeannine Laverty and Claire Nolan
The emcee was the Storyteller Laureate of Kingston, NY, Karen Pillsworth

Proceeds from  previous Tellabration programs have funded over 75 storytelling events at libraries, museums and other locations in the Capital District.

Kate Dudding and Joe Doolittle, the producers of Tellabration, tell us that “this year, Tellabration was buoyant - the stories lifted both audience and tellers to a humorous, poignant place where memories are kept and savored. We’ve heard many friends and long-term listeners say this was the ‘best’ Tellabration ever. Over 170 people heard some of the wonderful storytellers in our area share their favorite stories while helping us fund even more free storytelling events in our communities.”  Kate and Joe would also like to extend “a special thank you to all the members of Story Circle who worked hard to make such a wonderful Tellabration happen this year. You can look at a Tellabration 2009  program and read all about the production staff and other contributors at http://www.storycircleatproctors.org/Tell%202009%20program%20and%20staff.pdf. Our honored guests were the students, interns and staff of Children at the Well, another storytelling group in this area. This is Children at the Well’s fifth year of bringing young people (and their families) of different faiths together in a subtle way, by developing and sharing stories from each young person’s own tradition, rather than by trying to change minds politically. This fall's class of students will be presenting their own storytelling program on Sunday, December 13 2:00 pm at the First Unitarian Society of Schenectady 1221 Wendell Avenue.”

 Tellabration CDs:   “Smiling Out Loud: Stories of Joy and Laughter, Tellabration 2008” are available.  Eight great Tellers, eight superb stories and one of the best example of an emcee you'll hear. A keepsake, and a support of StoryCircle. 

$15 each with mailing costs. ($12 if picked up at December meeting)

Two or more $27 ($24), three plus add 10 each.  Performers each receive one CD free.

Please email your interest in picking up copies at the December meeting to Joe Doolittle; aldenjoe@aatt.net or if requesting CDs be mailed send a check payable to StoryCircle Productions to  Alden Doolittle at112 Maplewood Drive, Scotia, new York 12302.


Among Ourselves

Theresa Stevens of Saratoga Springs has become a member of the Writing Workshop at the Saratoga Senior Center and some of her work will be published this year.  Her main focus is on writing her memoirs of growing up during the depression years (1930's and 1940's).  Copies will be inexpensive and available for sale at the Center and a few other places.  Anyone interested may contact her at hereclown@verizon.net.

Sharing the Love:

A Story Circle Member finds a way to introduce a new group to Storytelling

By Louise D. Koenig

Several years ago, at the Riverway Storytelling Festival, I laughed through Dan Keding's performance.  As he told stories about his parochial school experience in Illinois, I could easily relate, even though I had gone to a public school.  That night, I jotted down a few memories dealing with my elementary school days.  About a year ago, I finally wrote the story which has never been critiqued or presented. 

           This past October I went to Ireland.  I traveled with a group from the NYS Retired Teachers’ Association.  Listening to the conversations among my fellow travelers many of whom were educators, I was reminded of my story.  How appropriate!  My story was about education and the principal of my elementary school had been Irish! I hoped to have the chance to tell my story to the group. What a great way, I thought, to introduce this group, mostly from the Capital District, to our Story Circle. 

           Sure enough, one evening, about 15 minutes before dinner time, I had the opportunity of presenting my story, "Surviving Elementary School".  The story led to many discussions during dinner. I hope to share this story with the Story Circle this coming year. 


Looking Ahead

April 19 – 25 2010 Riverway Storytelling Festival.  Various venues and times.  Watch http://www.riverwaystorytellingfestival.org/ for more information!

                                  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 16)

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 19)








(  ) 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 is in January of each year.

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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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