BSCTC, MAC to host a Night of Appalachian Storytelling on September 8 in Prestonsburg

Aug 24, 2018

Hilarie Spangler
Credit Hilarie Spangler

Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) and the Mountain Arts Center (MAC) will host a Night of Appalachian Storytelling at 6 p.m., Saturday, September 8 at the Gearheart Auditorium (One Bert T. Combs Drive) on the Prestonsburg campus of BSCTC.

The event is presented by Gearheart Communications and Appalachian Wireless.  Admission is $5 for adults and children under the age of 12 are free.  The event is family friendly.

Tammy Ball, LCSW, professor of human services and division chair for social and behavioral sciences at BSCTC, is a member of the Kentucky Storytelling Association and came up with the idea of a local event after attending the association’s annual conference at Cumberland Park State Resort Park earlier this year.

“As a social worker and someone who loves Appalachia, I have always been enamored by the rich history and culture that is found in the mountains and valleys we call home,” said Ball. “We can all relate to family stories and tales passed down from generation to generation. I wanted to have a night that celebrated our culture and our stories, and I want to provide an opportunity for people to hear some of the best storytellers in Appalachia close to home.”

Storytellers participating in this event include Karen Dollinger, Ray Mendenhall, and Hilarie Spangler. 

Dollinger is an assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Pikeville and has performed in events such as the Ohio State University Medieval and Renaissance Fair, various libraries, and historical reenactment events as an Irish bard.  Her repertoire includes medieval stories, Irish, English, and Eastern European folktales, ghost stories, Ohio history stories, and stories from Spain and Mexico. 

Mendenhall comes from a family of storytellers. Humorous stories and family anecdotes filled his youth. In 2000, Ray began storytelling professionally and has been telling in venues across North and South Carolina and Kentucky ever since. Following the “jolly man” tradition, Mendenhall spins folk tales, fairy tales, and tall tales from many places along with original stories, home-grown humor and traditional folksongs and campfire ditties into a celebration of the storytelling art.

His infectious humor and easy style have engaged audiences in festivals, schools, libraries, churches, civic organizations and workshops. He has performed at both the North Carolina and Kentucky State Fairs. He has won gold and bronze medals for music in the NC State Senior Games Performance Arts Finals. In 2009, he won first place in the Bold-faced Liars Showdown in Laurinburg, NC.

A lover of the interdisciplinary, Spangler is a musician, visual artist, director, producer and activist interested in the connection between rural and urban and international art practice. In her studies, she has conducted research in both the arts and in community development as seen throughout her undergraduate thesis entitled: The Art of Connecting which studies creating complex economic structures with the foundation in community arts initiatives to support community development and cultural identity. She most recently is credited with co-founding and acting as a lead artist on a new project called Crossroads Lab. This lab is an interdisciplinary, first-voice exploration of 21st century Appalachian identity in live performance.

Other notable work includes: working with South Central Music and Arts as a piano and vocal instructor, working with HERE Arts Center and the PROTOTYPE: Opera, Theatre, Now Festival in NYC. Spangler has told stories in various settings, including her own workshops, in Northern Ireland and in the Moth's Young Women's Voices festival. Hilarie will be joining the board of the Kentucky Storytelling Association and is a Peace Corps Campus Ambassador for Western Kentucky University.

Tickets are $5 (does not include taxes and fees) and on sale now at the MAC Box Office at 50 Hal Rogers Drive in Prestonsburg, Ky., by calling 1-888-MAC-ARTS, or online at: http://www.macarts.com

Tickets will also be available at the door for $5 beginning at 5 p.m. the day of the show.

(provided by Mountain Arts Center)