Monday, November 28, 2016

Carols Coming to the Mountain State

Susanna "Granny Sue" Holstein and Jeff Seager will begin their annual series of presentations of the program, Here We Come A-Caroling, this evening for Road Scholars at Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, WV.

Holstein and Seager have been presenting the program for five years, in venues as diverse as the carols they explore. House concerts, libraries, state parks and churches have all hosted the presentation, which offers the stories and lore behind the carols and opportunities for audience singalong. Some of the songs are familiar favorites, others are obscure and ancient with roots leading back to Celtic times.

The Charleston GazetteMail ran an article about this program this Sunday. Click here to read the article. 

For more information about the program, contact Susanna Holstein at 304-372-5861, or via email at There is still time to schedule a presentation for the coming holidays.

Monday, November 14, 2016

 As storytellers who take part in festivals, we are aware of the fund raising challenges these events face. Grants are difficult to secure, and often require matching funds.
 My Welsh storytelling friend Eirwen Malin, who is a chair of the Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival in St. Donat's, Wales, has asked me to pass this link on to you as a means to help secure funding for the next festival in 2018. It has become as difficult for our friends in the UK to secure arts funding as it has become here for us. is a link to a subscription organized by the Beyond the Border Festival. It is a year-long subscription that features recordings of stories geared to children. You can visit it as many times as you like, and stories will be added throughout the year.

I invite you to check it out. Eirwen tells her original tale, "The Christmas Angel."  Her partner, Phil Thomas, designed the new website. Peter Stevenson, who visited with several of our Guild members in October in Morgantown, also tells a tale. I have heard many of the tellers featured, and I can assure you, their work is delightful.

At a time when it appears that the world is spinning out of control, it is wonderful to have something that brings us back to a place of peace and calm, and I can think of no better place than to listen to fine stories.

Thanks for the listen!

Judi Tarowsky

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Museum Day at Campus Martius in Marietta, Ohio

WV Storytelling Guild members Susanna "Granny Sue" Holstein and Judi Tarowsky will be telling tales at Campus Martius in Marietta, Ohio on Satuday, August 6th. Come by and have a listen!

From the museum's website:

On August 6th come and celebrate Museum Day and discover everything that Campus Martius and the Ohio River Museums have to offer. A visit to the museums will not just be for historical discovery. There will be something for everyone from toddlers to seniors.

A variety of musicians will take us on trips to the past, highlighting various eras, instruments, and locales. Come and relax while you are serenaded by "Riverboat John" Ferguson, Scott Cain, John Whitacre, and Theresa and Richard Halsey.

Susan Fowler, artist, storyteller, and scientist brings her unique teaching techniques to Museum Day as she draws in young and old to learn about the history and environments of our inland waterways.

Doc Hollen, Purveyor of Patent Medicine, will be on hand with his Medicine Show to entertain and mystify. Visitors can step back in time when con men traveled the country side telling tall tales and selling snake oil to cure all.

Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, accompanied by their wives, Mary Todd Lincoln and Martha Washington will be on hand to greet and visit with museum guests.

Storytellers, Susanna Holstein and Judi Tarowsky will delight audiences with tales of long ago. Come and reminisce with us as they recall stories and events when times were simpler and stories had a lot of heart.

This is just a little of what the day will offer! So, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 6, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM at Campus Martius & the Ohio River Museums. And remember, this entire event is FREE!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stories in the Round Begins in Hagerstown

Coming next week! Anyone in the Hagerstown/Frederick/Winchester/Northern VA-MD-DC area? West Virginia Storytelling Guild member Susanna Holstein will be in your neighborhood on Monday, April 25, at 7pm.

Stories, Appalachian ballads, coal mining items and more to kick off this first program in the Stories in the Round series hosted by storyteller Fanny Crawford.


Monday, April 25th 2016 7.00 p.m.
Susanna Connelly Holstein starts Season III of Stories In The Round with family stories, Appalachian ballads & folk tales. 
Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown,
13245 Cearfoss Pike, Hagerstown MD. 
$10 in advance, $12 at door.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Hello Girls Coming to West Virginia

Coming to Fairmont State University's Frank and Eva Gabor Folklife Center, 
on the campus. 
Tuesday, April 5, 5-7pm.
Admission $10 adults
$5 students
Sorry, no credit cards.

Workshop With Lyn Ford Coming Soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

No Peeking! A Christmas Tale from Judi Tarowsky

Storyteller's Christmas: No Peeking!

My mother used to "hide" our Christmas gifts in different places in the days leading up to the Big Day. We found the first hiding place, at least that I can remember, in the closet under the stairs. I was about six then, I think. Then she shifted her stash to her bedroom, a place off-limits to children unless we were invited in. The door was almost always locked, but through the keyhole we could see a big mound covered with a sheet. We knew Santa brought most of our gifts, of course, but we also knew that our parents provided some--and that mound was s-o-o-o mysterious! 

Today Judi Tarowsky of Saint Clairsville, Ohio, shares her earlies Christmas memory. Judi has family roots in Gilmer county, West Virginia and she is currently president of the WV Storytelling Guild. 

No Peeking!

The first Christmas I can remember was when I was a little over 2 years old, and we were living in a two-story house on Fairmont Street in New Castle, PA. I was a restless sleeper, so I was still in my crib. My mother was afraid I’d toss myself onto the floor if I were in a “big girl” bed.

 Although I’m sure I had heard all the excitement about Christmas, it hadn’t yet registered with me about Christmas morning and a visit from Santa Claus. My memory is of my older brother coming into my room when it was still dark outside, and waking me up.

“Let’s see what Santa brought us!” he said, as I climbed out of my crib and followed him into the hallway. “Shhhhh!”

Our house was two-story, with a landing halfway up the stairs. We stopped there on the landing, to look out over the living room. All was dark, except for the streetlight shining in the front window. And there, below us under the Christmas tree, something was reflecting the streetlight. Something shining. 

Handlebars! Handlebars on a two-wheel bike for my brother and a tricycle for me!

We scampered down the stairs as quietly as we could to inspect the marvels that Santa had left. A bicycle! 

A tricycle! Oh, the wonder! So, this is what Santa Claus did while we were sleeping! There were wrapped packages under the tree, too, but our attention was focused on the bikes. My brother wouldn’t be able to ride his bike outside until spring, but I could wheel my tricycle around the first floor of the house.

 My brother’s curiosity was satisfied, and my newly-awakened curiosity realized it was satisfied, too. We tip-toed back up the stairs – our parents were still asleep – and my brother made sure I safely climbed back into my crib.

It’s a memory. It’s a story I’ve told to our son, so now it’s his story, too. May this Christmas, and all those hereafter, bring wonderful memories to your family.
Share yours. Make stories.                                                         

Judi Young Tarowsky holds a BSJ from WVU and a Graduate Certificate in Storytelling from the University of North Texas. She formerly worked as a newspaper reporter in Wheeling and Steubenville, OH. Among other venues, she has performed at Three Rivers Storytelling Festival, the WV State Folk Festival, and many other venues. She was one of the founders of the Grand Vue Storytelling Festival and the Pricketts Fort Storytelling Festival.

Contact Judi at: 
Judi Tarowsky