Summer Storytellers Returns June 26

Two years ago, Charlotte Area Networking for Development and Opportunity (CanDo!) inaugurated Summer Storytellers, an evening of personal stories by and about area residents. The enthusiastic response from the standing-room only audience inspired the CanDo! board of directors to make Summer Storytellers an annual event.

On June 26, beginning at 5:30 p.m., storytellers will take the stage of Windwalker Underground Gallery, 125 S. Cochran Avenue. Each will have 15 minutes to entertain, inform and inspire attendees.

One of 2017 and 2018 Summer Storytellers, Ben Phlegar, will be returning this year.  His remembrance of his time as a high school baseball coach motivated him to champion the new Charlotte High School Athletic Hall of Fame, which he serves as chairman. Ben retired in 2010 from teaching after 36 years of public service, the last 31 at Charlotte High School. He also coached high school baseball for 35 years in the State of Michigan with 33 of those years at Charlotte. He was varsity coach for 14 of those years. He lives in Charlotte with his wife Barb and has two adult sons.  Unlike the past two year’s Ben will not be telling a story about baseball.  His story is about pop culture involving his father and a group everyone knows about when he was in 8th grade from 1964.

Joining Ben this year will be the “The Man from the Land of the Hand”, Mike Cox. Mike has performed at the Alaska Folk Festival, the Duwamish Tribe’s Longhouse in Seattle, Washington and numerous classrooms in Michigan and Alaska.  He recently moved to Charlotte to be closer to his grandkids.  Mike’s story starts out as a Native American story about a monster living in the Grand River.  It has morphed into a fish tale, a whopper of tale, Jingle Bells on the Grand.

Laura Apol’s story is titled “Poems are Stories, too”.  Laura is an associate professor at Michigan State University and Lansing-area poet laureate. Her poetry has been published in four full-length collections. Her most recent book, Nothing but the Blood, is the winner of the Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry.

Another exciting addition to the Summer Story Tellers event is Jennifer Pahl Otto.  Jennifer creates and tells original stories for adults and for children.  They range from totally true to totally not true.  Her stories always have a unique point of view and a distinctive voice, quirky and kind.  She tells her stories at schools, nature centers, storytelling festivals and conferences, and other public events.  She has four books for children in print based on stories she tells, including her latest, Princess Hippopotamus.  They are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and are published by Mead-Hill.  Jennifer will be telling a story about a cat that starts in the true personal story realm and moves into the world of the tall tale. The story is titled “Red the Cat.”

This is just a peak at what is in store for you on Wednesday, June 26 at 5:30 pm. at Windwalker. Be sure to look next week for additional Storytellers who will join the event to entertain, inform and inspire.