A Patchwork of Stories, featuring renowned storytellers Tom Chalmers, DeWayne Barton, David Holt and Laura Boosinger, takes place at the Folk Art Center on Sunday, March 22, from 2–4 p.m. The storytelling concert is presented by Stories on Asheville’s Front Porch (SAFP) and co-sponsored by the Wilma Dykeman Legacy, the Southern Highlands Craft Guild and the Asheville Storytelling Circle. The event raises funds for a free weekly storytelling series in July.
“The name A Patchwork of Stories represents the diversity of performances,” says SAFP leadership team member and Wilma Dykeman Legacy president Jim Stokely. “The event has been a terrific success over the years, due in part to a great venue provided by the Southern Highlands Craft Guild.”
This year’s tellers bring a mix of personal narrative, humor, music and poetry, providing a look at Appalachian culture from a variety of perspectives. Chalmers, who has served as emcee for the past four years, switches gears to perform as a storyteller. Familiar to many as host of the monthly storytelling series Listen to This at Asheville Community Theatre’s 35below, Chalmers is also an improv actor trained with Second City and Improv Olympics in Chicago as well as the Groundlings East/Gotham City Improv in New York.
“Tom has a contemporary take on story and storytelling,” says SAFP chair Becky Stone. “He is a master of personal narrative and humor.”
Asheville native and Gulf War veteran DeWayne Barton draws on more than 20 years of involvement in community improvement and youth development in his performances. He is the author of two books of poetry. His mixed-media, found-art installations have been featured at Duke University, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Upstairs Artspace, Asheville’s Fringe Festival, August Wilson Museum as part of the Affrilachian Artist Project and the Hillcrest Mural Project.
“DeWayne will bring us the human experience in verse, couched in the life of an African American with deep Asheville roots,” says Stone. “His work is fun, funny, insightful and sometimes startling.”
Texas native David Holt will share music and traditions learned through his travels to remote Appalachian mountain communities rich with folk music, stories and wisdom. An old-time banjo player, he has earned four Grammy Awards and performed and recorded with Doc Watson, Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff and Chet Atkins. Today he tours the country performing solo, with his band David Holt and the Lightning Bolts, and with Sutton, Holt and Coleman.
Laura Boosinger will bring her vocal and instrumental talents to the event, along with her experiences with Appalachian culture. She and Holt will perform a portion of the musical program together.
“Our primary focus is traditional storytelling, but we want to stretch the ear of our audiences as well,” says Stone. “Everything will be family-appropriate, but never dull. We will be surprised and delighted.”
The Folk Art Center is located at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door and can be purchased in advance at BrownPaperTickets.com.