Watauga Arts Council Presents ‘Wit and Wisdom: A Tapestry of Tunes, Tales from Around the World’

Published Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

The Watauga County Arts Council would like to take you on a trip around the world…through stories and music! In a program entitled, “Wit and Wisdom: A Tapestry of Tunes and Tales from Around the World,” more than a dozen cultures and customs of the world will be explored.

This event will take place on Sunday afternoon, August 13th at 2pm and will last just over an hour. It will take place at the High Country United Church of Christ, located at 8235 US Hwy 421 North in Vilas. Admission is by donation with a suggested minimum of $5. It is suggested that this event is most appropriate for adults and children over the age of 10.

Storytelling and music predate writing, going back to the dawn of mankind. Many stories communicate the spirit of the culture and the folklore of that part of the world. Music also documents the culture and stories of the various parts of the world so what better way to celebrate the many cultures of our world than with stories and music?   This un-narrated event will begin with lively Hebrew tunes, move to an east European folktale, then progress to Russia through a classical guitar piece. As the program progresses the cultures, stories, and music of France, Japan, Wales, Iran, Brazil, Africa, Ireland, Spain, and American Indian culture will be presented.

The performers for this event will be two storytellers, Mary Gray and Linda Spitzer, and two musicians, Pat Lanno (playing flute and piano) and David Smith (playing guitar).  

Mary Gray has been telling stories of all kinds to all ages since the 1980s. She was raised in a rural, community in west Wales in a family whose members and whose neighbors: “told stories all the time.” Mary obtained a degree in History from the University of Wales. She has worked in London, Lesotho, Cameroon, Canada and Denmark before coming to the U.S.A. Her astronomer husband, Richard, whom she met and married in Cameroon, teaches at Appalachian State University. Mary has published seven titles under her maiden name, Mary Perkins, all of which are available on Amazon. Her latest book, Turning Toward Home, a poetry collection was published in the U.K. by Bibliofiles Ltd in 2016 and is now available both on <amazon.com> and from Dancing Moon in Boone. Mary is a very keen gardener and is currently working on a book titled “Backyard Bliss”, a memoir about growing vegetables and flowers in Boone.

Pat Lanno received her BS in Music Education from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA and recently completed a Certificate in Sacred Music from Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk, VA. She taught public school music in New Jersey and North Carolina before retiring last year. Pat serves as Director of Music at Deerfield United Methodist Church in Boone and as the president of the Board of the Watauga County Arts Council.  

David Smith is an alumnus of Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  He holds degrees from UNC Charlotte in Music and Traditional Philosophy and a Master of Music Performance in Classical Guitar from Appalachian State.  Currently, Mr. Smith is a freelance musician in the Boone area and an adjunct music teacher at Emory & Henry College in Emory, VA.  and at the Watauga County Arts Council’s Blue Ridge ArtSpace. He has played in a Jazz duo, a Rock cover band, and currently plays music at Amazing Grace Christian Fellowship in Mountain City.  Primarily, David focuses his attention on Classical guitar music from various time periods and to travel the world playing music is one of his dreams.  David is currently preparing a 20th Century concert for the fall.

 Linda Spitzer is a native Floridian and as a senior citizen earned a Masters Degree in Storytelling from ETSU. She has been a featured storyteller at many storytelling festivals in the southeast Including the Toe River storytelling festival, the Jones House, the Ensemble theater, Havurah of High Country, Sisterhood of Temple of the High Country and the Lees McRae theater department. Linda was the storylady at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables,Florida for 10 years and directed and produced 26 storytelling programs on Cable TV in Miami. Linda has told stories at schools, churches, synagogues, assisted living facilities, national parks, nature centers, museums and many women’s civic organizations. Three of her stories are published in Sandspun, Florida Folktales by Florida Storytellers and another is the introduction to the book, Boston:Peaceful Places to Go. Spitzer’s website is www.storyqueen.com

 All proceeds go to present and encourage the arts throughout our community through the work of the Watauga County Arts Council. The focus of the Watauga County Arts Council is on “Making the ARTS a Presence in Our Community” and they do this is a wide variety of ways.

At the Blue Ridge ArtSpace, located at the corner of Shadowline and State Farm Roads, there are four galleries, a gift shop, and four classrooms. Through these they offer 4 monthly gallery exhibitions (with a free celebratory event every 2nd Saturday from 5:30-7:30 pm). In the gift shop, they present the work of approximately 70 local artisans of all descriptions…from handmade greeting cards to pottery to paintings to jewelry to fiber arts to wood crafting and much more!   In the four classrooms, they offer violin, guitar, piano and drawing lessons plus a wide array of workshops and classes in the arts.

In addition, the Arts Council works to serve the entire community through various events, grants awarded to artists or community organizations, programming for schools, and a scholarship program to make Watauga County a wonderful place to live and work.   Their website is www.watauga-arts.org or they may be contacted by telephone at 828-264-1789.

Mary Gray, storyteller

David Smith, musician

Linda Spitzer, storyteller

Pat Lanno, musician

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