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John Fowler

John Fowler

This Old Porch Host and Word Stage Producer

John started as a volunteer radio announcer in the spring of 1995, spinning vinyl and a brand new media, the Compact-Disc. He recalls, “In those days we had, reel-to-reel recorded programs, and guests crowding around the one mic to perform live - all bundled up into a 2 hour live old-time radio show." Now This Old Porch is three hours of top notch programming with up-to-date technology.

“On top of that nothing has changed,” he said.

When John is not playing his favorite traditional tunes on Sunday afternoon he is busy presenting old-time storytelling and music programs at schools, festivals, college's and special events throughout the region. He also conducts folklore research and workshops for grant development projects. John play's a number of old-time instruments including; banjo, fiddle, harmonica, spoons and auto-harp. "I love the old authentic music, the way it used to sound, and I enjoy playing this music when I'm on-the-air".

johnf@wncw.org

  • Kyra Freeman writes poems, tells stories, and dances in the kitchen in Morganton, North Carolina. A former school librarian turned massage therapist, she was raised in Vermont not too far from the Appalachians. She lives with her family and infamous pets and goes outside as much as possible. She is a member of the Asheville Storytelling Circle and the N.C. Storytelling Guild. A collection of her poetry and photographs entitled: Second Life: Poems of Re-emerging will be released by Redhawk Publications in the summer of 2021.
  • Donna Washington is an internationally known master storyteller, artist educator, and published author who has been performing for audiences of all ages for over thirty-four years. She is renowned for her storytelling for both children & adults from poignant & funny fables about the human condition to racy relationship stories to spine-tingling tales of terror. She has been featured at numerous festivals, schools & libraries theaters, and other venues worldwide including Canada, Peru, Argentina, and Hong Kong. During the pandemic, she has presented over two hundred shows & workshops virtually online.
  • Elena Diana Miller, folk musician, historian, and storyteller performs throughout the region at concert halls, festivals, libraries, and schools, Elena was recently inducted into the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Traditional Artist Directory in 2020 for her contributions to perpetuating folk traditions. She won the Southeast National Park Service Interpreter’s Performance Award twice and the National Award for ‘Best Interpretive Arts Program’ in the United States National Park Service for the encouragement of folk traditions and dynamic performances.
  • A native of West Virginia, Donna Marie Todd trained in classical vocal performance at the renowned Peabody Conservatory of Music with Metropolitan opera soprano Marilyn Cotlow and now writes and performs a unique combination of original story woven with artful song. She is a TEDx speaker, recording artist, singer, writer, teaching artist, and retreat leader. She is a multi-faceted artist who delivers perfectly crafted performances that combine her talents as a speaker, writer, storyteller, and singer. The combination of storytelling and singing has earned her the description of “The Singer of Stories.”
  • Derrick Phillips is a folksinger, songwriter, storyteller, and multi-instrumentalist from Easley, SC. He has been written up as "One of the upcountry's most dynamic folksingers". Perhaps this narrative poem should be an anthem for all street buskers. “We could use a few more like Vagabond Jack”.
  • Ray escaped the urban slums of Richmond, VA by joining the United States Army at the age of 17. As an infantryman and paratrooper, he served around the world and was awarded The Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman’s Badge, among many other decorations for his service. After 20 years, he retired and went back to school, earning his BS in Liberal Arts, MA in Public History, and EdS/EdD in Education Leadership, researching the relationship between parental behavior and African American academic success for his dissertation. During his time as an adjunct professor at Appalachian State University, his most popular courses were “The Souls of Black Folks: An Examination of African American Social Culture” and “Storytelling: Life in the Narrative,” which explored historic and contemporary uses of storytelling and oral history in America.
  • This story, “Now Entering Alaska Time” is an excerpt from Waldman's recently released book, Now Entering Alaska Time. "He brings his instruments, a few fellow musicians, and his poems about surviving a plane crash (locals once called him"a walking dead man"), watching grizzlies feed in a garbage dump, and other adventures in the forty-ninth state."-The New Yorker
  • ”My stories are true and promote good values -many about growing up on a farm in the NC Mountains with 5 sisters and one brother. I relive the stories as I tell them!”
  • Minton Sparks is a wildly original poet, performance artist, novelist, teacher, and essayist born in a Tennessee college town and raised among her Southern family in and around Arkansas. She earned degrees from the University of the South and Vanderbilt University. Her appearances range from the prestigious Jonesborough National Storytelling Festival to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the American Songbook Series at Lincoln Center in New York City.
  • A native of West Virginia, Donna Marie Todd trained in classical vocal performance at the renowned Peabody Conservatory of Music with Metropolitan opera soprano Marilyn Cotlow and now writes and performs a unique combination of original stories woven with artful songs. The combination of storytelling and singing has earned her the description of “The Singer of Stories.”