Retired Methodist minister Davis now master storyteller

Mariposa Storytelling Festival March 8-10

-- Mariposa County Arts CouncilFebruary 27, 2013 

Storyteller Donald Davis, a retired Methodist minister, is one of six nationally known master storytellers who will appear at the Mariposa County Arts Council's 26th Mariposa Storytelling Festival, March 8-10.

The festival features unique tales from a variety of cultures and backgrounds, reminiscent of a performance by Mark Twain or Garrison Keeler.

Davis is one of the busiest storytellers in the nation, a delight for all ages and has been called the father of family tales. He talks about getting in trouble when he was young, capturing everyone's imagination as he describes his hilarious adventures of life.

Born in the Southern Appalachian Mountain region, a world rich in stories, Davis he grew up hearing gentle fairy tales, scary mountain lore and ancient Welsh and Scottish folktales. It was Uncle Frank, a man who "talked in stories," who inspired Davis to follow suit. "I didn't learn stories, I just absorbed them," is how Davis describes his life's immersion into the exciting world of storytelling.

His many life accomplishments and learning experiences have informed and influenced his storytelling career. A graduate of Duke University Divinity School, Davis has served as chairperson of the board of directors for the National Storytelling Association. He has performed at the Smithsonian Institution and is featured annually at the National Storytelling Festival and the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

An author and producer of numerous books and audio recordings, he is a master storytelling teacher as well as guest host for National Public Radio's, "Good Evening."

Laura Pershin Raynor

Nationally known storyteller, Laura Pershin Raynor, will also perform at the festival.

As a fourth generation storyteller, Raynor has been telling tales for 30 years and brings to life a colorful cast of characters from her unique and loving family, as well as stories of secret messages, delicious recipes gone wrong and outrageous tricksters. Many of her stories originate from the fine art of listening around the kitchen table.

Her grandmother Dinah, who lived to be 105 years old, raised her on the tales of the Old Country, providing another background for Laura's stories, told in in her animated and intimate style

Laura has been featured at the Celebrations of Light Festival for 14 years in Midland, Texas, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, as well as the National Storytelling Festival and Teller in Residence Program in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

In 2006 she won the Award of Merit for Children's Librarian of the Year in the State of Michigan. Her storytelling home is in the Ann Arbor District Library where she tells tales weekly to enthusiastic three-through five-year-old listeners.

Performing with Davis and Raynor during the three day festival will be master storytellers Patrick Ball, Lyn Ford, Angela Lloyd and David Novak and Laura Pershin Raynor.

Friday and Saturday's storytelling events take place at Mariposa County High School and Sunday's storytelling take place in Yosemite National Park's east auditorium.

Friday and Saturday's 7 p.m. storytelling performances take place at Mariposa County High School and March 10 events take place at the East Auditorium in Yosemite National Park.

The festival also features a Back Stage Party with the storytellers after opening night as well as a Children's Story Concert, Tales for Those a Bit Older, Mother Lode Revue and Nuggets and Gems storytelling sessions Saturday afternoon.

Tickets range from $9 for Saturday's daytime presentations to $74 for a two-day festival pass. General admission tickets cost $28 for Friday and Saturday night performances featuring all six storytellers. Children, student and senior discount are available.

Details: Mariposa County Arts Council, (800) 903-9936,

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