~ from Shannon McNeal

TELLABRATION!™ 2012 was a wonderful performance and attendance was 153! Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen.  The performers were amazing and everyone seemed to have a lovely time in the space.

A special thank you goes to: Anthony and Kristin Vinson for handling the sound system and decorating the stage; Sarah Beth Nelson and Marilyn Bowden for taking care of the ticket table; John Beavin for the cashbox, the signs and handling the SOS resource table; and Cynthia Rintye for helping Andy Offutt Irwin with his merchandise sales. Harriet Day helped set up, break down and take tickets at the door. Thanks also to Jonah McDonald, Anthony Vinson, Anne Wallace, Ann Ritter, Janice Butt and Cynthia Rintye for performing pro bono for The Friends School, which allowed SOS to use the school’s space for this event at no cost.

There was also some great representation from many of our Cluster groups (especially the Southern Crescent and Atlanta clusters). Cynthia Rintye tapped the “Andy connection” to sell a lot of tickets, and Betty Ann Wylie sold a mass of tickets! [Editor’s note: Thanks also to Shannon for, in Anthony Vinson’s words, herextensive preplanning and careful delegation” and a “stellar job as director” of the program.] 

Stories on the Square in Duluth

SOS members Shannon McNeal, Mike Mount, and Denise Des Soye Mount are in the process of establishing a second Stories on the Square, this one in Gwinnett County. Eddie Owen of Eddie Owen Presents at the Red Clay Theater in Duluth – 3116 Main Street Duluth, Georgia 30096 – (678) 957-7283, has expressed interest in hosting us! This is an exciting opportunity for more storytelling on a monthly basis.

We are considering the first Tuesday of the month for Stories on the Square in Duluth, with a tentative opening date of March 5th. The storytelling guidelines will be the same as at the original Stories on the Square: true personal stories, only, told with no notes; no singing; no comedy routines; and no political, religious, or ex-lover/present spouse diatribes. There is a seven-minute time limit. Everyone who would like to tell will be able to tell.

There is plenty of free parking near the Red Clay Theater, with two restaurants, a coffee shop, and other delightful attractions along the Square.

Stories on the Square in Duluth does not have a website as yet, but we are eager to receive any input you may have – please contact Denise at

Storytelling at First Baptist Church of Decatur

In exchange for use of their facilities for the 31st Annual SOS Storytelling Festival 2013, Janice Butt, Esther Culver, and Bill Moon will be sharing Biblical Storytelling with the members of FBC.  One of them will tell the scripture during the worship services the first three Sundays in January.  Beginning in February, Janice will lead a 6-8 week workshop on Biblical Storytelling for DFB members.

V.E.T.S.: Veterans Expressing Their Stories

~ from Anne Wallace

The SOS V.E.T.S. programs at Callanwolde on November 11th (the actual Veterans Day) and in Fayetteville on November 12th were a great success. There were 91 in attendance at Callanwolde and we have already been invited back to provide more veterans stories for the community next year. At Lewis and Linda Armstrong’s church in Fayetteville we had 80 folks of all ages, including children, and have already scheduled November 11, 2013, as the date for Fayetteville’s next program.

All ranks, all services, and all wars or conflicts, from WWII to the present, were represented. One lady came because she wanted to honor her mom and dad, both now deceased, who served in WWII. This is a program of storytelling that started just as Veterans and their families telling some of their stories to a live audience. Then StoryCorps, heard on National Public Radio (NPR) approached me to ask us to join in their Veterans Initiative of Storytelling.

Each person who records receives their own story on a CD; one CD is kept with StoryCorps and one is housed in the Library of Congress. We have already reached the 60 participants mark. On Memorial Day and Flag Day we have similar programs for veterans to tell their stories. At both November programs we presented a special certificate to the veterans from both SOS and StoryCorps.

Thanks go to: SOS members who helped with the programs (John Beavin, Lewis and Linda Armstrong, Anne and Tom Wallace, Anthony Vinson, B.J. Abraham, Jan Cribbs), and several SOS folks who were in attendance (Mary Apps, Betty English, Verna Muthoni and others); StoryCorps with Amanda Plumb and her assistant; VFW 3650 and VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary 3650 (both from Fayetteville); the Southern Crescent Band; the Fayetteville High School JROTC; and Andrea Caldwell and her singers.

There are many programs honoring our Veterans, but what sets our V.E.T.S. programs apart is the fact that the audience hears the actual stories from our Veterans about their time of service to our country. I think this brings a reality check to us and is a venue for the storytellers to know what they did was and is important to our country.

Click on this link to read about and see pictures of the V.E.T.S. program at Callanwolde: