Cap’s Off to You!–Jerri and Katie Hurley – Mother/Daughter Duo – and Celebrating Story

Jerri and Katie Hurley collageJerri Hurley came into the world of storytelling due to the talent of her daughter, Katie.  For the past three Story Crossroads Festivals, Katie has earned one of the cherished spots through one of our feed-in events, the Murray Storytelling Festival.  Not even half of these wonderful Murray youth tellers continue on to the county-level of our Festival. This in and of itself is amazing.  Then, add to that the volunteerism from Jerri who serves as the Hospitality Chair with the Story Crossroads Board.

DSC_0033Jerri said she was impressed by the Festival and all the ways that the community became involved.  She wished to support Story Crossroads. Jerri sent along a picture of Katie with Mara Menzies, one of our featured tellers of that year from Scotland.

We gladly welcomed Jerri. In return, she welcomed our out-of-state professional story artists to the Salt Lake Valley and personalized the items that the story artists could take home with them to remember Utah. For  example, she knew that Brian “Fox” Ellis loved bird watching. He received a book on Utah birds and then Jerri worked out a trip for Brian to go to the planned a trip to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge between performances and outreaches for Story Crossroads.  She also honored the amazing Utah professional story artists with special goodie bags.

During August, the Granite School District invited Rachel Hedman to teach two different storytelling workshops while introducing people to Story Crossroads.  Rachel knew this only could be done if each of the workshops were kicked off with a youth teller performing for these teachers.  Katie Hurley was one of these selected youth.  She did a wonderful rendition of “Tops and Bottoms” on two neighbors figuring out how to share what they have grown.

Then last September, Story Crossroads had the opportunity to have a booth at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboral celebrating 100 years in Utah.  Jerri and Katie volunteered to help out.  As Janine Nishiguchi and Rachel Hedman performed tandem ghost stories the night before with the Scouts and Leaders, this spooky theme continued on with the booth.  The people spun the Scary Story Starter and found out which one of the four beginnings would be theirs to build and shake our bones.  One lady told the Hurleys that this was the best booth in the entire Jamboral.  There was always a line of Scouts, anxious to tell stories…and to earn one to four pieces of candy depending on how developed their stories turned out.

To handle the lines, Katie decided to perform for a small group of Scouts.  Katie has grown her repertoire after a few years telling for the Murray Storytelling Festival and the Story Crossroads Festival.  One of the groups of Scouts were those with special needs.  All were enthralled.

Jerri captured some of the moments as seen in the pictures above.  She wrote to us, “Katie is loving helping out with the booth.”  We know that we will count on Katie–and her mother–many more times.

So toss, tip, or take off your cap to Jerri and Katie Hurley!

We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 4th Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 15, 2019.

Cap’s Off to You!–Karl Behling – Mountain Man – and Celebrating Story

Karl Behling - Mountain Man collage

Karl Behling is either in disguise as a teacher who then becomes a storytellin’ Mountain Man or a storytellin’ teacher who then becomes a Mountain Man. Either way, he brings such delight with the Mountain Man Petting Zoo.  There are no live animals at a Mountain Man Petting Zoo. The pelts are spread out and it’s the safest way to pet a coyote or fox. Though, as Sam Payne joked, there is still a “live” Mountain Man.  Karl is as “live” as they come. We asked if Karl could do this Mountain Man Petting Zoo as part of our first year of offering hands-on story activities with the 3rd Annual Story Crossroads Festival on May 23, 2018. He said yes.  All went well…and then Mother Nature hit.

The night before the Festival, it had poured and pounded with rain. We thought a back-up plan would be needed as the daytime part is held at the Murray City Park. Thankfully, we did not need to use that plan. The morning of May 23rd, the ominous dark-clouded sky transformed into robin-egg-blue sky with puffs of white. Karl Behling could set up his canopy and furs amongst the freshly watered green grass.  The stream behind him bubbled more wildly and the butterflies returned from their shelters.

Students upon students met Karl and discovered some Mountain Man games. Some kids drew the Mountain Man Petting Zoo as one of their favorite experiences at the Festival. Sometimes as many as five kids were petting the same pelt. Karl introduced them to turtle poop…or what came out of his turtle shell bag that seemed to be jelly beans.  Or was it?  There is a piece highlighting Karl with the Apple Seed storytelling radio show archived here:

When it was time to pack up at the Murray City Park, the sun still shone. There were hints of rain. Karl was one of the last to gather his things but not in time to save his canopy and whooshed back from a gush of wind. The canopy got bent and ripped. We did not learn of until a few weeks later.  He said he wanted us to not worry and focus on the amazing time that everyone had as storytellers and story listeners.

No worries. Karl will have a canopy again. And canopy or no canopy, he is always ready to share stories.  In fact, for the 2019 Story Crossroads Festival, he will share stories from a Mountain Man’s perspective of the different cultures that made the Transcontinental Railroad possible. The Golden Spike was hammered in on May 10, 1869. As our Festival lands on May 15, 2019, we wanted to celebrate along with much of the state of Utah. Karl will share these pieces on Wednesday night, May 15th at the South Jordan Community Center and then again at the Gale Center of History and Culture on May 28th.

Learn more about Karl Behling here:

So toss, tip, or take off your cap to Karl Behling!

We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 4th Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 15, 2019.

Cap’s Off to You!–Diamond Rental (Randy Rutherford) and Celebrating Story

Diamond Rental collage.pngDiamond Rental–and specially Randy Rutherford–have been so important to have enough chairs for the 2017 and 2018 Story Crossroads Festivals.  Then came an urgent need to be solved in a few days.  We had microphones and amplifiers reserved though another organization and found out a couple days before the Festival that they would no longer be available.  I scrambled to figure out options and thought of who of my friends had their own microphones.  Luckily, we already were counting on the sound equipment of the ever-generous Annie and Dan Eastmond.  Finally, I called Randy at Diamond Rental.  “We are certainly glad you are providing those 100 extra chairs for free…any chance we can get four microphones and two amplifiers next week?”

Randy had to call around to see if the equipment was available in such a short amount of time.  He called back and said that almost all was covered.  He was short two microphone stands.  Thankfully, Parkside Elementary next to the Murray City Park offered two of their microphone stands and our sound crisis was averted.

I told Randy that I felt bad that the programs were already printed because that jumped up the in-kind donation to another level.  I promised we would place Diamond Rental up for the 2019 Festival.  Luckily, we can also celebrate here through this blog.

Diamond Rental’s motto is “What you need when you need it.”  Here Randy helped us out  exactly when we needed it.

Learn more about Diamond Rental here:

You can also see a video explaining services and equipment here plus I discovered this video clip of a story of a different situation from Paul who had to solve something quick and received help from Diamond Rental.

So toss, tip, or take off your cap to Diamond Rental (Randy Rutherford)!

We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 4th Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 15, 2019.

Cap’s Off to You!–Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and Celebrating Story

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art collageWe reached out to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art as we were impressed by what they offered each year in the Children’s Yard at the Utah Arts Festival.  No matter what the theme, UMOCA always had activities that intrigued the 5-year-olds to the adults.  When we spoke with Elly Baldwin, the Curator of Public Engagement, she wished that the Art Truck could be offered.  Yet, knowing UMOCA had their own pop-up tents and supplies, Elly thought that a visual arts story activity could still solidify UMOCA’s involvement with the 2018 Story Crossroads Festival.

Elly turned to her staff and volunteers and they came up with a visual art story project involving flipbooks.  They had two different types depending on if they were working with young elementary students or upper grades into the secondary schools.  They were smart with using resources they already had on hand while also preparing die-cuts to be more efficient when working with the students.

As we worked out field trips for the 3rd Annual Story Crossroads Festival for May 23, 2018, we rotated classes from the sit-down storytelling concerts to these hands-on activities including with what UMOCA had to offer.  We told Elly that perhaps there would be 100 students per 1-hour session divided up amongst the other hands-on activities such as Karl Behling’s Mountain Man Petting Zoo or the Self-Led Story Walk.  Then, it turned out to be 200 students per 1-hour session.

Elly was wonderful and said that they would prepare more flipbooks.  We laughed about this “good” problem and knew we would be even better prepared when it came to 2019.

To meet Elly Baldwin as well as the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, see this 3-minute film through KUED’s “Contact with Mary Dickson” show:

Learn more about the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art at their website here:

From this same website it says:

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to host a variety of special events throughout the year, including the popular Fluid Art, a pairing of arts and ales, as well as its annual gala, the museum’s largest fundraiser of the year. UMOCA also presents a variety of collaborations, including dance performances and film screenings, as well as monthly gallery exhibition openings.

So toss, tip, or take off your cap to the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art!

We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 3rd Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 23, 2018.

Reflections & Complete Listing–A to Z Blog Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]StorycrossroadsLogo--more squareWe were pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (  The Story Crossroads theme for this year was Kindness Across  Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care.  Below is the complete A to Z listing.

So now to reflect…

I have enjoyed each of the four years that we have participated in the A to Z Blog Challenge.  There were plenty of struggles and always a few posts that barely make it before midnight.  Yet, being able to not only post that many times AND on a topic of kindness…it was awe-inspiring.

Awe-inspiring to be affirmed that the world is full of kindness.

Awe-inspiring to be affirmed that all cultures reflect kindness in their traditional stories.

Awe-inspiring to learn about countries and cultures that I had never heard of before and now I feel connected like I never did before.

Each of the six major continents were represented.  Several different faiths were showcased including my own, which was nerve-striking yet satisfying.  I purposely chose some war-torn countries.  Those stories from those places was the most powerful to me of all for I know that most people are amazing and thoughtful.  Sometimes kindnesses are small and simple and sometimes kindnesses encompass ultimate sacrifices of time, money, and life.  The Ethiopian story touches on a kindness not often celebrated–of showing kindness to enemies, those who would use and abuse you.

I did find it amusing at how much easier it was to find kindness stories in some cultures as it was for others.  It was a little harder to find kindness stories in Caucasian-dominant cultures. Some stories had great potential and then turned bad, and I mean extremely bad.  I noticed that a lot of Latin American stories had this overall feeling that good eventually gets punished.  I found wonderful Latin American one from Peru.

For the first time since the other challenges, I had several posts “scheduled” for 7:00am MST.  It was a relief to know that those posts would easily make the deadlines.  Perhaps for 2019, I will “schedule” more of them in advance and my challenge will really be March instead of April…though time will only tell.

In the meantime, enjoy this complete listing from this A to Z Blog Challenge.

By the way, thanks to your kindness in reading (and commenting).

Complete Listing – Kindness Across Cultures – Stories to Prove We Care

A = Afghanistan Affection & Altruism (Hired Hands)

B = Buddhist Benevolence & Big-Heartedness (Monkey King’s Bridge)

C = Chinese Charitableness & Care (The Girl and the Waterfall)

D= Damascus Devotion & Delight (The Power of Song, Syria)

E= Ethiopian Equanimity & Endurance (Shield of Kindness)

F= Filipino Fidelity & Forgiveness (Bridge of Flowers)

G= German Generosity & Goodness, (Grimms’ Golden Goose)

H= Hindu Harmoniousness & Humility (The Ideal Son, Sukrama)

I= Irish Intuition & Interconnectedness (Jack and His Companions)

J= Jewish Joy & Judiciousness (The Secret of the Innkeeper’s Blessings)

K= Kenyan Kindness & Keenness (How the Ostrich got its Long Neck)

L= LDS Love & Loyalty (10,000 Stripling Warriors)

M= Mosul Magnanimity & Mercy (Sparrow’s Wife, Iraqi tale)

N= Navajo Nobleness & Neighborliness (Little Dawn Boy and the Rainbow Trail)

O= Orkney Open-handedness & Oneness (Kate Crackernuts, Scottish)

P= Peru Peacefulness & Patience (Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo)

Q= Qatari Quality & Quick-Wittiness (Qatari Fsaijrah and the Magic fish)

R= Russian Respectfulness & Resilience (Vasilissa the Fair)

S= Swazi Sweetness & Sacrifice (The Collared Crow)

T= Torres Strait Thoughtfulness & Tenderness (Bia)

U= Ukraine Understanding & Unselfishness (The Birds’ Gift)

V= Vietnam Valance & Valor (The Legend of the Mia Flower)

W= Winnebago Warm-heartedness & Wholesomeness (The Orphan Who Was Blessed with a Horse)

X= Xhosa Xenial & Xenodochial (The Hare and the Tree Spirit, South Africa)

Y= Yonder Yukon Yoke-fellowship & Yarn-listening (The Orphan and the Polar Bear, Inuit)

Z= Zimbabwe Zeroth & Zenith (Children of Wax)

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 with free performances May 21-24, 2018 (see schedule here:  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.