Alliance for the Arts Presents The Elephant: Stories You’ll Never Forget on Jan. 31

The Alliance for the Arts presents The Elephant: Stories You’ll Never Forget on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. The event features 10 area storytellers who recount a variety of narratives from personal tales to folktales. This storytelling showcase is produced by Storytellers of the Round Table.

The group has been staging smaller storytelling events over the past year. Tickets to this event are $15 for Alliance members and $20 for non-members.

About the Storytellers:

Emcee & Storyteller: Joel Ying is a Naples physician practicing integrative & holistic health in his private practice. He originally joined Toastmasters in 2009 to improve his public speaking presentations. As he advanced as a speaker, he discovered the art of storytelling and the National Storytelling Festival. He became a storyteller and began a series of StorySlams, just to have a place to tell stories.

Personal story: The Teacher

Mark Beland grew up in Bergen county New Jersey and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration at Ramapo College.  He joined Avow Hospice in May of 2016 as a Community Liaison, responsible for creating  awareness in Collier County of Avow’s services including: hospice care, palliative care, grief support, and care giver support.  He is a member of Toastmasters International, and his story won first place at the Toastmaster Humorous Speech Contest for District 48 in 2016.  You will hear that winning story Jan. 31.  He lives in Estero with his wife and teenage son.

Personal story: A Strange Desire to Speak Spanish

Rhonda Brazina has always loved stories. From her childhood to her teaching days … to reading to her own children, she has loved the art of storytelling. She wanted to write a children’s book to tell a story for children and achieved this in 2011 when she and her friend wrote “Carrots for Charlie”, a book set in Naples with a positive message about health and fitness. These days as a Toastmaster and aspiring actor, Rhonda enjoys writing stories and telling them to all who will listen.

                Personal story: Can a Leopard Change Its Spots?

Robert David is a Florida native and data consultant for the real estate industry. He provides up-to-date market information to his clients. He joined Toastmasters in 2015 as a way to challenge himself and get out of his comfort zone. He is new to storytelling. Tonight he will be speaking about something else that makes him uncomfortable.

Personal story: The A/C Story

Dwight Elam was born in Lexington, Kentucky.  He is a former school teacher, college professor, and currently ministers at First Christian Church in Punta Gorda.  He comes from a long line of liars, also known as storytellers.  His daddy said that he was vaccinated with a phonograph needle.  Dwight is a member of Toastmasters International, the Tamiami Tale Tellers, and the Florida Storytelling Association.

Folktale: The Country Store

Marilyn Graham retired in 2014 from a 40 year career as a librarian and library administrator.  She was introduced to storytelling when she worked as a children’s librarian during her career.  She has been a member of the Tamiami Tale Tellers for 20+ years and has organized and produced many of its storytelling programs and workshops.  Marilyn is now an award winning photographer.

Personal story: A Trombone Tale 

Tashahara Jallad joined Toastmasters International in 2008. After achieving the level of Distinguished Toastmaster, she began to explore storytelling. She joined the Florida Storytelling Association and started the Storytellers of the Round Table. Tashahara adapts and weaves universal messages that touch the heart, challenge the mind, and lift the spirit. With a belief that a story is the shortest distance between two hearts, she will inspire you to pass them along.

Folktale: Truth and Story

Lisa Leonhardt is a fourth grade teacher at Tice Elementary.  She tells stories to her students, her family, and to anyone else who will sit still for a story.  Lisa credits her grandfather and an elementary school librarian for sparking her interest in storytelling.  She has been a longtime member of the Tamiami Tale Tellers and together with Marilyn Graham has kept storytelling alive and thriving in Fort Myers for 20+ years.

Personal story: The Enchanted Cottage

Howard Silverman has been telling stories since his children were in preschool.  This long-time member of the Tamiami Tale Tellers enjoys telling as well as listening. Howard, a retired pharmacist, likes storytelling more than working. His telephone conversations with his mother are legendary in our local storytelling community.

Tall-Tale: The Dollop

Mary Lou Williams is a retired teacher. She first became interested in storytelling when she heard an Appalachian storyteller at an Elderhostel in Boone, North Carolina.  She has been hooked ever since.  She has served on the board of the Florida Storytelling Association and has produced local storytelling workshops and concerts featuring national tellers.  She is also a member of Toastmasters International and the Tamiami Tale Tellers.

Fractured personal story: Being in the News

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