Piddlers preserve culture through stories

Emma Daniel

Staff Writer

Young and old filled up the Trojan Center Theatre three times Saturday to see the 12th Annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival, featuring anecdotes from “Southern hill country,” as described by various speakers.

“There’s history in it; these stories are passed down, some from great-grandparents from the hills, and some from their ancestors,” said Henry Hudley, a member of the Brundidge Historical Society.

Before the main event, a trio entertained the crowd with Southern gospel and bluegrass music, encouraging the audience to sing along.

“I think these days everyone feels like a number,” said Elizabeth Ellis, one of the storytellers featured. “There’s so much pressure to be alike, and it’s hard to know where you are.

“Storytelling is a wonderful medicine for helping remember we are individual and put us in touch in learning how to be better.”

Josh Goforth, a Grammy-nominated musician who has played at the Grand Ole Opry and Carnegie Hall, also performed, telling stories of his childhood in Western North Carolina. During the intermission, a few people sneaked into the wing to find him with a fiddle playing “Orange Blossom Special,” a famously complicated song to play.

Tim Lowry commented on the importance of preserving Southern culture through storytelling.

“All the good goes through,” Lowry said. “A good reason to preserve is culture.

“There’s lots of good.”

Lowry is a former teacher from South Carolina who now tells stories professionally.

Donald Davis, who has appeared at every Storytelling Festival for 12 years, told a story about his wife and the love they had for 30 years.

“I enjoyed the storytelling event because of the history it entailed,” said Katie Curington, a junior English language arts education major from Enterprise. “He (Goforth) was able to put the audience in the same headspace as his and take us to many different places, and his ability to bring the audience together and be fully engaged was great.”

Curington said she would certainly attend next year’s event.

After the storytelling, there was a cornbread and buttermilk reception in which audience members could speak to the storytellers and enjoy a Southern treat.

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