Kim Weitkam grew up in York County, Pennsylvania as a kid who always got into trouble for talking and being the class clown. She rarely sat down for lunch but worked the tables telling jokes and tales to whomever would listen. That energy never quit, and today she uses her storytelling skills to make audiences laugh and cry. “Laughter and tears are close relatives,” she said. “They both require trust and openness.” She studied Accounting in college but soon learned that laughter instead of numbers were what really satisfied her. She worked as a youth advocate with at-risk children and teens, never realizing that she had all the gifts of a master storyteller. Not until she visited the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee did she become hooked. She told in schools, libraries and any stage that would have her. She worked several festivals throughout the United States and her efforts paid off. She was asked to perform as a regional teller at one of the main tents at Jonesborough where she received a standing ovation. She has been invited back several times since. In her work as a humorist, storyteller, singer and songwriter, she has taken home a full armload of awards and recognitions. But beware, there’s often a twist at the end of each story that will leave you heaving a sigh as she whips through her stories and leaves the listener with a tear or a smile.
Adam Booth grew up in West Virginia and has always felt at home telling Appalachian tales, both traditional and contemporary, but he blends those in with traditional fairy tales, tall tales and even a Greek myth to add a variety to his storytelling seldom heard. He is a former student of music composition from the University of South Carolina with a masters in music history from Case Western Reserve University. He has been a student of music theory and studied folk music with many old-time Appalachian musicians. So he often uses musical instruments to tell his stories. He is a four-time winner of the West Virginia Liar’s Competition. He has served as a Teller-In-Residence at the International Storytelling Center and been one of the new voices at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. He has traveled throughout 15 states telling his tales and has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Berea Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship. He not only tells his stories well, but leaves the listener with an education as well.
Bil Lepp is a nationally-renowned Storyteller from West Virginia and is a five-time Champion of the West Virginia Liar’s Contest. Growing up in a family where the truth was fluid, Bil became adept at spinning tales and exaggerating circumstances at an early age. Though a champion liar, his stories often contain morsels of of truth which shed light on universal themes. Be it a hunting trip, a funeral or a visit to the dentist, Bil can find the humor in any situation. Lepp explains that while his stories may not be completely true, they are always honest. Lepp’s works have received recognition from The Parent’s Choice Foundation, The National Parenting Publications Association and the Public Library Association. Bil was awarded the National Storytelling Network’e Circle of Excellence Award. Lepp has been featured 15 times at the National Storytelling Festival and has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and many other festivals across the country.
Thomas Freese is a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, performing both entertaining and educational programs for children and adults. Many of his tales include music (he plays harmonica, guitar and other instruments) and origami as he weaves stories from world folktales and fairy tales, ghost stories, pioneer legends and Native American tales to Hispanic stories, Jack tales and even silly stories. Having studied art at the McNay Art Institute, the Southwest Craft Center and the University of New Mexico and University of Louisville, he is also a visual artist in multiple media. He holds a Master’s Degree in Expressive Therapies and practices as a registered Art Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor. He has published five books of ghost stories and numerous haunting articles. Having told stories in schools, libraries, community centers, churches and other groups, he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and fun to all his venues.