Storytelling is as old as mankind. With verve, drama, humor, and sometimes more than a little fire and brimstone, the storyteller taught moral lessons, entertained, and vocally recorded history. And today, Door County’s own Lloyd Michalsen carries on the tradition of storytelling through word and music to the delight of audiences young and young at heart.
Performing in the final Door Community Auditorium Fireside Coffeehouse Concert of 2009, “Story Man Lloyd” will present “This Mountain is My Home” Saturday, March 21, at 7 pm. Accompanying Michalsen in this program will be special guest Sarah Linton of Sister Bay.
A lifelong musician, Michalsen picked up his first guitar when he was 13 years old. Growing up in an era when music was shared in living rooms, when every home had a parlor guitar or autoharp, he recalled family gatherings in the living room where everyone sang songs and shared stories.
And it was the call of the story that led Michalsen to continue the tradition through his own music and writing. For more than 30 years, he performed in a variety of venues, eventually relocating to North Carolina where he played in a gospel bluegrass band, listened to the stories of the local residents, and wrote music.
Retiring to Door County 12 years later, Michalsen shared his love of storytelling through community events and performances. Each winter he teaches the technique of telling a good story through a class he teaches at The Clearing. The Northern Door Storytelling Guild was a spin-off of one of his first classes, and last year he began teaching week-long Elderhostel courses.
As is true of many of Michalsen’s stories, “This Mountain is My Home” was inspired by real life drama. Written in 2002, Michalsen’s original storyline and music depict the saga of an elderly couple faced with leaving their Appalachia mountain home.
“The story is actually a composite of many men I have known. And the story is universal, of wrestling with leaving a home that we love,” explained Michalsen. “Although the story is basically a one-man monologue, the key to it all is the granddaughter and her relationship with her grandfather. And Sarah is wonderful in the role. She is a delight and the star of the show.”
Seating for the Fireside Coffeehouse Concerts is limited and advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. General admission tickets are $14 and are available at the Door Community Auditorium box office, by phone (920.868.2728), or via the http://www.dcauditorium.org.