Up, up... Listen to tales and soar

Did you know that there’s currently only one children’s radio program dedicated to the tradition of oral storytelling in all of Central Virginia? I didn’t, until recently.
“Tell Us a Tale,” which is produced locally and is available in syndication on radio stations around the country, is the brainchild of local performers Peter Jones and Jennifer Hoffmann. The two teamed up for the first time in 1998 and joined forces officially in 2000 to create the show and to produce a regular series of monthly live performances at the Prism, long considered one of the best “listening rooms” in the United States.
Local children (and their story-telling-loving parents) will be delighted to know they have a chance to catch one of these live shows this weekend. Past themes have included Halloween, Christmas and Chanukkah, and international animal tales. For this performance, “Tell Us a Tale” presents “Up, Up, and Away,” two hour-long tellings featuring stories about the sky. Some of the tales will be familiar classics, like “Jack and the Beanstalk”; others, like “The Story of Jumping Mouse,” a classic Native American story about a magic frog, may be new to listeners.
Joining the fun for this performance is The Jan Smith Band, who will provide traditional and original tunes. You may have caught one of their shows at First Night Virginia, the Nelson County Summer Festival, the Montpelier Wine and Jazz Festival, or Waynesboro's Summer Extravaganza. “This band has a front porch sound that swings,” Jones says.
Jones and Hoffmann recently performed as part of the Virginia Festival of the Books, and Hoffmann is a regular on local stages. She just wrapped up a run in Offstage Theater’s popular “Barhoppers Series” and appeared in the recent Live Arts production of The Wild Party.
These two “Tell Us a Tale” sessions will be recorded and will air locally on WTJU (91.1 FM) on Sunday, April 12, between noon and 2pm. You can hear past shows by visiting TellUsATale.com, the show’s friendly website.
The two “Tell Us a Tale” stars have been friends for some time, and that shows in their work. "I think our rapport comes through with the audience," Hoffman says. Join them for an afternoon of laughter, intrigue, and high-spirited fun. You may find yourself carried “up, up, and away.”

“Tell Us a Tale” performs Saturday, April 5, at the Prism, 214 Rugby Road. 1-2:15pm. “Pay-what-you-may” after the show. TellUsATale.com or 978-3603.