Kenny Price is a great local musician. Many may know him from his performances during Long Journey home, including a performance on BCMA radio Bristol. You could say that music is in his blood. Seniors found out on Monday, January 28 that his talent did not end with music. Price is also a master storyteller. He told the tales of old ballads and picked up his fiddle to treat the seniors to the music. One such song was “Barbara Allen,” which dates back to the 1800s or earlier.
Price dove into Appalachian Mountain musical history. He explained the importance of bagpipes and fiddle history. Each story and explanation came with a demonstration. Price told the story of Mountain City’s Old-Time Jamboree. Local radio station WMCT hosted locals like his father Fiddlin’ Fred Price, guitarist Clint Howard, banjo player Clarence “Tom” Ashley, and Doc Watson. Price performed an original song based on this story and other local artists. The evening ended with Price inviting his sister Lois Dunn and nephew Andrew Matherly to join him in a final number.
Storytelling is an essential way to learn and keep history alive. Every story has a purpose whether it is an old legend or personal parable. Locals such as Minnie Miller, Flo Bellamy, Ina Bellamy, Rick Ward, Brenda Johnson, Junior Maze, Frances Henson VanLandingham, Lois Dunn, and Evelyn Cook devote their time to telling these stories at the Johnson County Senior Center the last Monday of every month.
The Johnson County Senior Center provides recreation, health screenings, health education and wellness, material aid resources, outreach projects, physical fitness and exercise opportunities, resource and information to seniors. Storytelling became an activity after Kathy Motsinger and Minnie Miller put their heads together for a new, fun and educational activity.
“Minnie Miller has become such an asset to the senior center. She does a fantastic job organizing Storytelling Day. She even donates special door prizes and treats for the seniors attending the storytelling events,” said Senior Center Director Kathy Motsinger. “She has such a big heart and has been so supportive to me while at the senior center. I have many wonderful volunteers, but she is one of the exceptional ones that goes above and beyond for others.”
The next storytelling session will be on Monday, February, 25 at 11 am during lunch at the senior center. Storyteller Fauna Fay Gardener will focus on love in honor of Valentine’s Day. She will recount the story of the time she and her husband spent as missionaries around the world focusing on their mutual love for each other and God.