A musical beginning

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The crowd bursts out with laughter at the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival hosted by the Brundidge Historical Society. This year, the Festival will also feature pre-show bands that include The Broken Strings Bluegrass Band (morning) The Benton Brothers and Company (afternoon) and The Lighthouse String Ensemble (evening).

Traditional music band set the mood for storytelling

When a storytelling festival features nationally acclaimed tellers Donald Davis, Sheila Kay Adams, Michael Reno Harrell and Andy Offutt Irwin, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

However, the Brundidge Historical Society has found a way to make the best just a little better. Not only does the annual Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival feature four of the nation’s top storytellers, it also brings to the stage three for the area’s top traditional music bands.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“When we started the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival seven years ago, we didn’t want people to have to just sit and wait for the storytellers to take the stage,” said Johnny Steed, BHS president. “So, we invited a different traditional music band to ‘open’ for each storytelling concert and it worked. Those who come to the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival say the music alone is worth the price of admission.”

The 2013 Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Trojan Center Theater on the campus of Troy University. The storytelling concerts will be at 10 a.m. and 2 and 6:30 p.m. The pre-show music will begin 30 minutes prior to the storytelling concerts.

The featured pre-show bands will be The Broken Strings Bluegrass Band (morning) The Benton Brothers and Company (afternoon) and The Lighthouse String Ensemble (evening).

Steed said the Lighthouse String Ensemble has been featured at the storytelling festival since the beginning.

“The Lighthouse String Ensemble is one of the area’s most popular bluegrass/Southern gospel bands around,” he said. “That is evidenced by their invitation to participate in the highly acclaimed Bean Blossom Festival in Indiana. The band features Mike Benton and his daughter Amanda Smothers.”

The Benton Brothers and Company is the house band at the We Piddle Around Theater. The band has performed at Old Alabama Town and at bluegrass festivals throughout the area. They also performed by special invitation at the Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery. They have performed at the storytelling festival for three years.

The Broken Strings Bluegrass Band is made up of seven siblings who play seven different instruments. The Caron family moved to Alabama five years ago from Washington State. They have quickly made name for themselves as bluegrass/gospel musicians and will also treat the audience with a shape note song or two.

“We have three outstanding bands that set the mood and tone for the storytelling concerts to follow,” Steed said. “Come early to the storytelling concerts. You don’t want to miss the music because the music just makes the best better.”

Tickets for the Pike Piddles Storytelling Festival are $10 for the morning and afternoon storytelling concerts and $15 for the evening performance. For tickets call 334-735-3125 or 735-3675. Tickets are available at Studio 116 in downtown Brundidge and at The Messenger in Troy.