Emory students ‘piddle’ at festival

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

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Four students from Emory University in Atlanta walked into the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge Friday night and found themselves in a different world.

Mayberry? For sure.

It didn’t take long for the university students to realize that, already the long trip from Atlanta was worth the ride. They were in a place where everyone was at home.

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“We didn’t have any idea what the We Piddle Around Theater was or what storytelling was all about,” said Luke Broughel, Newton, Massachusetts.

“But, when we walked through the door, each of us knew we were going to experience something special and were going to have good time and we did. A great time.’

Music, a moonshine still, sawdust on the floor, “Bama” barbecue and sweet tea.

“What more could you want?” asked Theo Burns, Boston.

That question was soon answered by four of the best storytellers to be found anywhere Donald Davis, Michael Reno Harrell, Dolores Hydock and the Rev. Robert Jones.

“The storytellers were amazing, everyone one of them,” said Joshua Chang, Hong Kong. “Hearing their stories told was like watching a movie without a screen. I enjoyed all four of them and all the music groups that played before the storytellers took the stage.”

Often times, something isn’t as good as expectations, but, every now and then, something is better than even hoped for, the Emory students said.

And, luckily, they “sort of” stumbled onto the storytelling festival.

Luke Broughel, a fan of professional football, was scanning the internet for information about National Football Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware. He learned the DeMarcus Ware played college football at Troy University in Troy, Alabama.

“I was interested in knowing more about him and Troy University,” Broughel said. “In my search, I noticed the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in nearby Brundidge. That sounded interesting so the four of us decided to go to a storytelling. We didn’t know what to expect. But, the storytelling exceeded any and all expectation.”

After Friday night, the Emory students were up and ready for day two of the storytelling festival at Troy University.

“We were anxious for the Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival to get underway on Saturday. And the musicians and storytellers were just as good as they were at the We Piddle Around Theater,” said Michael E. Kvensavage, Manhattan, New York. “We all had a great time. The experience was more than worth the long ride. And, yes, I think all of us now understand and appreciate the art of storytelling and it is an art, a real art.”