"[Dolores] has a way of savoring lovely details and flipping neat turns of phrase into the air, like a deft and delighted juggler. -- Mary Colurso, The Birmingham News
The story programs described below are just a few of the options available for your special event. Some tell stories from art, history, and literature. Some tell stories from life -- mine, or that of family and friends.
Contact Dolores at 205-951-7757 or firstname.lastname@example.org select the program that's right for your group or special occasion.
A Sweet Strangeness Thrills My Heart: The World of Sallie Independence Foster, 1861 - 1887 story by Dolores Hydock; music by Bobby Horton
Sallie Independence Foster was 12 years old and living in Florence, Alabama when the Civil War began. Her journal, begun in June 1861, paints a picture of a child’s innocent world colliding with the reality of war. The journal continues through the war and for another 22 years, as Sallie grows to be a young woman, marries, and begins a family of her own. Her diaries were carefully preserved by Sallie's family, and are now housed in the Archives at the University of North Alabama. Storyteller Dolores Hydock and nationally known music historian Bobby Horton intertwine Sallie's writings, letters, historical photographs, and music of the time to create a uniquely personal glimpse at a radically changing world.
Fools for Love: A Closer Look into Lovers' Eyes
Through true, tender, and sometimes shocking stories, this program brings to life the world of the late 1700s / early 1800s – the Regency Period in England – a time of strange fads, sketchy medicine, and hair-raising shenanigans among the Fashionable Set.
George, Prince of Wales and the future King George IV of England, was the center of fashionable and cultural life during that time, and his scandalous secret marriage to a Catholic commoner was the catalyst for at least one fashion trend that has fascinated the art collector’s world ever since: the fashion of “Lover’s Eyes,” delicate jeweled watercolor paintings of a single eye, exchanged as tokens of undying affection.
But there were other not-quite-so-famous folks who were fools for love then, too. In this performance, storyteller Dolores Hydock shares stories that are part royal scandal, part True Romance, part fun facts from history, part R-rated (though in a Fine Art kind of way), and part art appreciation for amateurs ... with a shout-out to Queen Elizabeth, Jane Austen, and Columbo!
Letters, diary excerpts, photographs, and paintings are used to explore the tokens of love and remembrance that were part of this stylish and passionate time in English and American history.
Starch in Their Petticoats: True Stories of Strong Women Who Settled the West
They were tough, resourceful, and ready for anything! Pioneers, homesteaders, professional gamblers, mail order brides ... these were some of the women who added their own particular shine to the golden horizon of the American West in the 1800s. Diary excerpts, letters, newspaper clippings, and photos help tell their remarkable stories.
Every Picture Tells a Story: The Storytelling of Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell didn't just paint pictures; every picture told a story.
As he wrote: “My life work – and my pleasure – is to tell stories to other people through pictures.” This program shares a behind-the-scenes look at how Rockwell created his one-image stories in some of his best-loved covers for the Saturday Evening Post. In his autobiography, My Adventure as an Illustrator, and his guide to painting, How I Make a Picture, Rockwell described his storytelling process. Using slide images of his sketches, models, paintings-in-process, and finished work, this program follows the step-by-step process Rockwell used in becoming “America’s painter” – and storyteller on canvas.
Soldiers in Hoop Skirts: Spies, Nurses, and Other Fighting Women of the Civil War
Women on both sides of the conflict did their part for the war effort – as spies, soldiers, nurses, and supporters from the home front. This program shares the true, sometimes funny, sometimes touching, stories of some of the sisters, wives, mothers, and daughters who snooped, smuggled, sewed, nursed, and risked their lives, health, and fortunes for a cause they loved. The program includes photographs, letters, journal entries, and excerpts from memoirs written by these women after the war.
Putting Down New Roots This story puts a human face to the experience of early 20th-century European immigration to America, and Depression-era family life, through the detailed story of one Polish-American family. It describes the Ellis Island experience for many immigrants who passed through that entryway in the early 1900s, and details about individual experiences translate immigration data into a moving, human-scale story.
The story then follows one immigrant family as it settles into "American" life during the 1920s and 1930s. Stories of the small neighborhood grocery store they ran during the Depression, their family life, their troubles and joys, and snapshots of their daily life create a personal portrait of what it was like to "put down new roots" in unfamiliar soil.
Click here to read an article about how this story came to life.
Click on the ship's roster at right to hear a short excerpt from this story.
Silence: The Adventure of a Medieval Warrior Woman
Eglamore and Cristobel: A Love Story
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Wickedly funny, plot-twisting tales of adventure, desire, jealousy, greed ... themes that seem lifted from today's 21-century news, but are adapted from centuries-old stories for modern-day audiences. Told by a wise and witty storytelling crone, and accompanied by the music of PanHarmonium.
Click here for more information about these dramatic, intriguing performances!
Click on the photo at left for an article about the collaboration involved in making the story/music performance of Silence.
Through the Back Door: The Music that Bridged the Bayou
They say in Southwest Louisiana that you can be a Cajun in one of three ways: by blood, by the ring (marriage), or through the back door (by befriending the culture).
This program paints a portrait of Cajun and Creole music and musicians and the role that music played in allowing non-Cajuns to slip "through the back door" into the world of the spirited people of Southwest Louisiana. The presentation includes stories and anecdotes collected from more than 50 Cajun and Creole musicians as they talked about the importance of music in their own lives and the lives of their families. The stories are funny, touching, sometimes irreverent, and often deeply moving. The program includes samples of the music itself, both in its early style and its modern-day sound.
Oh! Henry: The Surprising Stories of William Sydney Porter
"O. Henry" is one of the most famous pseudonyms in American literature. It belonged to William Sydney Porter, who is often called "the master of the American short story." His stories are famous for their surprise endings and ability to show that people and circumstances are rarely exactly what they seem to be.
There were some surprises in William Sydney Porter's own life, too. (He was, at various times, a pharmacist, sheep rancher, land-office clerk, bank teller, publisher, cartoonist, and fugitive from justice.) In this program, Will Porter's personal story is interwoven with updated tellings of some O. Henry stories that serve as a reminder of why he was one of the most popular writers of his era, and why his stories continue to entertain, inspire, and surprise.
Footprint on the Sky: Memories of a Chandler Mountain Spring
"Dolores' story takes you into the head and heart of the mountain people. Her stories flow bittersweet , poignant, funny, startling, and lovely. Flying Jenny's music trips lightly, yet with
a toe-tap that's authentic and the perfect rhythm to the stories."
Bonnets, bow-tie quilts, tomato stakes, and an old-timey cure for hiccups --they're all part of this funny and touching portrait of an Alabama mountain community in the 1970's. Memories, family histories, and superstitions are brought to life in this story of strong women, Southern hospitality, and the generous spirit of a close-knit community.
Can be told as a stand-alone story, or as a story / music concert with old-time string musicians Flying Jenny. Click here for an article about how Dolores and old-time musicians Flying Jenny collaborated in this project.
Click here for information about the award-winning CD of this story.
Click here for a review of a live performance of this story.
To watch this excerpt from a live performance of "Footprint on the Sky," click on the arrow above.
Made From Scratch and Other Accidental Stories
A joyful collection of stories about turnip greens, facelifts, home repair, and other unexpected story treasures from everyday life. Most of these are included on the CD Made From Scratch. Click here for information about that award-winning recording.
Click on the mailbox at right to hear the story Fooling the Postman from the Made From Scratch collection.
Momorabilia: Stories about Mothers
Swishy red dresses, Jungle Gardenia perfume, home cooking, holidays, and mother's intuition -- it's all part of a mother's story. A collection of funny, affectionate stories about mothers, children, and the peculiar ties that bind them together -- and a celebration of the woman whose story will always be linked to your own: mom.
Click on the photo at left for an excerpt from a sample Momorabilia story.
A surprising look at money through stories ... stories about saving it, spending it, splurging now and then, learning -- and ignoring -- financial advice, and discovering just how much happiness money really can buy.
Dishing the Dirt: Gardening Stories
Stories about the revenge of Mother Nature, the intrigue of Frederic the French Yard Man, the life wisdom that comes from getting your hands dirty, and people who grow philosophy as well as phlox on their little piece of earth.
In-Laws and Outlaws: Family Stories
"I learned a lot about life at Mother's knee. The rest I learned at other joints."
It's an old joke, but true: Life lessons show up in unexpected places.
Where did you learn about True Love, for instance? What's the difference between the truth and The Truth? Why do we bother with holiday rituals, year after year? And what does a 14th-century philosopher have to do with homemade lasagna?
Sweet and funny stories about sisterly advice, a dad’s wisdom, a mother’s unconditional love, and the lessons our families accidentally teach us.
Look Both Ways: Stories of Vision, Perspective, and Different Points of View
Perfect for planning meetings, strategy sessions, conferences, or professional gatherings, these stories take a light-hearted look at the way our point of view shapes our world.
Click on the cash register keys at left for a sample story, Pennies, that tells how something can be treasure or trivial, depending on your point of view.
Abundant Blessings, Finding Christmas, and more: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday stories
Stories for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthdays, and other red-letter days on your calendar. Take your pick of special stories for your holiday gathering.
Click on the photo at right for an excerpt from a holiday story.
Newfangled Meets Old School: Stories of cupids, computers, food fads, and old-fashioned home cooking.
Who wins in the battle of technology vs. instinct and intuition? Find out in this pair of stories that ponder whether "new" always means "improved."
High school romance goes high-tech when a 1960s-era computer tries to make dreams come true in the story "Perfect Match," winner of a 2006 Storytelling World Magazine Award for "Best Stories for Adult Listeners."
Then, in the story "Sharing the Gold," diet resolutions and good intentions go bad along with a fridge full of veggies when an organic diet gets fried in a 60-year-old skillet.
Click on the computer keyboard at left to hear an excerpt from the story "Perfect Match."