Gary Whitaker: A Master Storyteller
Ghost Story Program
Gary Whitaker is a great Story Teller. You could have heard a pin drop as he drew the audience in under the spell of his soft melodious voice , but squeals of delight as he boomed out the scary plots of the stories. We want him to come back and do more programs for us in the very near future and to have him perform at the schools. He is Great!!!
T.L.L Temple Memorial Library
Shiny Buzzard – Old West Tall Tale Storytelling Program
“We all had a great time with ‘Shiny Buzzard”. The kids really got into his stories and it was fun for us adults to watch their faces change with every twist and turn! Gary’s Program is wonderful for anyone looking to give their kids a great time!
And it is All True!” 🙂
Public Services Librarian
Joe Barnett Bee County Library
Oct 13, 2008 @ 01:42 pm by r. pittman
One of the performers I met this weekend at the Bedford Celtic Heritage Festival is a fellow storyteller I greatly admire, Gary Whitaker. If you ever get the chance to hear him, you will be treated to an enthralling performance. He is a man who loves words, a true bard, who not only knows the words of the great tales, but one who feels them.
I purchased one of his CD’s, Tales of Ancient Warriors. He says these are the stories that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. The stories featured on the CD are Beowulf, Le Morte de Arthur, and Sigurd the Dragon Slayer. If you are a storyteller or if you just like good stories, Gary will thrill and inspire you. Gary’s website is well designed, and there you can see him in costume and read the many endorsements of his programs. He is multi-talented and able to make history come alive. I am proud to now say that he is a friend.
Ricky Pittman’s Website can be found at: http://www.rickeypittman.com/.
Review of Beowulf on Gary Whitaker’s CD, “Tales of Ancient Warriors”:
Your delivery of Beowulf perfectly captures the dark and grim tone, that quality of sheer terror that makes this ancient poem more genuinely exciting than any other in our language. Your skillful voice modulations and rhythms are worthy of an Old English scop, and your occasional use of alliteration nicely evokes the Germanic alliterative measure used by poets in Britain before the Norman Conquest.
Listening to this hair-raising tale of a hideous monster who lurks in the marshes and fens, stealing forth at night to devour sleeping warriors, we move backward in time, away from all the conveniences and safeguards of modern life that shield us from the primal fears of our ancestors. We can imagine ourselves in a huge timbered mead-hall — one very much like Hrothgar’s Heorot — listening to a scop narrate entirely from memory an epic tale of good and evil, of light and darkness, passed down from bard to bard through the generations.
No mere reading of the text of Beowulf, either in the original or in translation, can achieve that affect the way your oral interpretation does. If I were teaching Beowulf today, as I have several times in the past, I would have my class listen to your CD before laying eyes on the written text. I know it would greatly enhance any student’s appreciation of the poem.
Joseph E. Roesch
author of Boudica, Queen of The Iceni
The late Joseph E. Roesch was a retired English professor in Hamilton, NY. He held a doctorate in Medieval English Literature from The University of Wisconsin (Madison) and taught at The University of Wisconsin, Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College (The State University Of New York).
His novel, Boudica, Queen Of The Iceni, draws upon a lifelong interest in history, language, literature, and myth.
“Gary Whitaker, Storyman, brought Beowulf to life for my English students. Their excitement and interest in this poem, after watching and listening to him, was amazing. My students were engaged from the moment he stepped in front of them (in full costume) to the moment he concluded his performance. They asked questions and wanted him to tell them more of this fabulous poem. As an English teacher and head theatre director, I was so impressed with Gary’s knowledge of both Beowulf and history as well as his performance. Gary’s love of literature and his skill as a storyteller worked together, and a masterpiece was created. Grendel was hungry for human flesh. The Storyman, Gary Whitaker, made my students hungry for Beowulf. It just doesn’t get better than that in the classroom!”
Haltom High School
“…Unforgettable Characters…A true delight.”
Renee Ackerman Norris
Haltom High School
“Awesome and captivating…a riveting storyteller…”
Candace Reyff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Elliott Elementary School – Irving, Texas
“Gary’s storytelling skill transports the listener to another place and time. Gary’s character portrayal is seamless. Gary captures your interest and holds it. He brings you along on an adventure each time he tells. You’ll never forget hearing Gary tell you a story…the “old sleeping bag” story is still with me to this day! There is no “getting into character”… Gary IS the character!”
Historic Preservation Manager
City of Grapevine
“Gary Whitaker took a group of savvy, skeptical and technologically saturated teenagers and using the persuasive power of the spoken word, twisted and turned them every which way but loose. The look of wide-eyed wonder on their faces was priceless.”
Laura Cleveland MLS
Watauga Public Library
“Gary’s ability to bring alive the spirit of storytelling has made him a favorite in the children’s areas of the North Texas Irish Festival and the Celtic Heritage Festival. Stories are no longer confined to books and movies, and children and their parents sit captivated by the “animation” Gary incorporates with costume, vocal inflection, enthusiasm, and obvious research into the story, the history, and the culture. His popularity at these events has expanded his appearance from the children’s areas to the cultural areas, and his audiences grow each year.”
Urchin Street Coordinator
(Children’s Area North Texas Irish Festival)