Jennings & Ponder
BIOGRAPHY

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DUO BIOGRAPHY

In 1985, Tim and Leanne joined together as a couple while each was in the midst of a distinguished solo artistic career. A year or two later they started playing music together, as the Celtic group, Sheefra. Shortly after that, they began to develop their distinctive duo-storytelling style, and after some experimentation, resolved to concentrate on performing full programs of duo storytelling and music as "Jennings and Ponder"
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1987 - present
SHEEFRA

Celtic instrumental music with Tim Jennings, Concertina, and Leanne Ponder, Harp, plus occasional additional musicians, including fiddlers Walter Weber and Franklin Heyburn, and especially flutist Berta Frank. Perform concerts, weddings, restaurants, outdoor events etc, mostly in Vermont. Venues have included Leunigs, Trapp, Basin Harbor Club, Church St, Champlain Mill, Jeff's Seafood, among other places. Sheefra has released two recordings, both well-reviewed, both acquired by the Irish Traditional Music Society in Dublin.
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1991 - present
JENNINGS AND PONDER
World Tales and Celtic Music
.
Storytelling shows in a variety of venues, before many kinds of audiences in Vermont, New England, North America, and beyond.

1993-present
Vermont Arts Council
Juried roster Touring Art, Juried roster Art in Education

1999
WORLD TALES live at Bennington College
Storytelling CD of a live Halloween coffeehouse performance.
Booklist Editor's Choice
ALA/ALSC Notable Children's Recording

2007
WOLVES!-- stories of our best friend's wild cousin
live storytelling CD of a community family show
Parents Choice Silver Honor award
Booklist starred review.

2007-2009
American Masterpiece Program participating artists.

2010
Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant recipient

2010
The King & the Thrush: tales of goodness and greed
live storytelling CD
ALA/ALSC Notable Children's Recording
Booklist starred review

2013
Vampire Princess: eerie folktales of humor and suspense
live storytelling CD

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Featured Performances

Old Songs Festival, The National Storytelling Festival; International Storytelling Center (6 day Tellers-in-Residence); Connecticut Storytelling Festival; John F. Kennedy Library; Toronto Storytelling Festival; Clearwater Hudson River Revival; King County International Storytelling Festival, Bellingham WA; UK Society for Storytellers Annual Gathering (Sat. Night Event) at Wales Folklife Museum; Circus Smirkus; Club Passim; New England Library Association Conference

Repeat Appearances

University of Vermont (annual since 1993); St. Michael’s College (9 since 1991); University of Maine Orono (7 since 1995); Bates College (10 since 1993); Bennington College (2); Hampshire College, Amherst (3); Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival (annual since 1992); Vermont Storytelling Festival (9); Sterling College (6); Vermont International Festival (7); Burlington Unitarian Church (5); Kinhaven Music School (9); First Parish Church, Medfield MA (3); Old Forge (NY) Arts Center (2); New World Festival, Randolph VT (6); VT Midsummer Festival (7); Champlain Festival (3); Stowe Free Library (5); First Nights: Burlington (7), Montpelier (4) Bennington (3) St Johnsbury (5); Ripton Coffeehouse (4); Cambridge Arts Series (2); H Hulbert Outdoor Education Ctr (4); Festival of the Lakes, Lake Placid/ Saranac Lake NY (4); SolarFest (6); Vermont Flower Show (6); Exploration! (3); Stratton Mountain Resort (2); Mass. College of the Liberal Arts (2)

Seasonal Engagements in resorts and camps

Basin Harbor Club (summer and fall since 1994), Quimby Country Resort (summer since 1995), Hawk Mountain Resort (winter, since 1997), Camp Abnaki (summer1997-2002) Trapp Family Lodge (1997-2005); Jay Peak, (annual since 2000) A Sugarbush Resort ( 2000-2002)

Random Sampling

Vermont Trial Lawyers Association, Vergennes Opera House, Enosburgh Opera House Adirondack Lakes Council on the Arts, River Arts Morrisville, Castleton State College, Vermont Leadership Center, Fisher’s Island Cultural Ctr CT, A Midwinter Storytelling Festival Cape Orleans MA, May Day Celebration Keene Valley NY, Lost Nation Theater Montpelier, St. Albans Maple Festival, VT Balloon Festival

Plus countless school, community, and library shows, all around New England.

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more about the notable children's recording award
ALA Notable
World Tales Live

 


SOLO BIOGRAPHIES

Here's some of what Tim and Leanne were up to before they got together.

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LEANNE PONDER (solo artist)
grew up in Albuquerque NM. In various previous lifetimes she:

• got an MA in literature and a BA in psychology.

• painted carnival funhouses and rides

• interpreted dreams at a college psychology clinic engaged in dream research.

• published fiction and poetry internationally in magazines and journals, including Esquire.

• was awarded a VCA fellowship grant for fiction

•read from her work throughout Vermont for the VAC’s Writers on Tour Program, with Gary Snyder, Amy Clampett, and Jim Dodge.

• was in the first group of poets to teach in the Vermont Poets in the Schools Program, eventually teaching thousands of Vermont school children how to write strong poetry.

• performed a one-woman-show for ten years as a barefoot backwoods Vermont peddlar, through the Shelburne Museum and the Vermont Deparment of the Humanities

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TIM JENNINGS (solo artist )
grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.

He was a teenaged folksinger, studied improvisational theater and performed on corners and in parks with a street theater group, ran the children’s section of a bookstore, was an attendant in a mental hospital, and worked in school for poor city kids with emotional, developmental, and behavioral problems. Then he arrived in Vermont.

1974-1978 teacher/codirector Boulder Lodge School (for poor problem country kids) Jeffersonville VT

1978-1980 Dr. Benway’s Medicine Show, Jeffersonville VT (5-7 person community theater company w original productions for adults and children)

1979-1980 Vermont Arts Council Community Artist for Johnson and Morrisville: storytelling and music

1979-1984 “The Regular Theater” performances for children and adults with Cabot mask theater artist/director Ellis Jacobson.

1980-1988 "Sweet Corn Broadcasters" contra/square dances and concerts around Northern Vermont with 3-7 person old-time-music band.

1980 Bachelor of Arts, final study in writing and storytelling, Goddard College

1980-present (juried) Touring solo storyteller, Vermont Arts Council (drama)

1982-present (juried) Artist in Education, Vermont Arts Council

1984-2004--Originator/director (sometimes codirector) of the Vermont Storytelling Festival, with a total of 9 three-day festivals in Montpelier, Woodstock, Burlington, and Stratton.

1986 (cassette), 2011 (CD) Farmer Weatherbeard and other Folk Stories solo folktale recording. “Tim Jennings has come up with a rare thing, a tape you cannot, upon any evocation of willpower resist listening to.” Sing Out Magazine

1982-1990, performed a folktale a year on Vermont Public Television's "Crossroads" program.

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DUO BIOGRAPHY