jennings and ponder storytelling

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National Storytelling
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First Night

University of Vermont
Bennington College
Green Mountain College
Bates Freewill Folk Society
University of Maine

NE Lib Association
Stowe Free Library
Bennington F Library
Bedford NH Library

Barnet School VT (K-8)
Vermont Academy (JSHS)
Bridport CS, VT (K-8)
IC School, Phila (1st gr)
Becket ES, MA (K-5)

Basin Harbor Club
Quimby Country
Hawk Mountain
Butternut Inn
Grundberg Haus B&B
The Tyler Place

St. Albans Community
Vermont Arts Council
Branbury State Park
Construction Workers
Maple Corner Community

The Vampire Princess
folktales of humor and suspense


Seven Days
"Damned entertaining... brilliant... masterful, finely tuned vocal interplay... Their delivery is akin to that of an extremely tight jazz ensemble, in which the players know their parts — and their partners — intimately.. Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder are simply Vermont treasures, and hearing their stories never grows old." Pamela Polston

full review

about Seven Days


The King & The Thrush
---tales of goodness and greed

2010 Vermont Arts Council/NEA
Creation Grant awardee

king and thrush cover


--American Library Association,
Association for Library Services to Children
notable award





Facts and Fiction
"The UK's Premier Storytelling Journal
"A brilliant example of how to tell as a duo... you have to be completely in tune to work like this, it's almost verbal jazz. I thoroughly recommend them." Pete Castle, editor

School Library Journal
starStarred Review
"Masterful telling...The storytellers' incredible performance takes tandem telling to its highest level with their overlapping delivery, crisp dialogue, and songs and instrumentals. This not-to-be-missed recording will enchant and delight both children and adults."

American Library Association
"Sparkles with vitality and humor. Polished by their stage performances (these stories were recorded in front of a mixed-age audience), their timing is impeccable, and humor infectious."

European Online Magazine
" Master storytelling; unique, very entertaining and engaging; spontaneous and innovative. Lovely."

Seven Days
Vermont's Independent Voice
"Vermont master storytellers transfix listeners of all ages...hypnotic and utterly captivating."

Montpelier Times Argus
"Leanne Ponder and Tim Jennings have been regaling Vermont audiences with tales and music for over 20 years, weaving stories, characters, places and themes in a compelling narrative style. Paupers and rich men, imps and talking pots come to life in a delightful blend – with lots of expression, wit, and good humor."

Complete reviews, photocopies, & publication links


-- tales of our best friend's
wild cousin


Silver Honor Awardee

Parents' Choice Foundation

parents choice medal






BOOKLIST -- Starred Review 7/07

A vivid vocal tapestry that melds tandem storytelling and atmospheric harp and concertina background music. Presented by Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder, the three wolf stories in this delightful collection were recorded before an audience in Vermont. The folk stories featuring wolves "worthy of our love and respect" range from humorous to touching to dramatic... the lively tempo, skillful pacing, and interlaced voices of Jennings and Ponder make for a thoroughly satisfying, family-friendly audio.  --Kristi Elle Jemtegaard

full review | Booklist website | TOP

FACTS AND FICTION "The UK's premier storytelling magazine" 5/07

This is musical storytelling in a sense far deeper than the mere fluid intonation such an expression usually implies. The performers have taken the standard devices of music-- rhythm, counterpoint, syncopation, pitch, volume, repetition-- and used them to create finely dovetailed duets... I found it absolutely captivating... a class act... My grandchildren loved it... As somebody who is beginning to dare to say, 'I am a storyteller,' these are the sort of performers who demand that I raise my game.-- Mark Steinhardt, F&F reviewing panel.

full review | F&F website | TOP

PARENTS' CHOICE --Silver Honor Award

Many fairy tales (such as Little Red Riding Hood) depict wolves as "big and bad." In contrast, this CD contains three wolf stories that feature a different (and truer) nature of the character while still personifying the animals. Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder tell the stories in a unique tandem style that adds excitement and flair to the listening experience. Their talents are refreshing and their delivery genuine. -- Dr Flora Joy

full review on Parent's choice site | TOP

AUDIOFILE "the magazine for people who love audiobooks" 9/07

The two have a distinct method of storytelling that will captivate listeners as it does their live audience. Sometimes they speak in unison; in other moments they banter back and forth, and echo one another, sometimes creating zippy dialogue, sometimes braiding their voices together in a fast-paced yet exact way. Both excel at depicting different characters. Ponder's animal creations are especially fine, with her chicken voice a real standout. Lilting musical interludes further enhance this unique production. JCG

full review on AudioFile site | TOP


I personally fell in love with this recording while listening to it as I drove one of our 2007 Wolf Pups, Woha, to the vet.  I actually listened to it twice and Woha enjoyed it as much as I did! ... This CD is a must for anyone interested in Wolves.  Your children will love it. 

full review on Wolf Howl site | TOP

MONTPELIER TIMES ARGUS , the capital's daily newspaper

Two of the best storytellers anywhere...Jennings and Ponder are masters, and it comes through in their CD. They don't just tell a story, they act it out. In this recording, their interplay, which never misses a beat, is both theatrical and very humorous. The many voices they imitate, the actions they express and the story settings they describe keep the listener glued to the CD player. --Art Edelstein

full review 1/5/07 | (cached) | TOP

SEVEN DAYS Burlington Arts Weekly

While the tales are foreign in origin and seem to take place in the misty past, in their telling they are universal and timeless. Jennings and Ponder, partners in life and on stage, have mastered a brilliantly overlapping delivery that enhances the stories' drama, suspense and humor...They are captivating. --Pamela Polston

full review 12/27/06 | (cached) | TOP



World Tales,
Live at Bennington College


--American Library Association,
Association for Library Services to Children
notable award





BOOKLIST-- Editor's Choice
"On a live recording, storytellers Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder perform for a small audience in a setting that suits their tales and music. Reworked from Norse, Italian, and Appalachian sources, "The White Bear" tells of a changeling husband. A second story (also with an interwoven song) is the Grimms' rarely told, murderous and magical "Juniper Tree." Finally, "The Toe Bone" recalls the previous story's gore, but with a lighter tone. Jennings and Ponder's phrases, even single words, trade off, overlap, and converge to create many characters, ranging from scary to hilarious. The natural-sounding banter belies a polished sense of timing. The storytellers also play the Irish harp and concertina beautifully. Involvement of the audience is almost palpable on this recording, making it a first purchase for schools and public libraries."


Frank Gosar played the White Bear during his folk music program KLCC Eugene OR. ELECTRIFYING! I was driving around. Sat in my car listening to the very end. Totally blew my schedule... totally worth every minute.

-- Ayala Talpai, Marcola OR.


"In today's hectic world of computers, traffic jams, etc, it is a pleasure to find ancient story telling traditions still alive. Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder know well the skill to fascinate their audiences with traditional folk tales; and this works not only live, but also on CD.

On this album, the America-based duo tells three tales - 'The White Bear' with Norwegian and Appalachian origins, 'The Juniper Tree' from Germany, collected by the Grimms, and 'The Toe Bone'. Completing the album is a short instrumental on Concertina and Harp - and these instruments are also used during the tales, to get even more atmosphere into the stories.

This is very much a duo story telling album, with exciting arrangements. With this album, you can enter another world where time does not matter - if you don't believe that story telling can be absolutely fascinating, try this duo - they are brilliant! "



and Other Folk Stories



"A rare thing, a tape you cannot, upon any invocation of willpower, resist listening to. From the first word, Jennings grabs you by the scruff of your imagination and throws you mercilessly into his world. Jennings doesn't make the error many performers do: he doesn't pretend to be a storyteller. He simply is one." Sing Out! Magazine.

"The entire car pool sat entranced... Classify (Jennings), as far as I'm concerned, with the best of the true storytellers." Chinaberry Book Service

"Jennings personalises his telling while remaining true to the letter and spirit of the traditional tales. His style is natural, easy, and inviting. In a voice filled with color and nuance, he beckons us to listen, drawing adults as well as children into the timeless realms of the folktale." School Library Journal

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The Water Kelpie

-- Traditional Celtic
instrumental musi
on harp and concertina

water kelpie CD cover



"Here’s a relaxed and gentle recording of Celtic music winningly performed by Leanne Ponder on Harp and Tim Jennings on English concertina. Leanne and Tim were special hits at the ‘91 Squeeze-in concert, and deservedly so; they possess an extremely deft touch on their respective instruments and C&S readers will be especially taken with Tim’s unique stuyle, phrasing, and canny use of chords. As Tim has said, the music is guaranteed to make your plants greener, your children calmer and your mate more romantic.... I’d go along with that, and what’s more, in the unlikely event that I owned a chicken farm I’d broadcast The Water kelpie to the cluckers night and day and they would undoubtedly present me with enough eggs to ensure early retirement at a palm-fringed beach house near Papeete. Until then, this recording gets a lot of airplay, especially during late-night slugouts at the computer" --Concertina and Squeezebox.

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