Hear the Ancient Art of Storytelling—in an Arlington Basement Club Room

by Tammy Paul

As you sit listening, your torso leaning forward, your head slightly cocked, you are as a fish on a hook being pulled to an unknown end. A dull, rambling story of two children walking in the woods has sprung vividly to life. All five of your senses come alive as the story progresses: You feel the gentle breeze against your bare arms; smell the freshly baking gingerbread; see brightly colored lollipops in the small cottage garden; taste the sticky-sweet vanilla icing that coats the eaves and trim; and hear an occasional clang and clatter of pots and pans inside the kitchen. Mesmerizing. Compelling. Enchanting. Gripping. You have heard the fable many times. You know what happens. What makes this telling so special? You are experiencing the classic fairytale, Hansel and Gretel, performed by a master storyteller.

We may think of storytelling as a method for teaching children proper behavior. Yet, everyone tells stories and we do it every day. “It is the essence of communication,” says Tom Pfeifer, a founding member of Story Masters. Storytelling is art expressed through voice and body movement, silence and stillness, to be shared and passed from one generation to the next. “The mind is a master storyteller,” says Story Masters Sergeant-at-Arms Rajiv Khanna, and each person has “great art, unique style.”

As Ralph Jones (DTM), another Story Masters founding member, tells it: The new Storytellers club has its roots in the belief that “everybody has a story to tell. And with that story, you can touch, move and inspire people to do extraordinary things.”

Club Growth Director Robin Hylton (DTM) piqued the interest of her colleagues, Paul White, Arthuretta Martin (Club Vice-President Education) and Jones in shepherded the eager group through the administrative tasks of establishing this new Toastmasters club in District 27.

“Last fall, I realized District 27 did not have a storytelling club like in our sister districts. We set a plan in place, and now we have our own success story,” said Hylton.

You won’t need to travel to distant lands to learn and hear this ancient art. Story Masters, a new District 27 Toastmasters club focused on storytelling meets nearby. In fact, Story Masters meets at Café Sazon, 4704 Columbia Pike, in Arlington, Va. Meetings are held from 10:30 AM to 1 PM on the fourth Saturday of the month. Since it is an advanced club, to join you must have achieved either Competent Communicator or Pathways Level 3 status.


Tammy Paul is the Vice President of Public Relations and a member of Bloomberg BNA Toastmasters, which meets at Bloomberg BNA, 1801 South Bell Street, Arlington, VA from 12 PM – 1 PM on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. She is also a member of the District 27 Public Relations committee.

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