Grandbear to be honored at July 13 storytelling event

Miner’s Alley Playhouse and Rocky Mountain Storytelling team up to provide more storytelling to the community

Posted 7/9/19

About once a month, the entire third grade class at Shelton Elementary School used to gather into a classroom to hear a story by Grandbear the Storyteller. “Everybody cheered when Grandbear walked …

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Grandbear to be honored at July 13 storytelling event

Miner’s Alley Playhouse and Rocky Mountain Storytelling team up to provide more storytelling to the community

Posted

About once a month, the entire third grade class at Shelton Elementary School used to gather into a classroom to hear a story by Grandbear the Storyteller.

“Everybody cheered when Grandbear walked in,” said Ella Matheo, now 12 who was one of the third graders. “Even though the kids were rowdy third graders, we always sat quietly through Grandbear’s stories, wondering what would happen next.”

Lev Ropes, also known as Grandbear the Storyteller, will be honored at a storytelling event that is a joint effort between Rocky Mountain Storytelling and Miner’s Alley Playhouse. This partnership’s first event takes place on July 13.

The event is being put on to provide everyone with more access to storytelling, said Kate Lutz, president of Rocky Mountain Storytelling, a nonprofit organization that puts on annual and ongoing storytelling events, including performances, workshops and other gatherings.

“Grandbear has been such a storytelling force in the community,” Lutz said. “He’s Golden’s storyteller and everybody knows him — whether it’s a kid or their parent. And sometimes both.”

Ropes, 84, spent about 16 years telling stories to children in local schools with Jeffco Spellbinders, a nonprofit organization that provides trained volunteers to tell oral stories in school classrooms.

Ropes said he loves everything about storytelling and that it’s the best thing he’s ever done.

“People really relate to stories. The relationship between the teller and the listener is really special,” Ropes said. And “the reaction you get from your audience is wonderful. They perk up and you know they’re there with you. And you’re there with them.”

Ropes recently retired from storytelling for health reasons, but is still involved in the art through coaching and mentoring others.

Target audience for the July 13 event are children and families. All of the storytellers will be telling Ropes’ stories from his CD and book titled, “Tales of Tails from the Blue Heron Ranch.” Matheo will be one of the storytellers, and will be telling Grandbear’s “Martha and the Grasshopper.”

“It was truly an exciting and amazing experience to listen to his stories,” Matheo said. “I’m excited to tell this story because I’ve always been so happy to hear Grandbear’s stories, and I can’t wait to make others feel happy hearing it, too. I just hope I can tell it as well as Grandbear.”

The other performers who will be telling stories on July 13 are Lutz of Denver and Robbie Knight of Wheat Ridge, both from Rocky Mountain Storytelling; and Rory Pierce, director of Miners Alley Children’s Theatre.

Ropes will be attending the event and is looking forward to hearing the other storytellers tell his stories, he said. Because stories are not memorized, Ropes added, they are seldomly told the same way twice.

Ropes also hopes the event attracts some of the people who he told stories to, many who may now be grown, and their children, he said.

“It’s going to be wonderful to see Grandbear’s legacy shining forth in the program,” Lutz said. “This is a chance to highlight someone who has had a powerful (role) in making storytelling alive in the community.”

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