Laurie McIntosh was an elementary school teacher when she had an epiphany. “The word ‘storytelling’ just magically appeared in my head one day,” she says. “I don’t think I even knew what that was, but I thought it would fit into my life.”
It more than fit: It became her life. McIntosh left teaching to pursue her new calling as a children’s storyteller and performer. “I wasn’t cut out for a real job,” she says. “I always preferred an ‘in the moment’ experience. If there is one consistent thing in my shows, that’s it — it’s in the moment.”
Along the way, the 43-year-old — who lives in Andes with her husband Ira and two children — added music. “I started to sing a bit in my shows, and people liked my voice,” she says. “I learned to play guitar. I evolved. Now my show includes a fair amount of improv,” which includes writing songs on the fly.
When not performing at schools, libraries, and other venues, she’s often in the recording studio. Her most recent CD, Groovin’ in the Garden, includes a tuba-driven “Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy” and a boogie-woogie version of “The Hokey Pokey.”
She tries to include something for adults in her shows. “My ‘Apple Tree and the Bee’ song is about, ahem, pollination,” she says. “When performing it live, I do the ‘buzz-buzz-buzz’ refrain as a call-and-response, starting out simple and taking it to a scat, a la Louis Armstrong. The adults always dig it.”