South Charlotte

Museum of the Waxhaws to fill afternoon with stories, songs

The Museum of the Waxhaws will host a special program Jan. 18 at 3 p.m. titled “An Afternoon of Local Poetry, Stories and Song.”

The program will feature local storytellers Gladys Kerr and Dora Lee Wiley Brown, as well as musician Beth Brown Al-Rawi and poet Lee Ann Brown.

“This promises to be an afternoon of nostalgia, humor and reflection for folks who have been around Waxhaw a long time,” Gay Diller, Museum of the Waxhaws director, said.

Kerr is a living repository of information and stories about Waxhaw. She served as editor of “Crossing the Street,” the 100-year anniversary journal prepared by the Waxhaw Woman’s Club that serves as a definitive history of Waxhaw.

Kerr also served for many years as the organist for productions of the outdoor drama “Listen and Remember.” She braved heat, thunderstorms, insects and snakes while pumping the treadles of the portable organ that accompanied the cast for songs like “Whence the Waters of the Waxhaw.”

According to Diller, Dora Lee Wiley Brown spent her childhood in Waxhaw, where her father was a Presbyterian minister.

Lee Ann Brown was born in Japan and raised in Charlotte, according to She attended Brown University for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees and has held fellowships with Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Yaddo, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, The MacDowell Colony, the International Center for Poetry in Marseille, France, and the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation.

Lee Ann Brown founded Tender Buttons Press in 1989 to publish experimental women’s poetry, according to

Her bio on that website also says that she has taught at various universities, including Brown University, Naropa University, Bard College and The New School. Right now, Lee Ann Brown splits her time between teaching at St. John’s University in New York City and working in Marshall, N.C. There, according to, she directs the French Broad Institute and the Children’s Arts in the Mountains Program.

Rounding out the program is musician Beth Brown Al-Rawi, who is described on as an exciting and energetic, but sensitive, fiddle player. The website also says that has been involved with music all her life and has been active in the Charlotte Folk Society since the mid-1990s.

“For a long time, our supporters have encouraged us to host an event focusing on stories about growing up in Waxhaw,” said Diller, herself a Waxhaw native.