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Greathall Productions, Inc. - Intelligent listening for the thinking family.

Thursday February 7, 2013

Welcome to our February, 2013 Greathall E-Magazine

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Though the shortest month in number of days FEBRUARY can sometimes seem like the longest one to pass. The holidays are mere reflections in the mirror, and the colorful flowers remain in hibernation awaiting their unveiling.

Be encouraged, spring is on its way! Let's not rush the days away, though. For as each day passes the children grow a little taller, their babbles become words and soon sentences, and their thoughts become deeper. Take time today to enjoy it to the fullest -maybe with a Jim Weiss CD?


* From the Storyteller, Jim Weiss: "King Arthur and the Twelfth Battle"

* Reflections from Randy Weiss: "Valentine's Day ANY Day with Chicken Soup (A Family Recipe for You)"

* Greathall Digital

* Guest Spotlight: Twenty Thousand Dreams

* An Interview with Jim: Coming Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. ET

* Featured Video: An Aesop Fable

* New Video: Sherlock Holmes - "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle"

* Ask Jim: Will you have any more videos coming out soon?

* Greathall Boutique: Come On Seabiscuit! - Monthly Special

* Jim Live: March Events


* Do You Know Greathall? Enter and win!

PHOTO: Jim Weiss chats with Mr. Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, Charlottesville, VA

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Tales from the Storyteller Himself, Jim Weiss: "King Arthur and the Twelfth Battle"

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Here is a little known tale of King Arthur that, because of time constraints, I was unable include on my recording KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS, one of my favorite recordings.

After Arthur drew the sword of his father, King Uther Pendragon, from the great stone in London, with the great wizard, Merlin, standing at his side and all the royal court in attendance, most of the nobles acknowledged Arthur as king.  But Arthur’s sister, Morgause, and her husband, King Lot, were furious.  They saw the High King’s throne that they had coveted slipping from their grasp.  

They pretended to acknowledge Arthur’s claim, but that night, Morgause told her husband, “Curse the old man!” – by whom she meant her late father.  “He should have named us his heirs while he lived.  Well, Arthur may have the old man’s sword, but that doesn’t mean the boy knows how to wield it.  While you…”

“While I am a proven war leader,” growled Lot.  “Let us raise an army among our allies and take the crown from this inexperienced boy!”  That night, they stole away from Londonium and rode west at great speed to rally their troops.

But Arthur was the greatest natural general of his time, and he had been instructed by Merlin himself.   Arthur, too, gathered his forces and moved against Lot and Morgause with stunning swiftness.  He won that first battle, and then ten more victories over Lot and Morgause during the next fourteen months.  Meanwhile, Arthur’s excellence as a leader and as a man inspired ever greater loyalty among his followers.  And among these was King Leodegrance, whose daughter, Guinevere, would later become Arthur’s queen.

At last Lot told Morgause, “Our so-called friends are deserting us to run to... him.”  Lot could not bring himself to pronounce Arthur’s name.  “One more loss and we are ruined.  I have chosen a battle field where the advantage lies with us – and from which there is no retreat for deserters.”  He showed Morgause a map.  “Here, the River Camel flows in a u-shape with a narrow opening at the top.  We will fight within that open space – and the opening is too narrow for him to use his most powerful weapon against us: when ‘he’ leads his mounted knights, all spread out in a line, against us, our troops cannot stand against him.  But here the opening to the battle field is too narrow for his line.  They will have to come for us in smaller numbers, and we will cut them down.” 

Morgause said quietly, “And with the river at our back, our men will know that they must win -- or die.”

When Arthur and Merlin arrived, they saw Lot’s strategy at once. While they contemplated their response, Arthur met with local leaders, as he had done all across the country, drawing them to his cause.  Now Arthur received in his tent the chief of some local fishing people.  While speaking with him, the King suddenly asked, “Is it true that when the fish swim up the streams and lakes to spawn in the spring, your people live for weeks on rafts in the water, in order to fish every daylight moment?”

“Your Majesty is well informed,” replied the man, bowing.

“Where are these rafts of yours now?”

“Why, up the river three or four leagues, Sire.”

“Perfect!”  Arthur turned.  “Merlin, can you make a thick fog?”

Merlin smiled.  “I think I see your plan.  Yes, I can make that fog.”

“Then we will divide our forces in half under cover of the fog.  We will tie the rafts together as a floating bridge, float them downstream until they are behind Lot’s army, and silently lead half our forces across the river behind Lot’s army, holding back our other troops in front of him.  When you lift the fog, Merlin, we will have him trapped between the two parts of our army.”

And so it happened.  The next day, when Merlin lifted the dense fog he had laid down over the land, Lot and Morgause found themselves caught between the two arms of Arthur’s forces.  To fight meant certain death.

So Morgause and Lot came before Arthur and, in front of both armies, fell to their knees and acknowledged him as High King.  They swore loyalty to him, but to make certain of their promise, Arthur took their young sons to live with him.  These sons, Gawaine, Gareth, Agravain and Gaheris grew to be four of his greatest, and most devoted, Knights of the Round Table.  But there was a fifth son so young that Arthur left him behind with Morgause.  His name was Mordred, and he would play a very different role in the saga of King Arthur.

But all of that lay in the future.  For now, King Arthur had at last unified the war-torn land.

PHOTO: Greathall's King Arthur recording is a wonderful model of chivalry, manners and the importance of  discerning between right and wrong.

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Reflections from Randy Weiss: "Valentine's Day ANY Day with Chicken Soup (A Family Recipe for You)"

Valentine’s Day.

Wickopedia Says:

Saint Valentine's Day, commonly known as Valentine's Day,or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them. After New Year's Day, it is the most celebrated holiday around the world.

St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote "from your Valentine" as a farewell to her.

Today, Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion,as well as in the Lutheran Church.The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, albeit on July 6th and July 30th, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni).
The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").

Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Valentine’s Day.

These two words and this particular day elicit a plethora of emotions. Like a mental Rorschach test (the test where one is shown an artistic blob and asked to interpret it), take a moment to quickly write a few words to describe your immediate reaction to this intriguing day.

My Thoughts:
Love lost, love sustained, love found
No love, true love
Anger, disappointment, hope
Confusion, certainty, vulnerability, ecstasy
Red, pink, lace, cupid, arrows
Tea parties, fancy date, no date
Champagne, chocolate, flowers, hearts

I am really a romantic, just not so much on Valentine's Day. In fact it's safe to say that I am a romantic on EVERY day except Valentine's Day. All those cards, decorations and red and pink-hoopla about the most awesome emotion ever-LOVE, leaves me frustrated instead of inspired. I cherish authenticity and look for the depth in all holidays and special days. 

Looking at my response to my own test above, it's clear that I have "bought into" the commercial response and hype of this non-holiday in the U.S. and have perhaps become too critical, even cynical of February 14. In truth, I love champagne, chocolate, flowers, hearts, angels of all kinds. With all the sadness and despair the daily world news carries, I think I need to re-group and embrace a day that focuses on love. Only my model goes beyond romantic love to love of all the friends, colleagues, family, pets, I truly love and cherish. This model also applies to loving and respecting myself, just as I am this very day.

Nothing pleases me more than giving gifts. I love to find the perfect gift for the perfect person on the perfect occasion. So in honor of Valentine's Day, that comes at a rather nippy time of the year for most of us, my gift to our Greathall Community (who is very close to my heart), is a treasured Weiss family CHICKEN SOUP recipe. Served on a table with flowers and a doilie and accompanied with champagne and some chocolate for dessert won't do any harm at all!

Weiss Family Chicken Soup

1 large organic chicken*
6 stalks celery, chopped
1 small bag of bite-size carrots
2 yellow onions
Lawry’s Seasoning Salt**
Garlic Salt**
Lemon Pepper
Angel Hair Pasta (optional)

USE either a large pot for the stove; or Slow-Cooker (set for 8 hours on high)

Chop the onions and put into the pot
Put the chicken into the pot and add water to cover (or nearly cover)
Cook until tender and edible
Remove the chicken and place into a colander
Run cold water over the chicken (because it’s too hot to touch) and with your hands, remove all undesirable parts such as skin, bones, fat, etc.
Put the desirable meat back into the pot with the broth and onions.
Add chopped celery and carrots (you can cut them or leave them whole if they are the bite-size variety)
Add seasonings to taste
Cook approximately until the carrots and celery are soft.
Check seasoning to taste.


If using the pasta, cook in a separate pot. Drain, rinse and add to the pot of soup or to individual bowls.
If you want to add more liquid to the soup, use water or organic chicken broth

*A great chicken equates to a great soup. No discount chickens allowed! It does make a difference. 
** This soup does not taste the same without these seasonings. I do not advise substitutions!

PHOTO: Randy explains the art of making chicken soup to son-in-law Jeffrey, while daughter, Danna attends to other culinary details.

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Happy Valentine's Day to Our Entire Greathall Community

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Be sure and read Randy's Valentine's Blog from February, 2011 entitled, "Matters of the Heart."





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The Digital Halls of Greathall

You've reached a point in the lesson for school where you believe your children are grasping the academic content but you think to yourself, "How nice it would be to let them hear the story come alive." Or, your bedtime routine is a struggle right now and you are searching for ways to enhance the evening experience. Perhaps you have little ones in your home, and you are wanting something to take the place of the television, something that will engage their young minds and growing imaginations.

Sometimes you need a solution, and you need it fast! Instant access to great stories was a motivating factor for us when we opened our "Digital Halls," allowing you instant access to what may be the perfect solution to your dilemma.

When you enter Greathall, you need not travel far to reach our halls where our digital recordings reside. You can find each of our audio stories for children by clicking on the "Downloads" link at the top of our page. It will escort you to the landing page where you can then enter our Digital Halls.

If you are searching for instant answers, our digital downloads may be the solution you need.



PHOTO: There are so many wonderful titles to choose from! 


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Guest Spotlight: Twenty Thousand Dreams

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Tonight, when I tucked in my 6 year old son, he said, 'Mom, I want to listen to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, in a spot-on Jim Weiss impersonation. His tone and cadence were exact copies of your storytelling style and I had to laugh out loud.  After 4 kids and more than ten years of thoroughly enjoying your work, we'd just like to say THANK YOU so much. :)  -Mindy G.

Dear Guests,

Can your children impersonate Jim Weiss? We would love to see your child give it a try! Make a video recording of your child's effort to tell a story like Jim and email it to

We will post the videos we receive to our Greathall Youtube Hall. By sending in your video, you are letting us know that it is ok to post it out there. We look forward to seeing your creations and impersonations. This will be fun!

PHOTO: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is one of the best adventure stories ever written!


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Mark Your Calendars: An Interview with Jim Weiss

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Tricia Goyer, author, radio host, and homeschool mom, will interview Jim Weiss on her weekly radio program, "Living Inspired with Tricia Goyer."

Mark your calendars for February 21, 2013, at 4 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. CT and join Jim and Tricia in this hour-long program designed to inspire and encourage.

Tricia Living Inspired Radio

The link to the online radio program is: We'll see you there!

PHOTO: Jim Weiss during a wonderful radio interview with Jennifer Till. Here it is:

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Featured Video: A Delight for All Ages

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Enjoy a hilarious tale from Jim Weiss as he shares one of Aesop's Fables: "The Tortoise and The Hare" (audio available on our Animal Tales recording)

Click on the photo below to take you to the video.

PHOTO: The great teaching story of "The Tortoise and the Hare" can be found on Animal Tales!

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Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

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Enjoy a new video by master storyteller Jim Weiss as he performs "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", another mystery from the collection of Sherlock Holmes.

Taken from the original online Storytime with Jim from December 2012, this video has been edited to showcase the story from the pen of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

But, do hurry if you want to see it. The video will return to the back corridors of Greathall on Feb. 28, 2013, and away from public view.

Click on the photo below to enjoy.

PHOTO: Sherlock Holmes for Children is a wonderful introduction to Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Dr. Watson. Mystery! Mystery! is a lovely introduction to the genre of mystery and includes an additional Sherlock Holmes story.

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Ask Jim: Questions from our guests

Q: Jim, are you considering any more videos soon? If so, what stories will you tell? -Susan, Texas

A: Thanks Susan. I am hoping to eventually film videos of at least each of my genres: mystery, myths, fairytales, etc.

Have a question for Jim? Email Dana at

Your question could be answered in our next newsletter.

PHOTO: Jim Weiss performs!

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Greathall Boutique and Monthly Special: Come On Seabiscuit!

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During the Great Depression America needed a symbol of hope. A horse with an inauspicious beginning would become what the country needed during this portentous time.

Come On Seabiscuit! is an unabridged reading by Jim Weiss of author Ralph Moody's book by the same name.

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Follow along as Jim masterfully shares the thrilling tale of the grandson of Man O'War, the down-on-his-luck jockey who would not let horrendous accidents keep him out of the saddle, and the skillful trainer who brought out the best in both of them.

Seabiscuit's exploits lifted the hearts of Americans from the backstreets to the White House.

This month, you can delight in this riveting story and enjoy a limited-time exclusive E-Magazine offer of $25 for the audio recording.

Click here to order and input the code: SEABISCUIT in the Special Instructions box for your special pricing.

The special will not appear on your e-mail confirmation but will be reflected on your credit card and the receipt you will receive with your order.

This SPECIAL offer ends on President's Day, February 18, at midnight ET.

PHOTO: Anybody who loves horse stories will LOVE Seabiscuit.

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Jim Live: March Events

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Come meet Jim and Randy in person! Join us in Greenville, South Carolina, March 14-16 as part of the Great Homeschool Conventions. The event is held at the TD Convention Center.

Jim will present FIVE sessions during the conference. Look for the session details in the March Greathall newsletter.

Jim will be available for autographs, and we will have conference specials and more. We look forward to seeing you there!

PHOTO: Jim loves to meet and engage with his fans, especially at conferences!

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On occasion, Jim Weiss is asked to create and produce a recording for an organization that reflects their specific profile.

This was the case for American Heritage Girls. On the Path to the Stars and Stripes: Inspirational Stories for American Heritage Girls tells the stories of: Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark (both also available on our Gone West CD; Harriet Tubman (also available on our Women in Blue or Gray CD); and two totally new stories to the Greathall line: Julia Ward Howe and The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Dolley Madison.

This recording profiles American Heritage Girls but is appropriate to all Greathall Listeners. It was previously only available from American Heritage Girls, but will be available for purchase on the Greathall website!

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Do You Know Greathall? Enter for a chance to win!

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Last month we asked about our recording of the Moses who did not cross the Red Sea, and many of you sent in the correct answer: Women in Blue and Gray.

Our January winner is: Denay G., Georgia

Congratulations to Denay!!!!!


Q: This recording involves a rabbit, but he is not in a race with a hare. Instead he "ingeniously helps his animal and human friends."

Send in your answer to -- one winner will be randomly chosen from the correct entries to receive a free copy of the featured recording. Deadline for entries is Feb. 23.

PHOTO: Women in Blue or Gray: True Stories from Both Sides of the American Civil War is a fascinating recording perfect for the entire family

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* Visit our web site for more information about Greathall storytelling audio recordings and performances by Jim Weiss.

* View back-issues of our newsletter in the Greathall archives.