News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: June 15, 2004 (04-58)

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Environmentalists from Past Come Alive at Montgomery College Chautauqua
Four-day Event, July 6-9, at MC-Germantown Features Carson,
Thoreau, Roosevelt 

            The voices of America’s early environmentalists will be heard once again at Montgomery College’s annual Chautauqua, July 6-9, at the Germantown Campus.  This family-friendly event weaves together music, theatre, and history to create educational entertainment.  The Chautauqua series of programs, themed this year as “The American Environment: Voices and Choices,” will take place at 7 p.m., underneath an outdoor tent.

            Chautauqua begins on July 6 with “BanjerDan,” acoustic musician Dan Mazer, performing bluegrass and other music on banjo.  The evening will continue with a special environmental program highlighting Maryland’s own birds and reptiles.  Created by the Maryland State Forest and Park Service, the program aims to educate people about some of the state’s native animals and the problems they face, such as pollution and loss of habitat.  Naturalists will use live birds of prey and reptiles to illustrate their stories. 

            Each of the remaining three Chautauqua nights will begin with a short concert by a local musician.  Next, an actor-scholar will take the stage to portray a historical figure – writer and teacher Rachel Carson, United States President Theodore Roosevelt, or author Henry David Thoreau – who sought to raise public awareness about the environment.  The scholars modify their clothing, hair, and speech to create the illusion that they have become the environmentalists.

            The Chautauqua movement began in the late 1800s as a training program for Sunday school teachers.  Taking its name from a lake in upstate New York, the Chautauqua quickly expanded and became known for educating adults in the arts and humanities.  At the turn-of-the-century, Chautauqua lecturers and entertainers traveled across the country, bringing their style of education to small towns.  When Americans increasingly replaced live entertainment with television and movies, the Chautauqua movement dwindled. 

            During the 1970s, the dying form of entertainment got a new breath of life.  The Chautauqua re-invented itself as a public humanities program.  Through these dialogues, scholars take on the persona of a historical figure to educate and entertain audiences of all ages.

             The Montgomery College Chautauqua 2004 program schedule is as follows:

  • Tuesday, July 6, 7 p.m.
    Music by Banjer Dan
    An Evening with Scales and Tales – Maryland’s Birds and Reptiles

  • Wednesday, July 7, 7 p.m.
    Music by Judy Moore
    An Evening with Rachel Carson, by Doris Dwyer

  • Thursday, July 8, 7 p.m.
    Music by Mary Sue Twohy
    An Evening with Henry David Thoreau, by Doug Mishler

  • Friday, July 9, 7 p.m.
    Music by Liberty Dawne
    An Evening with Theodore Roosevelt, by Kevin Radaker 

The Montgomery College Chautauqua 2004 is sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council, with support from Lockheed Martin, Constellation Energy, Columbia Gas of Maryland, Choice Hotels International, The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Maryland Division of Historical and Cultural Programs.   

All performances are free and open to the public.  The evening performances will be held underneath a tent on Montgomery College’s Germantown Campus, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown.  In case of rain, the performances will be moved inside to Globe Hall, located within the High Technology and Science Center.

All sites are accessible for persons with disabilities.  If sign language interpretation is needed, call 410-771-0652 by June 21.  For more information on the Montgomery College Chautauqua, call 240-567-7746 or visit

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.