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For Immediate Release (01-42)
Date: May 31, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Colonial Era Figures Adams, Banneker, Washington, and Wheatley To Headline Montgomery College
Chautauqua, July 10–13
‘Creating a New Nation’ is Theme for Annual Event at Germantown Campus

Four leading figures from America’s Colonial era—Abigail Adams, Benjamin Banneker, George Washington, and Phillis Wheatley—will lead participants back in time at the Montgomery College Chautauqua, scheduled for July 10–13. Most events will be held under a tent at the College’s Germantown Campus.

Each evening will feature an actor/humanities scholar speaking to and interacting with the audience in the dress and character of one of these renowned figures from the Revolutionary War era. Musicians will also be on hand to warm up the audience with selections from the period. All events are free and open to the public.

Taking its name from a lake in western New York State, the Chautauqua began in 1874 as a training course for Sunday school teachers. By 1904, the Chautauqua took to the road as part of the Lyceum movement, bringing lecturers and entertainers to towns across America. By the end of the ‘20s, however, Chautauquas were in decline, due to a number of factors: the Great Depression, increased mobility, and the rise of the radio and moving pictures.

In Maryland, Chautauquas were held in 1891 at Glen Echo Park in Montgomery County and at the turn of the century at Mountain Lake Park in Garrett County.

Reborn as a humanities program in the 1970s, today’s Chautauquas feature scholars who assume the character and costume of celebrated historical figures, educating and entertaining audiences as they engage them in dialogue about the past.

The Montgomery College Chautauqua is sponsored in association with the Maryland Humanities Council, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Maryland Division of Historical and Cultural Programs, Columbia Gas of Maryland, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Choice Hotels International Foundation, and Aegon.

The Chautauqua’s schedule of events is as follows:

Tuesday, July 10, 7 p.m.

Songs of a new nation, featuring guitar, banjo, and fiddle by Liberty Dawne and George Welling

An Evening with George Washington, by William Arthur Sommerfield

Location: Under the tent at Montgomery College, Germantown Campus, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown

Wednesday, July 11, 7 p.m.

18th Century songs for voice and piano by Jennifer Augustine

An Evening with Benjamin Banneker, by Bill Grimmette

Under the tent at Montgomery College, Germantown Campus

Thursday, July 12, 7 p.m.

Songs and guitar from the Revolutionary War era by Mary Sue Twohy

An Evening with Phillis Wheatley, by Dorothy Mains Prince

Location: Under the tent at Montgomery College, Germantown Campus

Friday, July 13, 2:30 p.m.

"Was Abigail Adams a Feminist?" (for adults and high school students) by Linda Myer

Location: Asbury Methodist Village, Cultural Arts and Wellness Center,

201 Russell Avenue, Gaithersburg, Md. (open to the general public)

Friday, July 13, 7 p.m.

18th Century songs for voice and piano by Jennifer Augustine

An Evening with Abigail Adams, by Linda Myer

Location: Under the tent at Montgomery College, Germantown Campus

All sites are handicapped accessible. To request sign language interpretation, please contact the Maryland Humanities Council at 410-771-0652 by June 21. For more information about the Montgomery College Chautauqua, call 240-567-7746.

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