PIQUA — The Piqua Chautauqua is set for Sept. 19-21 at Hance Pavilion in Fountain Park. Each evening, there will be music and a readers’ theatre.
In addition, on Sept. 19, the Gotham City Brass Quintet will perform music of the WWI era.; on Sept. 20, the Piqua High School Jazz Band will play music of the WWII era; and on Sept. 21. the Piqua Civic Band will perform music of the WWI era. Each evening, the music will be accompanied by appropriate readings from 6-7 p.m.
Following the music and readings , a scholar will give a presentation as a historical figure from 7 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m., with time for questions of the historical figure and then as the scholar.
What is a Chautauqua? It began as any traveling show and local assembly that flourished in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that provided popular education combined with entertainment in the form of lectures, concerts, and plays. Today’s Chautauqua’s are very similar; hiring humanities scholars who perform as 1st person historical figures while providing entertainment, and light refreshments.
Chautauqua performances have a history in Piqua back to when the Piqua Community Chautauqua Association held their first festival at Fountain Park in 1912. The festival grew in popularity and after World War I, a permanent pavilion was built, and today is known as Hance Pavilion.
The line-up of entertainers are well-known for their historical performances around the county. They include Karen Vuranch, storyteller, actress, and writer. She is known best for her living history presentations of famous American women. On Sept. 19, Vuranch will be portraying Edith Wharton, a Pulitzer Prize novelist best known for “The Age of Innocence” and “Ethan Frome.” Wharton lived in France during WWI and was an ardent supporter of the French war efforts.
Charles Pace tours the country reenacting the lives of some of America’s most influential figures including Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X. On Sept. 20, Pace will take the stage as W.E.B. DuBois, a sociologist, historian, civil rights activist and a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909.
Paul Vickery, Ph.D. is a professor of history at Oral Roberts University. Vickery has presented historical characters such as Henry Ford and Bishop Francis Asbury around the country and on Sept 21, he will portray Woodrow Wilson as he went against his campaign promise to keep us out of WWI.
This event is supported by the Miami County Foundation, the Piqua Community Foundation, Hartzell-Norris Charitable Trust and the City of Piqua.