Friday, September 29, 2017

WWI History Comes Alive -- Evergreen Cemetery Walk Begins This Weekend

The annual cemetery walk that brings together the McLean County Museum of History, Illinois Voices Theatre and Bloomington's Evergreen Cemetery is almost here. In the past, the walk has centered on the Civil War and Illinois State University, but this year, eight characters from Bloomington-Normal history will be brought alive to tell about their involvement with World War I. That includes soldiers and nurses as well as those who supported the Great War on the homefront.

On the walk, you'll meet Ethel Hamilton Hanson and Julia Holder, both active with the Red Cross and other important volunteer war efforts in McLean County, along with nurse Carolyn Schertz Geneva, who served at home and abroad, including joining an Army medical unit that was sent to England during the war.

Jennifer Maloy will play Hanson, Abby Scott will take on Holder, and Ann White will play Geneva. All three actors are joining the cemetery walk for the first time, although they are familiar faces to local audiences.

You will also see three military men who faced great challenges just to serve. Brothers Edward and Lincoln Bynum fought together to great acclaim in an African-American unit in France, while Roland Read, rejected multiple times by the United States Army because of his poor vision, ended up serving with French and Serbian forces to do his part.

The Bynum Brothers will be portrayed by Emmanuel Jackson and Timothy Jefferson, with Brian Artman as Roland Read. And they, too, are newcomers to the walk with a variety of credits in local theaters.

Prominent members of local society Carl and Julia Scott Vrooman will round out the parade of World War I participants. Both were actively involved in the war effort, Mr. Vrooman as Secretary of Agriculture under Woodrow Wilson and Mrs. Vrooman as the driving force behind a jazz band put together to entertain troops in Europe.

Dean and Cyndee Brown will portray the Vroomans this time out. Cyndee Brown has performed in this program before, but her husband Dean is a first-timer. Carl and Julia Vrooman were last portrayed in 2008.

If you would like to take part, you have a choice of group tours beginning at 11 am and 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays for the next two weeks. This is a walking tour and you will be on your feet for approximately one-and-a-half to two hours. Some wheelchairs and walking canes are available at the cemetery, but the number is limited and it is much wiser to bring your own if you need one.

The dates for tours are September 30 and October 1, and October 7 and 8, with, again, start times at 11 am and 2 pm.

Because this is a popular event, you are advised to buy your tickets ahead at the Museum of History or Casey's Garden Shop in Bloomington or the Garlic Press in Normal.

For more information, including bios, pictures and a map, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment