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'Unchained Memories'

[MAY 7, 2003]  "Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives,” based on the HBO documentary, Bullfinch Press, 159 pages, nonfiction

"What's that? You want me to tell you 'bout slavery days? …Well, I'll tell you some to put in your book."

-- Elizabeth Sparks

Review by Bobbi Reddix

"Unchained Memories" contains interviews with ex-slaves that took place in the 1930s, some 70 years after slavery was abolished by President Lincoln. Two-thirds of the interviewees were over 80 years of age when interviewed.

This book contains about 2 percent of the actual "Slave Narrative Project," entitled "Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves." This undertaking consisted of more than 2,000 interviews conducted over the course of approximately two years. The former slaves interviewed were from 1 to 20-plus years old at the time of slavery. The people conducting the interviews were told to leave most of the language unaltered, which at times can make portions of the accounts difficult to fully understand, but the unaltered retelling gives readers a true feeling for the person being interviewed.

The book gives firsthand accounts of slave auctions, labor, family life, living conditions, abuse suffered at the hands of slave owners, special occasions slaves were allowed to observe, runaways and emancipation. Each chapter contains several accounts, and you will find a story in each one that is a poignant representation of their lives.


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One ex-slave tells of watching as slave owners sold children to one man while selling their mother and father to a different owner. Another tells of watching slaves herded into the square and auctioned off like cattle. The retelling evokes haunting images that many feel should not be told but must be told for the historical record. We read of hunger that would cause some to steal, people who were made to work until they literally fell asleep while standing up, women who were unwilling recipients of their master's affections, and punishment meted out to those who dared to escape to freedom.

Many people view slavery as a period in history best forgotten. In some quarters it has become almost taboo in American culture to discuss the issue. It has become a part of American history that is often reduced to a chapter or two in accounts of American history and is studied by students for often only a week of the school year. Slavery is not just "African-American history," it is American history.

Some may be angered by this book, but hopefully most people who read this book will become more educated on the subject. The accounts in this book are disturbing; many are inhumane. But the people in this book are truly amazing, and their stories needed to be told.

[Bobbi Reddix, Lincoln Public Library District]

Concert association announces
new name and new season

[APRIL 25, 2003]  Almost everything is new about the Lincoln Land Concert Association this year -- its name, its booking source, a reciprocal arrangement with two nearby cities and, of course, the artists who will perform during the 2003-04 season.

Formerly affiliated with Trawick of New York, which has a copyright on the name "Community Concerts," the association is now booking through Allied Concert Services of Minnetonka, Minn., and has therefore dropped the word "community" from its name. The vote to change booking services came in October. Association president Harley Petri of Elkhart said the board of directors met with Allied president David Folin beginning last summer, liked what they heard and decided to give his company a try.

Folin was present Tuesday night to preview the season's lineup. This year all performances are on weekends, with three shows on Friday night and one on Saturday.

Headlining the series is Red, Hot...& Blue!, a musical revue featuring eight performers acclaimed as the "hardest working cast in Branson." They sing and dance their way from ragtime to rock 'n' roll. In Branson, Mo., the show has been consistently awarded Best A.M. Show, Best Costumes and Best Vocal & Dance Group.


Red, Hot...& Blue opened on July 4, 1996. Since then the show has been featured on Holland-America Cruise Lines and Princess Cruise Lines and has made several national tours. The high-energy revue comes to Lincoln March 12, 2004.


Fans of Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion" may remember Butch Thompson, a jazz pianist who performed on the radio show in the '80s and '90s. On April 23, 2004, he will team up with Duke Heitger on trumpet and Jimmy Mazzy on banjo and vocals to form Butch Thompson's Big Three. The trio of seasoned musicians traces the history of jazz from its origins in New Orleans to the ragtime of Scott Joplin, the blues of Chicago's south side and the jazz of the Roaring '20s.


Thompson, who plays both piano and clarinet, also sits in as a music critic. In Minneapolis-St. Paul he writes a newspaper column and has a radio show on jazz.

Leading off the Lincoln Land Concert season on Sept. 20 is a young male a cappella quartet called Marcoux Corners. Specializing in close harmony, the group covers five decades of music, beginning with the doo-wop style of the '50s. The vocalists mix humor with their harmonizing and feature fresh arrangements and programs tailored to the audience. Marcoux Corners has been hailed as "one of the best up and coming groups in the country" by an ambassador to the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America.


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Rounding out the season is Cowboy Envy, a trio of women musicians who perform in the style of the Sons of the Pioneers. Their show is "not country western; it's cowboy," Folin confirmed. Cited for Best Harmony by the Western Music Association in 2000 and 2001, band members bolster their sound with guitar and punctuate it with humorous tales of the Old West. An accordianist accompanies far in the background. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, "Cowboy Envy galloped onto the scene with yips and yodels and harmonies to die for."


A new feature of concert series membership this year is a reciprocal arrangement with associations in Pekin and Pontiac. Included in a Lincoln Land season membership is the option to attend any of the four concerts presented in Pekin and the three in Pontiac. For convenience, all three schedules will be printed on the Lincoln Land ticket. Petri said, "I'm really excited about the reciprocal agreement," which has been accomplished without a rise in price. Membership cost is steady at $35 for the basic adult season ticket.

There is, however, a new upper-level sponsorship category this year. For $300 an Angel membership provides two tickets per performance plus four compact discs by season artists. Angels will be issued four coupons which they can cash in for CDs of their choice. In the case of Red, Hot...& Blue, a video may be substituted for the CD.

Campaign secretary Judy Awe said two Angels have already signed on. Other levels of support are Benefactor ($150, includes two memberships), Sponsor ($80), Patron ($45), Adult ($35), Student ($15) and Family ($75). All memberships are season tickets. No individual tickets are sold.

The membership drive for the 2003-04 season began Tuesday night. Anyone interested in purchasing a membership can call Awe at 732-4758 or membership chairman Mary Thomas George at 735-3241 (evening).

Allied Concert Association has been in business for over 50 years. Since 1966 the Folin family has owned and operated the company. "If a woman answers the phone, it's my sister-in-law," David Folin said. "If it's a man, it's either my father, my brother or me."

The Lincoln Land Association has been bringing performing artists to local audiences since 1958. "You are important," Folin told membership workers on Tuesday night. "Think how many years your organization has brought culture to your community."

[Lynn Spellman]

LCT auditions begin

[APRIL 2, 2003]  Lincoln Community Theatre is looking for local talent to sing, dance and act in its summer 2003 productions. Singing and non-singing roles are available.

Individuals auditioning for a role in one of this summer's musical productions should have a song prepared. An accompanist will be available. Individuals trying out should also be prepared to learn a few basic dance steps at the audition. Those auditioning for non-singing roles will be required to do cold readings from the script.

Scripts may be viewed at the Lincoln Public Library two weeks prior to each audition. Library scripts may not be removed from the building.

All auditions will be conducted at St. John United Church of Christ, 204 Seventh St. in Lincoln.

LCT audition schedule

"Nuncrackers" -- a musical comedy from the "Nunsense" series of plays

  • Directed by Sarah Knutilla of Lincoln
  • Performance dates: June 13-21
  • Audition: Friday, April 11, at 6 p.m. or Saturday, April 12, at 10 a.m.; possible callbacks on Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m.
  • Roles include six women, two men and parts for four children (two boys and two girls, ages 8-14)

"Steel Magnolias" -- an all-female lighthearted drama

  • Directed by Paul Cary from Springfield
  • Performance dates: July 11-19
  • Audition: Friday, May 16, at 6 p.m. or Saturday, May 17, at 10 a.m.; possible callbacks on Sunday, May 18, at 2 p.m.
  • Roles are available for six women (ages 18-70), with several parts for "mature" actresses as well as one woman in her 20s.

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"1776" -- a history-based musical

  • Directed by Jennifer MacMurdo, formerly of Lincoln
  • Performance dates: Aug. 1-9
  • Audition: Friday, June 6, at 6 p.m. or Saturday, June 7, at 10 a.m.; possible callbacks on Sunday, June 8, at 2 p.m.
  • Many roles (23 in all) for male actors ranging in age from 20 to 50! Roles are also available for two women (both soprano). Roles include parts for older, "mature" actors as well as one young teenage male. A few male non-singing roles are also required for the show.

Questions regarding auditions may be directed to Marlene Perry, audition chairman, at (217) 732-2640.

Season tickets are still available for this season. Send check or money order ($20 adults, $12 children through eighth grade) to LCT, Box 374, Lincoln, IL 62656. Additional information regarding LCT's upcoming season is available at

[Lincoln Community Theatre press release]

Lincoln Community Theatre
entertaining for 32nd summer

[MARCH 26, 2003]  Preparing for the 32nd year of live summer theater for the Logan County area, Lincoln Community Theatre's 2003 membership campaign kicked off this month. Season tickets for the summer are $20 for adults and $12 for students through eighth grade.

Productions for this season begin in June with the hysterical musical "Nuncrackers," a continuation of the well-loved "Nunsense" series offered by LCT in previous seasons. This selection centers around the sisters' holiday program and includes dueling Sugar Plum Fairies, dear Sister Amnesia and audience participation. The July production, "Steel Magnolias," is a familiar, bittersweet story that mixes laughter and tears as the audience becomes acquainted with the eccentric and lovable characters of a small Southern community. Closing the 2003 season on a patriotic note, LCT will offer the musical "1776." Humor abounds with the fast-paced wit of our founding fathers as they deal with revolutionary problems and joys.

Performances Tuesday through Saturday will be at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees will be offered at 2 p.m. All productions will be presented at the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts, 300 Keokuk St.

Season ticket holders may make their reservations as soon as the box office opens on June 2 and are assured a seat for each performance on the night of their choice up to the date tickets become available to the general public. After that point, season ticket holders may still make reservations, but tickets are then reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Season ticket holders may also purchase additional general admission tickets when making reservations during season ticket week and do not have to wait for general admission sales to open.


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General admission tickets to each production are available to the public one week before each show's opening, at the cost of $9 per adult and $6 per student through eighth grade. Individuals or businesses wishing to further support live theater in Lincoln may purchase memberships at increasing levels and be recognized in each program during the summer season. Those memberships are as follows: Friends of LCT at $30 (includes one membership), Sponsors at $50 (with two memberships), Angels at $100 (four memberships), Grand Patrons at $250 (eight memberships) and Sustaining Members at $500 (12 memberships).

To renew or purchase a season membership, send check or money order to LCT, Box 374, Lincoln, IL 62656. For further information, contact LCT's membership committee at (217) 732-7542. Additional information regarding LCT's upcoming season is also available at

[Judy Rader, Lincoln Community Theatre
publicity chairman]

Classic films return to Lincoln Cinemas

The Logan County Arts Association, in conjunction with GKC Cinemas Corporation, has brought the classic film night series back to the Lincoln Cinemas. The next set of films is scheduled for every second Thursday through October, with shows at 7 p.m.

Classic films lined up for the 2003 season:

  • "The Guns of Navarone," May 8
  • "My Fair Lady," June 12
  • "Old Yeller," July 10
  • "The Apartment," Aug. 14
  • "Wuthering Heights," Sept. 11
  • "War of the Worlds," Oct. 9

Tickets are $5.50 for adults and $4.50 for senior citizens and children 12 and under. The tickets are available at GKC Lincoln Cinemas.

Anyone wanting more information may call the Logan County Arts Association at (217) 735-4422.

[Press release from the
Logan County Arts Association]

Lincoln Community Theatre information

Lincoln Community Theatre's box office, phone 735-2614,  is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday for the summer season. The office is located in the lobby of the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Lincoln College.

Performances of "Dearly Departed" are scheduled for July 12-20, and "The King and I" will be presented Aug. 2-10. Show times are 2 p.m. on Sundays and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The LCT mailing address is Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656; e-mail:

Visit the LDC website at Pictures from past productions are included.

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