The Bishop Hill Chautauqua Celebrates History in Person


Bishop Hill’s 9th Annual Chautauqua looks back at the history of the Chautauqua
Movement. “We have invited these voices from the past who have something to say to our
audiences today,” says Artistic Director Brian “Fox” Ellis. On Saturday August 27th and Sunday
August 28th, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association will host this free festival in the newly
restored gazebo in the town square.

On August 27th, the day begins at 10 a.m. with “A Storyteller’s Tour of Bishop Hill”, a
walking tour lead by Brian “Fox” Ellis that begins at the Twinflower Inn. The tour will last about
90 minutes and circle the town. The tour will include stories of the founding of the town, as well
as some of its more colorful recent history.

At 1:00 p.m. in the park, Brian “Fox” Ellis portrays Roger Ridgway, an Illinois native
who became the first full-time curator of birds at the United States National Museum. Ridgway
was also the primary author of The Birds of North and Middle America.

At 2:00 p.m., storyteller and author Stephen Hollen brings to life Mark Twain’s wit and
humor with a lively mix of quotes and both popular and lesser known stories. Mark Twain was a
writer, humorist, and Chautauqua lecturer.

And at 3:00 p.m., Michael Hurt will sing the songs made popular by the Fisk Jubilee
Singers. This program covers the history of African-American vocal music; including field
hollers sung by field slaves; call and response work songs of the south and of the West Indies.
These historical musical forms ultimately birthed the Negro spiritual, gospel, the blues, and jazz.
Mr. Hurt has sung with the Heritage Ensemble and Opera Illinois and he has appeared in many
regional theater productions.

On Sunday, August 28th, the program starts in the park at 1:00 p.m. with the folk music
ensemble Hammer and Pick and a rowdy tour of American folk music. Hammer and Pick has
been playing for audiences in Western Illinois since the 1980’s. Jon Wagner plays hammered
dulcimer, banjo, guitar and harmonica; Jan Sams plays guitar and bass; and William Hope adds
his guitar & dobro.

At 2:00 p.m., Brian “Fox” Ellis steps into the shoes of our fishing president, President
Herbert Hoover, to present a program based on his book Fishing for Fun–and to Wash Your
Soul. Hoover will recall some of his favorite fish tales from his boyhood fishing in West Branch.
He will tell a few fishing jokes, stories of fishing with other world leaders, and how he used
fishing as a diplomatic tool. Hoover was also President of the Izaak Walton League, which is
celebrating its 100th anniversary this year!

At 3:00 p.m., Stephen Hollen will bring to life Buffalo Bill, with tales of the Wild West.
Born just across the river in Le Claire Iowa, Buffalo Bill Cody became of one of the most
famous figures of the Wild West.

All programs will be held at the newly restored gazebo in Bishop Hill’s town square, on
the corners of Main Street and Bishop Hill Road, in Bishop Hill, IL. Folks are encouraged to
bring a lawn chair, bring a friend, and plan to come early to eat lunch in one of several
restaurants or visit our shops and museums. This free public event is sponsored by the Bishop
Hill Heritage Association, Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, Geneseo Foundation, and the Twinflower Inn Bed and Breakfast. For more information, call
309-927-3899, visit or email .

The Bishop Hill Chautauqua Schedule:

Saturday August 27th
10 am A Storyteller’s Tour of Bishop Hill with Brian “Fox” Ellis
1:00 Roger Ridgway: the Birdman of Illinois
2:00 Mark Twain’s Wit and Humor with Stephen Hollen
3:00 Michael Hurt performs Music of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Sunday, August 28th
1:00 Hammer and Pick perform America’s Folk Music
2:00 Herbert Hoover: Our Fishing President with Brian “Fox” Ellis
3:00 Buffalo Bill and the Wild West with Stephen Hollen

***Courtesy of Bishop Hill***

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