Where History Comes Alive SoloTogether

NOTES FROM THE FALL  MEETING - 12 September, 2011

Ted opened the meeting with a thought and a proposal.  When thinking or talking about what we do, keep in mind “we are keeping history alive, we are unique and what we do lasts forever”.  

Also note we voted to have a change in time for our meetings to 5-7 PM.  This is to help Jim and the Longfellow House staff and to make it a little easier for folks who have a long drive to get home at a more reasonable hour.

And now, who was there?

Terry Borton - American Magic Lantern Theater

Kate Carney - Rachel Walker, Bethinia Owens-Adair, Annie Sullivan, Juliette “Daisy” Low, et al

Sally Chetwynd - Sam (a Civil War soldier)

Norm Conrad -  Mini Minstrels

Alex Daunis - Gilbert Stuart

Mike Francis - Galileo, The Stargazer’s Apprentice

Libby Franke - Julia Ward Howe

Deborah Anne Goss - Charlotte Cushman, 'Victorian Musicales',  'Anti-slavery songs', Proper Ladies

Katie Green - Mary Rowlandson

Gail Hamel - Abigail Whitney

JoJo LaRiccia - JoJo’s DreamCart

Susan Lenoe - Anne Bradstreet, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Grimke Sisters

Mike Lowe - John F Kennedy

Sally Matson - Susan B Anthony

Janet Parnes - Royal Tea Parties by Lady  J.

Gwendolyn Presutti - 5 African American women

Mel Simons - The Golden Days of Radio, Television, Rock & Roll, et al

Rob Velella - Nathaniel Hawthorne, young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe

Steve Wood - Abe Lincoln

Sharon Wood - Mary Todd Lincoln,Betsey Phelps, Sarah Josepha Hale, storyteller, et al

Ted Zalewski   - Teddy Roosevelt, Postman Roulin, et al

Our illustrious host Jim Shea

And new arrivals:

Nancy Hurlbut - Surley Girl, the consequences of WWII

Suzanne Fonda - Historical Entertainments


Nancy Hurlbut introduced herself and gave us a brief description of her program, “Surly Girl” about the consequences of WWII.

Rob Velella got started in historical performance when he saw another performer as Poe.  As he said “I can do that” and now Poe is on  the 2011 Cemetery Tour.

Gail Hamel recently rediscovered some photos she had taken of Abigail Whitney’s grave and felt reinspired.

Suzanne Fonda, who is actually a promoter, wanted to express her appreciation for everything we all do to promote history.

Steve Wood was first to mention he’s starting to feel the slowdown due to the economy after a busy year with the Lincoln bi-centenial.

Sharon Wood expressed her thankfulness for Thanksgiving as the Wood’s Thanksgiving show will make up for some of the slowdown Steve mentioned.

Libby Franck, whose Julia Ward Howe is part of the Framingham Historical Center’s repertoire is heading for Mount Auburn Cemetery on November 12  with her Battle Hymn of the Republic program.

Terry Borton brought two of his magic lantern slides for show and tell so we could get a better idea of just what his programs are like.

Janet Parnes has developed a new program, The Proper Patient of 1900.  She also found a new theme for her Dolley Madison program, ice cream soda with Dolley at the Falmouth Historical Society.  I’m thinking a vino with Galileo program or maybe Girl Scout cookies with Juliet Lowe.

Jo Jo LaRiccia’s Dreamcart is now on Rhodes Island public broadcasting, she’s finishing up a documentary for the Longfellow House and will soon be videoing Libby Franck, Deb Goss, Sally Mummey and Kate Carney with Ted Zalewski as master of ceremonies at Somerville Access Cable.  She’s also try to put together a program at the Longfellow House of historical characters associated with the house, for a Harvard University Alumni family day.  If your character visited or lived at Longfellow House be sure to contact Jo Jo to let her know if you’re interested in participating.

Sally Matson is headed back to the Susan B Anthony house in New York to try to help them raise funds to fix up the house which was right in the path of  Hurricane Irene.

Alex Daunis has involved with other projects lately but hopes to get back in gear soon.  He wanted everyone to know that the Roger Williams Museum is a great source for research.

Deb Goss thoroughly enjoyed participating in a seminar on abolition at Colgate University, but was disappointed it will not be repeated again.  The Proper Ladies got out of New York just in time to miss the hurricane after their performance at the Civil War Musicians get together.

Mike Lowe now has his make-up set for transforming himself into JFK and is putting together  a new script which will include voice overs from Kennedy’s life.  He’ll be performing at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa on November 11.

Sally Chetwynd, aka Sam Chetwynd at Civil War re-enactments is progressing on a Peggy Beckwith (Lincoln’s Grand Daughter).

Gwen Presutti is focusing on her newest program featuring Harriet Tubman and her participation in the Civil War.  Gwen has also been asked back to Indianapolis for the writing symposium, but this time as a presenter rather than a participant.

Susan Lenoe took the Grimke Sisters to the State House and is getting Anne Bradstreet ready for the 400th Anniversary of the poets birth. She’s also writing a new program based on her own grandmother, a stocking girl in the mills of Manchester.

Norm  Conrad is still performing his mini-minstrel show, but he’s also back in the printing business if anyone needs some good fliers or business cards, etc.

Mel Simon has been getting a lot of class reunions for his Golden Days shows.  He can be heard regularly on the Steve Leveille program on WBZ Radio 1030, if your a night owl.  His usual start time is around midnight.  Mel’s got another book heading off to the publishers, “The Good Music Triva Book”

Kate Carney has re-written her Juliet Lowe program for Girl Scouts and it now is working nicely.

Katie Green updated everyone on her Mary Rowlandson program.  Katie does a disclaimer before the program to warn her audiences about Mary’s attitude toward American Indians.  She’s trying to figure out a way to bring Mary to schools.

The topic for general discussion was negotiating fees.  Several ideas were presented and the pros and cons tossed around. We also discussed Search Engine Optimization for web pages.  Some wondered why their characters were not ending up at the top of those Google searches.  The short explanation is that most of us choose historically famous characters to portray.  This means they are also discussed in all kinds of other web pages, including museums etc which have many more links to their pages than we do. This has a major impact on your search placement.  It was suggested you might add hidden text keywords on your pages to get the rank higher, but this is a surefire way to make search engines mad and get you bumped way down  in searches.  My suggestion is to add the word impersonator to the description of what you do and you’ll find  your name moving quickly to the top of searches for your character’s impersonations.

That’s all for now.  As always let me know when you get a booking and I’ll put it on the calendar.

Mike Francis

Webmaster SoloTogether

Home  |  The Characters  | Special Programs  |  The Performers  |  Meetings  |  FAQs  |  Contact

©Mike Francis 2011  This website is designed and maintained by Mike Francis.