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Young Chautauquans to perform at Snowshoe Festival

Staff reports

The final performance of the Young Chautauquans of Carson Valley will be offered at the Snowshoe Thompson Festival this weekend.

Among the young people in the program will be John-Henry Lambin as the legendary Snowshoe Thompson.

Sixteen youths ranging in age from 7 to 15 will dress in historical costumes and give brief accounts of the lives of the people in history they have chosen to portray.

The Young Chautauquans is a new program in Carson Valley, organized by the Carson Valley Historical Society in conjunction with the Douglas County Public Library and sponsored by the Nevada Humanities Committee.

Modeled after the Great Basin Young Chautauquans in Reno, the program is offered January to June, with the final performance of this first year coming at the festival in Genoa.

“This is the last official performance,” said program co-director Cherry Jones, “although we will have a roster of those who are willing to perform for events or clubs until we start again next year.”

The program requires the youths to meet two evenings a month, working in small groups. Each youngster was responsible for doing his or her own research into the life of the character.

Help came from the library staff, parents of the kids and group leaders Mena Goodspeed, Gail Sequeiros, Cindy Southerland and Bobbie Williams. Grace Bower was co-director.

A Chautauqua performance follows a specific format. The performer talks about his or her life and takes questions in character. Then, the performer answers questions out of character about why the personage was chosen.

At the Genoa Courthouse Museum during the Pony Express Reride in Genoa June 14, seven students presented their characters as one of the three performances they must give in order to qualify for the Snowshoe Thompson Festival. Others performed at Summerville at Virginia Creek and at the Nevada State Library and Archvies during the Hannah Clapp Lecture Series.

Jones expects even more students will take part in the program next time.

“We had 24 children at the formation meeting,” she said. “It’s a remarkable number. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have twice this number next year.”

Youths in the program attend Carson Valley elementary, middle and high schools and several are home-schooled, Jones added. For more information, call her at 267-6097.

The Young Chautauquan roster includes Wade Beavers as Henry Ford; Jack Cholin, Franklin D. Roosevelt; Casey Cotter, Amelia Earhart; Tyrel Dressler, Gandhi; Zuri Fox, Sacajawea; Peggie Hannah, Joan of Arc; Rachel Lambin, Beatrix Potter; Jeff Lambin, Walt Disney; John-Henry Lambin, Davy Crockett; Jenny McMenomy, Clara Barton; Denai Neilander, Queen Elizabeth I; Matthew Roberts, Braxton Bragg; Spencer Rogers, Tenzing Norgay; Dennis “Duke” Sanders, Roger Sherman; Cristina Siqueiros, Susan B. Anthony; Andy Tollefson, Paul Revere; and Adam Wennhold, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The students will perform either Saturday or Sunday, Jones said.