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By rebeccapricejanney, Aug 16 2017 04:14PM

In light of my August vacation days, I’ve asked my good friend Christopher Black to be my guest blogger for the next two weeks. Christopher is the artistic director of the Bachmann Players, who do colonial dinner theater at Easton, Pennsylvania’s 1753 Bachmann Publick House. Scott and I went to see a production in June and were quite impressed with the engaging interactions of the players with their audience, not to mention the delicious meal we enjoyed.


This week, Christopher is going to share the story of how the Bachmann Players came to be. Next week he’ll introduce us to the actors and actresses in his troupe. Take it away—


The Bachmann Players by Christopher Black


I was attracted to the theater in my youth and followed the lights to the big city, etc. I was fortunate enough to have a small degree of success, and lucky enough to be able to be a professional actor in a classical repertory company for about ten years. It is worth noting that I was able to do a fair amount of Shakespeare and plays of the Greeks because these are the texts and types of language that would have been familiar to literate folks of the 1700’s.


Eventually, one aspect of the actor’s life began to wear on me—no money, no relationships—

and as my theater company began to falter artistically under new leadership, I took the opportunity to change my life. I managed to meet a wonderful woman, left the theater, bought a house, and moved to Pennsylvania.


Life slowed down a bit, and I was able to indulge my love of history, do more research, read more classics. Eventually, however, my back ground caught up with me when I was asked to do a presentation of an “Evening with John Adams” at the Bachmann Tavern for The Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society. About the same time, I was invited to read the Declaration of Independence for Easton’s Heritage Day.


I made a startling and delightful discovery -- the letters and documents of the 1700’s seemed to make perfect sense to me. It was probably my exposure to the classics, but I suddenly found an avalanche of original source material I had never paid attention to. I saw an opportunity to indulge and put to work all the creative studies of my entire life into one project.


As someone who enjoys research and pouring over original materials, I would delve into historical topics related to Easton and the beginnings of this country. As a budding playwright, I could mold these original documents and put words in the mouths of people like Benjamin Franklin, William Parsons, and John Adams. By being aware of a larger historical context, it would be possible to honor their beliefs and intents. It would be possible, I determined, to make an audience feel like they had really met these people. In addition, the project would allow me to both act and direct, two things I love.


I would also work with others in the community who I would cast, write for, and teach. This would pay back the world for the opportunities I have had to work with world class teachers and artists during my studies and career. I even built a website using skills from my “Day Job” in a New York Photo Agency.


We do a few productions a year at the Bachmann, and recently have taken some of the presentations to some outside venues as well. My goal to have ten plays “in the can” so to speak. So far I have written and produced three:


Easton: 1752 Founding of a Frontier Village

Easton 1755: The Frontier in Crisis

Easton 1777: An Evening with John Adams


I am currently working on a piece that will involve George Taylor, Robert Levers, and other Easton founding fathers as the Northampton Committee of Safety and Observation struggles to provide leadership when the Revolutionary War unfolded. That will be titled “Easton 1775: The Edge of Revolution.” I hope to have it ready to be performed in the spring of 2018 at the Bachmann Tavern, and perhaps that fall at the George Taylor Mansion in Catasauqua.


Next week: Meet the Bachmann Players



By rebeccapricejanney, Aug 1 2017 12:28PM

The fun continues as I promote my latest novel, EASTON IN THE VALLEY! This Saturday I'll be appearing at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania's Musikfest, along with 20+ other authors at a book signing. This

will take place at the Sands Outlets starting at 10 AM. I've never done a book signing at outlets before, but this sounds like fun, and I hope to see many of you there.


I also want to let you know starting this Friday, August 4th, you can enter a giveaway contest on Goodreads to win a copy of EASTON IN THE VALLEY. The competition will go through Tuesday, August 15th.


Yesterday I taped a radio interview with Cynthia Simmons for her show, "Heart of the Matter." Details will follow about when and where she'll be airing the program.





By rebeccapricejanney, Jul 24 2017 12:12PM

Last week was a marathon as I was part of a wonderful staff who taught fifth graders at my church’s VBS program. I fondly remember going to VBS as a girl, then shepherding my son through those joy-filled summer weeks beginning when he was five. Needless to say, there wasn’t much time for blogging or writing, or cleaning my house! I needed the entire weekend to recover.


As I began the new week, I’d like to share a couple of events coming up in the next few days. On Tuesday night at 7:30 I’ll be doing a live Facebook chat about my new novel, Easton in the Valley, which will include anything you might want to ask about the first book, the series, or writing in general.


On Thursday I’ll be giving a talk and doing a book signing at the Mary Meuser Memorial Library’s “Coffee, Tea and Memories” program. The event is at 1:30 at the Strausser (Wilson) Community Center, 2201 Liberty Street, in Easton.


I’m looking forward to “seeing” many of you on Facebook, as well as in Easton. What better place is there to discuss my Easton Series!



By rebeccapricejanney, Jul 12 2017 08:10PM

Easton's Heritage Day weekend is always special for me, but this last one will linger in my memory for a very long time. I'll give you reasons for both.


Back in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial, Easton put on quite a celebration. After all, this town was one of the first three in the new nation to have a public reading of the Declaration of Independence--along with Trenton and Philadelphia. The bands played, flags waved, and fireworks soared into the nighttime sky. The following year was much quieter, which prompted my mom to write a letter to the editor of the then-Easton Express to suggest we should have a similar festival every year. While I don’t know for sure her letter is the actual reason we have a Heritage Day, I believe her ardor contributed to the present commemoration. Thanks Mom! You were a true Patriot in so many ways.


Easton has observed an annual Heritage Day since the late 1970s on the Sunday closest to July 8th, the date Robert Levers read the Declaration of Independence to the villagers on the Courthouse steps. My beloved ancestor, Colonel Peter Kichline (one of two main characters in my Easton Series), led his regiment to the Great Square in a display of patriotism amidst shouts of “Hip hip huzzah!”


For the past few years, my husband has portrayed the Colonel, and myself and our son as his wife and son, in a parade from the Bachmann Publick House on Second Street to the “Circle” where our good friend, Christopher Black, skillfully plays Levers before enthusiastic crowds. Needless to say, my heart swells as I stand there hearing those words read, and I often feel tears coming on at the end when we all pledge “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”


This past weekend was even more amazing for me than usual. On Saturday morning I participated in the 265th birthday of the Easton Farmers’ Market at the invitation of another dear friend, Paul Strikwerda. There I spoke about, and signed, copies of my brand new book, Easton in the Valley. The weather was gorgeous, and I so enjoyed meeting many people who came by to see me.


In the evening I had the honor of participating in a book launch sponsored by the Sigal Museum/Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society at the 1753 Bachmann Public House. Fellow authors Jeff Finegan and Richard Hope joined me there as we spoke about our books and welcomed a sell-out crowd of well-wishers and book lovers. What fun I had greeting friends from nearly every part of my life in that historic place! I even ran into my former German professor and his wife from Lafayette College! Thank you, Carey Birgel, for making the evening such a success.


Sunday morning dawned much more comfortably than any Heritage Day I’ve ever known, and I scurried with a friend and my family to the interfaith service at Riverside Park. The town criers called us into the outdoor amphitheater, and the Rev. Michael Dowd of the First U.C.C. gave a stirring sermon. From there, I mingled with Heritage Day festival-goers, then marched in the noontime parade. At the end I ran into several of my DAR friends, including Carrie Ballek and Tracy Dejonge. Having lunch at the Sigal Museum with many new and old friends was a special treat, followed by some time in the historic First U.C.C., which served as a hospital during the Revolution. Although I was too tired to stay for the parade which include the famous Clydesdale horses, I came home with a truckload of happy thoughts and touching memories. I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling since!






Celebrating Easton Farmers' Market's 265th and Easton in the Valley
Celebrating Easton Farmers' Market's 265th and Easton in the Valley
Book Launch at the Bachmann Publick House
Book Launch at the Bachmann Publick House
With Sarah, Tracy, Carrie (DAR friends) and the Colonel
With Sarah, Tracy, Carrie (DAR friends) and the Colonel

By rebeccapricejanney, Jul 6 2017 06:02PM

You can imagine my excitement as this weekend approaches, and I prepare for the formal launch of my new novel, Easton in the Valley. On Saturday morning I’ll be appearing at the 265th birthday celebration of Easton’s Farmers’ Market, which is the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in the country. Just think, this market started the same year Easton was founded under the supervision of the Penn brothers and their agent, William Parsons, in 1752. The market is a place in which my ancestors shopped and visited with one another from the very dawning of this winsome city. What an honor for me to represent them this Saturday when I share my new book with the public and give a brief presentation in the Great Square at 11:30!


In the evening, the Sigal Museum/Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society will host a literary tea featuring three authors, myself and my friends Jeff Finegan and Richard Hope. Jeff will be discussing his children’s books about George Washington, and Richard will share from his several volumes about Easton history. Of course I will be talking about my new novel, the second in my Easton Series with Elk Lake Publishing. Built in 1753 by Jacob Bachmann and his wife, the stone tavern is located at the corner of Northampton and Second Streets and was a place where business and politics intersected for many early Easton residents. It often served as a venue for the courts before the courthouse itself was built in 1766, and some of the most famous people who stayed there included four signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams, William Ellery, William Whipple, and Easton’s own George Taylor, who once owned the tavern. The Bachmann is open to the public for tours, including Heritage Day, and there’s a museum located inside dedicated to the culture of the Lenni Lenape. Many of my friends who make up the Bachmann Public Players do engaging colonial dinner theater productions in which Easton’s history and people come to life. You can be sure the Bachmann makes a few appearances in my Easton books!


On Sunday, the ninth, Easton’s biggest festival of the year commences with Heritage Day, which was first celebrated during the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976. Easton is one of three places in which the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly, on July 8, 1776, and every year now, the city commemorates this rich legacy on the Sunday closest to July 8th with an interfaith service, town crier competition, a historic parade to the Great Square, the reading of the Declaration, music, pageants, activities for kids, tours, reenactors, lots of vendors, and fireworks at the Forks of the Delaware. I understand the famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be coming this year. Oh, and let’s not forget an appearance by Colonel Kichline, one of the two main characters in my Easton series. I’ll have the honor of marching with him to the Great Square for the Declaration of Independence.


I look forward to sharing the joy of this festive weekend with many of you! For more information go to http://heritageday.org/music-event-schedule/.



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