background flag Cart 2 white small Mail white small Twitter white small Facebook white small

Welcome to my blog


By Rebecca Price Janney, Sep 1 2017 02:21PM

By Guest Blogger Christopher Black

(Two weeks ago my friend Christopher Black wrote about the Bachmann Players, who perform colonial dinner theater in Easton, Pennsylvania’s historic Bachmann Public House. Now that we know more about the B.P., I’ve asked him to introduce us to the men and women who make up this fascinating troupe.)

The Players themselves are an interesting bunch. They are very involved in the community, which always makes scheduling rehearsals and performances a challenge. It is however, an honor and a compliment that people who have so much going on in their lives make the commitment to do Bachmann Player shows.

Two frequent players are Michael Hollingsworth and Bob Thena.Michael has played Easton’s Founder William Parsons in two separate productions. Likewise, Bob Thena has done the same with Jacob Bachmann. It’s interesting to see the actors develop the personas of men who represent Easton in 1752 at its founding, then only three years later at the sudden outbreak of the French and Indian war when Easton was almost abandoned for fear of a massacre.

David Rose is Easton’s official town crier and has played a nice variety of roles, from the Theophilus Shannon, who ran the Bachmann Tavern for George Taylor, to the arrogant and aloof Thomas Penn and the blood thirsty preacher-turned-Indian killer, John Elder. David is a Quaker and has been generous with his time in helping me begin to understand Quakerism, which is of course a huge part of the history of Pennsylvania.

My family has kicked in as well with my wife often playing small roles, supervising the food and serving and stage management. She also oversees our web site’s graphic design and publicity. Her brother Doug Burton has played Easton’s Ferrymann in two productions, and Paul Strikwerda, who is a professional voice over actor, has graced us with renditions of Thomas Paine, Conrad Weiser, and the Moravian story teller William Edmunds.

The support and enthusiasm of the players really keep the project going.

Although I often portray Benjamin Franklin, I think the role I personally enjoy the most is actually “director.” There’s something almost magical about floating in and out of the piece, weaving its creation. Being the author, as well as an actor in the production, allows for a deep familiarity with the material. When it gets to the point in the process when I am able to work with other individuals to add their creativity and talents to the pot, that is where the whole thing really takes off. I believe I enjoy the after-tone of a true collaborative moment of creativity, even more than the applause of an engaged audience.

Some of the 2017 Bachmann Players
Some of the 2017 Bachmann Players

By Rebecca Price Janney, 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
RSS Feed

Web feed