Lincoln Presenter Coming To A Computer Near You

Jul 10, 2020

Creativity is not taking a back seat to COVID-19. Some performances are happening with the use of the technology. An Illinois history group is joining in on the fun.

The Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition will virtually host: “Lincoln, The Great Communicator.”

Sarah Watson is the executive director of Looking for Lincoln and the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. She said seven shows will take place live. Partner communities will host them on their Facebook pages.

Photo of George Buss, Sarah Watson and senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.
Credit Photo provided by George Buss

They feature Lincoln presenter George Buss and musician Chris Vallillo.

“George will be doing his performance from his house in Freeport. Chris Vallillo will be in his studio in Macomb,” Watson said. “And we are working in each of those communities and particularly Freeport -- we're working with their Convention and Visitors Bureau.”

Watson explained that the bureau will help with local marketing.

“And then we're doing some marketing to broaden that scope,” she said.

Watson shared what viewers can expect.

“Chris Vallillo, as a musician, will perform period music from [the] Lincoln era and it will be interspersed and carefully planned to fit with dialogue that we will hear from Lincoln,” she explained. “And the whole point of this is to talk about the significance of communication during Lincoln's time, and to show how important music was as part of that communication.”

She said dialogue is needed these days, and these shows can help.

“I think that the Lincoln story, with the emancipation and the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln stance, gives us that foundation in history to have what could be a relevant conversation now,” she said.

Watson said the coalition does a lot of programming with the youth.

“So, we see an opportunity now for us to really strengthen and continue our youth programming using Lincoln not as somebody up on a pedestal,” she said. “But as that human being who showed that one person can make a difference and change things.”

Freeport will host the first performance, which will take place on July 15. Other partnering cities include Decatur, Ottawa, Pontiac, Lincoln, Mahomet and Carthage.

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It’s a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.