Groups offer multi-faceted Lincoln celebration

Nick Stroman

Drama students from Washington Community High School are playing a large role in Thursday night’s Abraham Lincoln celebration at Five Points Washington.

“Celebrating Lincoln Today in Portraits Past” will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Five Points.

Anna Oxborrow teaches drama, speech and English at WCHS and said she was approached last year by organizers about putting together a project for the community centered around Lincoln’s 200th birthday.

“From there, it evolved into having several different groups from the high school and creating a multi-faceted production with food, art and performance of both music and drama,” Oxborrow said.

Oxborrow said while her students have had daily rehearsals for their three Lincoln vignettes during their advanced drama class since February, she has been involved off and on since September.

WCHS chorus and the Civil War dancers will also entertain the crowd in between acts.

The celebration is a collaborative effort between WCHS, Washington Historical Society, Washington Park District and Washington’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Committee.

Oxborrow said the production has really enriched her students’ knowledge about where they are growing up.

“My students have had a chance to dive into the city of Washington’s history concerning some of its first settlers and their dealings and relationships with Lincoln. Often, students don’t get the chance to learn about the place where they live,” Oxborrow said.

Oxborrow said she thinks the community will find it interesting just how much the 16th President of the United States was tied to the community and where he spent most of his most influential campaigning days.

“The fact that some of it started right here in Washington is just amazing. As often as we go into Holland’s Mercantile to get candy and sodas and such, we don’t think about it being a place where Lincoln plotted his road to the White House,” Oxborrow said.

“Now when I go in there, I am constantly aware that Abe Lincoln walked there,” she added.

One of the organizers’ goals for Thursday’s celebration is to raise enough money to eventually put up a plaque in Holland’s Mercantile recognizing Lincoln’s time spent there.

Oxborrow said this entire semester has been focused on the basics of directing for her drama students, and they have been able to take what they learned and add to it for their Lincoln performances.

“The students are doing a great job and I am very impressed with what they have done and applying the basic principles of directing to their scenes. They have such creativity to bring to the show,” Oxborrow said.

Oxborrow added Carol Wilson’s foods classes have been prepping by practicing baking Lincoln’s favorite cake for the event’s reception, and Jayme Mason’s art classes will have artwork on display celebrating his life.

“Ticket sales are going a little slow right now, simply because I don’t think too many people realize this event is getting ready to take place. I expect that as the posters and banners go up, more people will have a desire to attend,” Oxborrow said.

“Washington has a very rich history regarding Lincoln that, in the past, has been buried and gone unnoticed by many of its citizens, including myself,” Oxborrow added.

Tickets for Thursday’s “Celebrating Lincoln Today in Portraits Past” event are $5 for adults and $3 for students and are available at the door or by visiting www.fivepointswashington.org.