15th annual Voices of Elmwood returns in September

August 8, 2022 | 12:09 am

Updated August 8, 2022 | 12:16 am

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The 15th annual Voices of Elmwood returns in September, and tickets are on sale now. The performances tell stories of 10 people in Owensboro’s history, with the volunteer actors speaking to audiences while riding through Elmwood Cemetery on trailers with seatbacks.

New stories are added yearly, but sometimes audiences are surprised with an extra person or one connected to a story from past years. This year, a story relates to one from 2008.

“When boarding the wagons, about 15-20 minutes before we leave we talk about the rules and regulations and a presentation from a previous year to get them warmed up,” said Kathy Olson, CEO of the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.

OMSH partners with the Daviess County Public Library for these productions, while Carolyn Greer directs the actors in rehearsals for the tour.

The process of these stories takes a year to research, create, and complete. The group of researchers whittles the list of persons down to 15 in a preferred order, and then the writers choose which they want to take on. If necessary, they do make last-minute substitutions because of a story that is so special or relevant to the time.

“They need to have an attachment and an interest in the story,” Olson said. “A lot do independent research and become very attached to the character they are telling about. These stories are so compelling and are windows to the past.”

Olson said they almost always ask attendees if they had a favorite voice, and often there is one story that will resonate with a particular person.

“The stories are serious, tragic, funny, light-hearted, and heartbreaking,” she said of the variety chosen. “We include racially diverse people and really try to give representation to all. It is a community in the 19th century we are bringing back 10 at a time.”

By adding these stories yearly, returning visitors could have learned about close to 150 people from Owensboro’s history over the last 15 years of performances.

People travel to the Voices of Elmwood from neighboring states, and in the past a tour bus from Texas that came to the area would schedule a visit as well though Olson said the pandemic interrupted that. Olson hopes they return this year.

Ticket sales are open and performances take place every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from Sept. 15 through Oct. 1. Wagon rides leave every 10 minutes each evening and stop for each actor’s presentation. Rides begin at 6 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. The last weekend will not have a 6 p.m. wagon ride but will instead offer a tent show at that time for those that prefer not to ride on the wagon for various reasons.

August 8, 2022 | 12:09 am

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