News Column

'Voices of Elmwood' returns

September 10, 2013


Sept. 10--Many attend "Voices of Elmwood" each year, leaving with only their memory of the stories. Soon, they will be able to take the stories with them.

"Voices of Elmwood 2012," a documentary, will premiere at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, 122 E. Second St. The event is free and open to the public.

The science museum and Daviess County Public Library began "Voices of Elmwood" in 2008. It features 10 local actors portraying deceased people with notable stories who are buried at Elmwood Cemetery. After months of research, writers assume the voices of real people and retell their stories based on real events. They find 10 new stories each year.

Wagons carry viewers to the graves, where the actors recite monologues. Tent shows are also available.

The Hawesville-based Firelight Entertainment Group produced the film, which features the 2012 season. Firelight founder J. Laine Nunn and her daughter, Rachael Nunn, the film's operations manager, attended "Voices of Elmowood" last year.

"We were so impressed with the quality of the presentations that we immediately thought, 'We have to film this,'" J. Laine Nunn said. "It's a history of Owensboro that we don't want to lose."

Firelight will film this year's event and there are plans to produce a documentary every year. The museum is also open to suggestions for new stories.

Kathy Olson, executive director at the science museum, said she loved the idea. The museum had been planning to publish a coffee table book of the research collected over the years. The book will likely be released as part of the museum's celebration of the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans in 2015, Olson said.

"Even if you went to the event, there may be details you missed, so the film has added another way to document it," she said. "It's compelling, exciting and can reach a lot of people."

The DVD also includes interviews with Olson; Todd Reynolds, program director at the museum and producer of the event; Leslie Byrne McCarty and Sue Berry, librarians and researchers; and Bob Hancock and Mary Royce, the youngest brother and daughter of Girtie Roy Hancock Jr., a featured race car driver who died in a crash at age 21 in 1938, before his daughter was born.

J. Laine Nunn said she hopes people will gain an appreciation for Daviess County after seeing the film.

"So much of the Hollywood stories seem very distant and larger-than-life, but there are fascinating stories right here," she said. "I think a lot of independent films are going in the direction of highlighting local stories that might not be sensational enough for Hollywood, but they touch us all here."

The documentary will be available for $27.95 at the premiere and will be carried at the museum's gift shop.

"Voices of Elmwood" wagon tours last about an hour and will run every 30 minutes from 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 3-5 and 10-12 at Elmwood Cemetery, 1300 Old Hartford Road. Tent shows will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 17-19, with wagon tours to follow every 30 minutes from 6:30 to 9 p.m. For more information or tickets, call 687-2732.


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