West set to host High Plains Chautauqua event


Chautauqua comes alive at Greeley West High School on February 22.

Monte Finley, Staff Writer

History comes alive! Join High Plains Chautauqua, in collaboration with Greeley West,  for “Exploring the Unknown American West with Meriweather Lewis” on February 22 in the auditiorium.  Mr. Brian “Fox” Ellis is portraying the titular historical character as he recounts the character’s experiences in the famous Lewis and Clark expedition.

The expedition was part of the the Corps of Discovery in young America and Ellis will share stories about it.  More than that, learn the man behind the tales for what he was: a man, flaws and all.

Ellis is an acclaimed author who has published 16 books.  In addition, he has worked with The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  Ellis is actually from Illinois, where he and his wife run a Bed and Breakfast hotel.  Because of his speaking skills, he travels the country deliver Chautauqua presentations.

Ellis has developed more than a dozen Chautauqua chracters, including John James Audubon, Walt Whitman and Charles Darwin.   Chautauqua is an annual history-based event in which participants portray a historical figure based on a theme chosen in advance. Participants spend weeks, if not months, researching their character’s life to prepare their presentation and answer questions afterward. Those questions are answered both in character and as a historian.

Chautauqua also has a sub-program for students: Young Chautauqua. Chappelow has the most participants in Young Chautauqua annually, but French teacher Ms. Hilary Mathews is trying to change that.  She will be running a Young Chautauqua society this year to ready students for the May performances at AIMS Community College.

Cookies will be provided for the Greeley West event courtesy of Ms. Brenda Guzman’s catering classes. In addition, Greeley West Pegasus Choir members will perform during the reception.  High school and college students have free admission, but are asked to sign in regardless. Adults will be charged $20 unless they are the family member of a student.  They get in for $10.

For tickets and more information, check out the High Plains Chautauqua website.