Opening Portals to the Past
The following portrayals include a wide variety of participant inclusions. While in period dress, numerous objects are used by the character to suggest normal activities of the period while giving historically accurate and authentic presentations.
Characters typically are in first person with accents when appropriate but can be modified as requested. Drama, interaction, humor and surprise are all part of the experience. I try to bring as much reality as I can to these presentations regarding their strengths and weaknesses and how the dynamics of political, social and family issues impacted lives.
I prefer to interact with crowds when possible and select individuals, when appropriate, to assist. Each presentation incorporates principals of character while challenging the listener to see his/her life as a significant part of today’s history. A goal of every presentation is to inspire the desire to make a difference in our world, one person at a time. I have not included all portrayals but list these as representative presentations. More details of each characterization or program available upon request.
Musical Instruments, some of which I have made and some period vintage, can include: 6-string acoustic and classical guitar, 4-string tenor guitar (including slide and bottle-neck styles) lap dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy, autoharp, Celtic harp, banjo, harmonica, penny whistle, recorder, washboard, bones, Irish bodhrun, tambourine, African calimba, African talking drum, ukulele, jaw-harp, hammer dulcimer, limberjack, mouth bow, lyre, Dobro, bowl-back mandolin and fiddle. Oh- and my body for buck dancing/clogging, French Canadian seat tapping and ham-bone rhythm slapping. (Some programs include even more additional varied cultural instruments from around the world).
All programs are modified to your group's specifications. Due to staging, array of artifacts, equipment and materials used, the following programs can be quite elaborate requiring unique sets, stages and environments indoors or outside. These can be as extensive as an authentic tent site with a wide range of period tools and rotating stations facilitating hands-on demonstrations, including firing weapons, all day or weekend for hundreds of participants. Yet they may only require simply two 6’ tables for a 30 min. program or even a "walk-about" where Lamar can meander throughout your event playing music and/or demonstrating on the spot.
Length of programs vary, as well. Many programs, day or evening, are typically 45 min. with a 15 min. Q&A. The options are numerous depending on your venue!
Travel/Accommodations: Distances beyond a 50 mile radius from Richmond, Va. may need to include travel expenses. Events that require overnight and/or airline expenses will need to be included in the pricing.
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A Turn of the Century . All aboard and get ready for a trip you won't soon forget! What would it be like to experience the Turn of a Century? You're in one right now! Few folks realize how significant were the changes that occurred for the US on the World Stage during the 20th century- and how they impact our own "Turn". This fast-paced program
the bar for future expeditions into the beautiful unknown interior of the west.
(See slide show: Trailblazers and Mountain Men)
Peter Cartwright: Frontier Circuit Preacher: Saddle-up for this surprising and inspiring look at the great perseverance, bravery and challenges that faced this unique breed of men of the cloth and the impact this calling had upon the families and America's religious heritage. (For more details see slide show: Circuit Riders)
Jedediah Strong Smith: Mountain man and trailblazer, his is a fascinating story of a courageous, independent and deeply spiritual explorer during the “Shinin’Times” of the great western fur trapping and exploration period. You will discover his amazing wilderness survival after having multiple broken bones, wounds and his scalp and ear torn off from a grizzly attack. He blazed trails for western settlers through the mountains and deserts to California. (See slide show: Trailblazers and Mountain Men)
John Clarke-Plymouth Sailor: Very unique and intriguing perspective of a common sailor in uncommon circumstances with courage and response to a moment in history as he rescued a crew of leaders in a boating incident that would have otherwise changed history. Hear his observations of the Pilgrims. This program, as with the following one, has a number of objects used throughout the presentation. He later was involved with the landing of the Jamestown party. (See slide show: Sea Farers and Pirates/ Merchants, Planters and Pioneers)
Henry Spelman- Man of Two Cultures: Experience this remarkable story of a young misfit boy who ran away from his home in England, was exchanged by John Smith with Powhatan Indians to learn of their cultures, was nearly killed by the tribe- but was later considered unfit to live with the settlers due to their influences upon him! This man without-a-country has a surprising and heart-rending story to tell and full of adventure and challenge. (See slide show: Sea Farers and Pirates)
John Howard- Plymouth Settler: Interesting story of this settlement and religious experiment from the viewpoint of a founding Dissenter as he traces their miraculous journey from Europe to the New World. Similar to some of John Clarke’s story from a different perspective. (See slide show: Merchants, Planters and Pioneers)
Our Nation Divided: You've only seen the half of it! In his outrageous half-Yank; half-Reb character, Lamar's remarkable jam-packed presentation will share the big picture helping you experience the life of the soldier from boredom to battle, prisons to hospitals and everything in between. You can handle the articles and documents they used, tap your feet and sing along with the music of several instruments, experience demonstrations and fascinating stories of the men and women, slave and free, from the home front to the front lines unlike anything you've ever seen. This powerful presentation has been a popular choice for all ages. (See slide show: Our Nation Divided)
Joseph the Carpenter: What would it have been like to speak with Jesus’ step-father? This portrayal is a very heartwarming and interesting view from a father’s heart in the carpenter’s shop while working with numerous actual tools and making items. Wonderful anytime but great at Christmas and Easter, too. (For more details see slide show: Joseph the Carpenter)
St. Nicolas: The legendary man of miracles, faith and courage brings you from a wealthy youth, the death of his parents to imprisonment and escape through his spiritual journey to become the youngest bishop. Additional historic background is traced on how his legend becomes the Santa Claus of our modern history. (See slide show: The Shepherds)
St. Patrick: Amazing and inspiring story of forgiveness, courage, miracles, faith and tender strength from riches to rags as a young shepherd slave to a pioneering priest in a harsh and hostile land. Learn surprising details of the life of a shepherd. (See slide show: The Shepherds)
St. Francis of Assisi: Inspiring story told from a young wealthy Crusader who forsook everything to become a humble monk who shook the foundations of the church with love. A great Christmas story as the creator of the crèche or “living manger”. “Teach always and, if you must, use words!” (See slide show: The Shepherds)
St. John the Apostle: Moving story of strength, courage and love as told by “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. A heart-felt perspective of an insider’s view from Jesus’ “inner circle”. (See slide show: The Shepherds)
A Shepherd’s View of The 23 Psalm: Fascinating personal viewpoint of this psalm viewed from the life of a shepherd as reflected in the scriptures. Numerous objects of the trade are used and demonstrated to reveal the surprising use of the shepherd’s life to illustrate this favorite psalm. (See slide show: The Shepherds)
Tracing Virginia Roots Music: Newly developed, fast-paced program tracking the roots of what will arguably become the birthplace of American entertainment! Remarkable histories and stories of various forms of music/instruments that came to the New World and demonstrating how these combine to form our unique national blend. Numerous instruments displayed- some personally crafted by Lamar.
The History of Music: Reminiscent of the old Chautauqua-style event, this sometimes tongue-in-cheek presentation offers a musical walk through history of almost 20 musical instruments, some made by Banister's own hand.
Wild West Medicine Show: Hold on to yer saddles as you take a wild and exciting ride through a combination of the medicine show pitch doctor and Wild West Show routines actually taken from the Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Shows. A brief and fascinating history precedes the show. Sets and demonstrations include razor-sharp, flaming tomahawk/knife throwing and juggling- up to four at one time- (rarely seen anywhere!) Throwing skills include blind throws, trick shots-backwards with a mirror (that made Annie Oakley famous), bull whip skills, lasso, music on several instruments, buck dancing, lots of humor and even a tongue-in-cheek powder flash tintype picture is taken! (See slide show: Wild West Medicine Show)
Deck the Halls: A Musical History of Christmas Carols: Tap your foot, and take a jolly journey back to the first carol as Lamar (decked in Victorian era costume) plays favorite holiday tunes through the ages. Enjoy hearing some of the fascinating stories behind these beloved songs while experiencing the sounds of the season played on a wide variety of unique musical instruments, some antique, some hand made. (Please see "Musical Instruments" section above). This musical montage is the perfect crowd-pleaser for all ages and certain to put any audience in the holiday spirit for a memorable festive event. (See slide show: Deck the Halls)
The Shoemaker's Dream: Leo Tolstoy's powerful heart-warming story of a gentle old cobbler's Christmas Eve dream that Jesus would come to visit him on Christmas Day. He helps several needy peasants throughout the day while expectantly awaiting, to be tenderly surprised by day's end that He had come to him all day in the person of those in need! This program is a real favorite at holiday season! (See slide show: Merchants, Planters and Pioneers)
A Day-in-the-Life of … What would it have been like to be a settler, pioneer, soldier? This very elaborate rotational set stages “stations” through which a moving audience can step in or out at any time. The actual demonstrations are approx. 20-30 min. and can include: fence-rail splitting, log notching, shingle splitting, water brigades for fire, wood shaving bench for spokes and legs for a three leg milking stool, brace-n-bit, flint-n-steel fire, use of many authentic carpentry tools, always musical instruments, cooking, hunting with muzzle-loader, rope, hawk and knife throwing skills, etc. Topics include: social life, family life, religion, medicine, travel, work, education, tools and weapons.
The Workin’ Man : Various depictions of trades according the choice of the audience that can include the factory worker, iron worker, carpenter, lumberjack, (most are informed through Lamar's personal experience) around the late 1800s to turn of the century.