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Colton prepares to share Stories of a Town on stage

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COLTON - The 1940s and World War II in particular—as relayed by town of Colton veterans, family members and others—underpin the two-part Radio Hour shows being performed at Colton-Pierrepont Central School at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

During Part 1—Stories of a Town—of each performance showgoers will learn about the era based upon real-life experiences and recollections. During Part 2 the audience will be treated to the stage performance of The 1940’s Radio Hour written by Walton Jones and directed by Karen Wells of Grasse River Players.

Stories of a Town, written by Bill Riehl with Mary Jane Watson as the historical consultant, draws upon oral histories done by Ms. Watson and other members of the Colton Historical Society as well as students at Colton-Pierrepont Central School. They also used materials from the Colton Museum and private collections. Mr. Riehl says everyone attending and participating in the show will receive a copy of the Radio Hour Show Program & Historical Guide, which includes snippets of information along with photos about being ‘in the service’ and ‘on the homefront’ in Colton during the 1940s. He believes although it is based in Colton the stories will be familiar to people throughout the north country.

“The oral history project continues after the show. We want to keep learning and collecting historic materials for publications and other uses. During the show the names of Colton veterans who served during World War II will be read; and we’ve found photographs and newspaper stories for about half of them,” Ms. Watson said.

Anyone with photographs or other historic information about Colton veterans can meet with Ms. Watson right before each show. She will have a scanner set up on site at the school to capture photographs, news stories, and other material people wish to contribute to the Colton Historical Society.

This is the second year in a row that the three producing organizations—Colton Historical Society, Colton-Pierrepont Central School and Grasse River Players—have combined their interests to learn about a particular time period in the history of Colton and to perform a show about the era.

After successfully coming together in 2012 to produce Evelyn Riehl’s Sunday Rock—The Folk Musical, the three organizations are committed to pursuing annual collaborative and intergenerational projects of historical, theatrical and educational interest to all three organizations. The continuing collaboration is referred to as The Sunday Rock Legacy Project. Copies of the program/guide from 2012 will be available in the lobby of the auditorium during shows for people interested in learning about life along the Raquette River in 1912 as well as the significance of the town’s landmark Sunday Rock. Over time the organizations seek to incorporate knowledge and products developed through the annual project into educational materials for use by school teachers and students as well as historical organizations.

About half the $15,000 cost of the 2013 Sunday Rock Legacy Project is being covered by many businesses, organizations, families and individuals contributing in advance to make the show possible including three Major Sponsors—Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, Canton-Potsdam Hospital and the Grasseroots Fund. The other half needs to be covered by ticket sales. Also during the shows commemorative shirts will be available to purchase.

Tickets can be purchased at the door before each of the four shows or in advance at four outlets: Northern Music and Video, 29 Market St. in Potsdam; The TAUNY Center, 53 Main St. in Canton; Colton Information Center at Stone Valley in the Museum at 95 Main St. in the hamlet of Colton; and the Raquette River Information Center on state Highway 56 in the hamlet of South Colton across from the Post Office. Tickets also can be requested by calling Scott Muller (315-244-9956) or be sending an e-mail message to sundayrock@localnet.com.

Anyone wishing more information about the show can call Ruth McWilliams (315-262-2450) or check the town website (www.townofcolton.com) and The Sunday Rock Legacy Project page on Facebook.

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