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Waiting in the Wings: Voices from the Past

We are excited to announce this year's featured Kankakee County community members for our upcoming "Voices from the Past" Cemetery Walk. It's always a fun project to sift through our area's history and learn more about the people that were a part of its early years. There are so many who contributed to our County's formation and creation, its rise, its triumphs, its failures and falls, and to learn about the legacies they all left behind. We hope the community will join us at this year's "Voices from the Past" Cemetery Walk. View the slideshow below to see a preview about each historical community member.

Each of these historical community members will be portrayed by a Kankakee Valley Theatre Association actor. Here is a brief biography about each actor, as well as something they found interesting about their community member as they prepared for their role.

Anna Radeke portrayed by Jeanne Benson ~ Jeanne has been an active member in KVTA for many years, and she will serve as the vocal director for the upcoming production of Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, Jr. Jeanne would like to know more about why Anna never left home or married. She finds her to be an enigma.

Henry Pope, Sr. portrayed by Joel Knapper ~ Joel is currently serving as the Vice President for KVTA, and he has portrayed many different members in our previous Voices from the Past events. Joel finds Henry to be intriguing because he met and became friends with Franklin Roosevelt before his presidency.

Joseph Tolson, Sr. portrayed by Bill Yohnka ~ Bill co-hosts the WKAN Morning Show and is the Community Engagement Specialist for Kankakee School District 111. As one of the volunteer organizers for the Merchant Street Music Fest, he is intrigued to play a character who helped to organize musicians and bands in our community a century ago.

Leslie Small portrayed by Richard Stenzinger ~ Richard is a CPA at Smith, Koelling, Dykstra & Ohm, P.C. This is his second portrayal for Voices from the Past. He proclaims, "Extra! Extra! Come hear all about Leslie Small! The builder of the Small family newspaper empire."

Mabel Small McKinstry portrayed by Rhonda Stenzinger ~ Rhonda is an active member of the board of directors for KVTA, and she has directed several noteworthy productions. She notes that Mabel loved farmers, rhubarb, and apple pie, and she now rests among the Stars.

Maria Bonfield portrayed by Bonnie Brewer ~ Bonnie is a French teacher at Kankakee High School. This is not Bonnie's first time as an actor for the cemetery walk as she portrayed Mrs. Cobb in our first year of this great event! She will be sure to bring a lot of character to the story of Maria Bonfield.

Richard Dewey portrayed by Dave Atkinson ~ Dave has been involved with KVTA since shortly after moving to the area in 2009. He has driven around the Shapiro grounds several times, but knew very little of its considerable history and Mr. Dewey's pioneering role in mental illness treatment.

Click on the picture below to view more information about this event on Facebook.

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