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Mayor's Office

2005 Media Releases

January 27, 2005
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831

Related Links:
Lincoln Institute for Education, Inc.
Poster 128K - PDF
Event Program 792K - PDF
2004 Event Photos
Robert Trentham

Plans Announced for City's Fifth Annual Abraham Lincoln Birthday Celebration

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced plans for the City’s fifth annual Abraham Lincoln Celebration from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, February 20, at North Star High School. The Celebration is free to the public and will feature two performances on the main stage:

  • At 2:30 p.m., tenor Robert Trentham and pianist Richard Pearson Thomas will present “In Thinking of America - Songs of the Civil War.”
  • At 4:30 p.m., Fritz Klein and Joyce Browning will perform as President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln in a program called “Farewell from Springfield.” The pair performed together at the 2004 Celebration, and Klein also performed in 2002.

“This Celebration has become a tradition for many families in the area,” said Mayor Seng. “Because Lincoln is the largest city in the world to be named for Lincoln, it is important that we observe his birthday by learning more about his accomplishments and about the times in which he lived. We promise an educational and entertaining afternoon.”

Mayor Seng thanked the community donors who make it possible to offer the event free to the public. A volunteer steering committee headed by Cleve Reeves of Bahr Vermeer and Haecker has planned the Celebration. Producers are the City of Lincoln and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“In Thinking of America” combines letters, speeches and social commentary of the Civil War with songs from the era. The program was inspired by the lives of Trentham’s ancestors. Through research, he was able to identify 30 ancestors who had fought on both sides of the war. The California-based singer has recorded a CD entitled “Epitaph - A Collection of Civil War Songs.” Songs from that recording have been selected for The Civil War Experience™, a new reference CD-ROM developed by SouthPeak Interactive™ in conjunction with The History Channel® and the Civil War Preservation Trust®. Trentham has sung with regional theater and opera companies throughout the U.S. and has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Philadelphia Academy of Music. More information is available at

Browning is from Charleston, West Virginia and has been portraying Mary Todd Lincoln since 1996. Klein lives in Springfield, Illinois and has been portraying President Lincoln since 1976. He is considered by many to be one of the nation’s foremost Lincoln actors, appearing in 35 states for film and television, on stage and as a motivational speaker. More information is available at

Also on the schedule:

  • Children can enjoy toys, games and crafts from noon to 6 p.m., with storytelling by Virginia Opocensky scheduled for 1 and 1:30 p.m.
  • The Smith Family Band from Hastings will be back for its fourth year to perform Civil War era music for re-enactors and the public to dance starting at noon.
  • Those dressing as President Lincoln can enter the “Impersonators Contest” by registering at the information desk at North Star. Judging is at 1:30 p.m.
  • A Birthday Party begins at 2 p.m. and includes a mayoral proclamation and awards for the Impersonators Contest.
  • Lincoln musician Chris Sayre will play folk and traditional music in the commons area from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m.

A variety of Abraham Lincoln exhibits will be on display, and area Civil War re-enactors in authentic uniforms will mingle with the crowd and answer questions. Those attending are encouraged to wear costumes from the era. Refreshments and souvenirs will be available.

For more information, see the City Web site at

Mayor's Office    Media Releases