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Series will feature a variety of performances that include ghost stories, orchestra music, meterorites and an appearance by Edgar Allen Poe

It may be called a lecture series, but perhaps the weekly October presentations planned for Bowman Museum should be called a performance series instead.

One week will feature a speaker portraying renowned poet Edgar Allen Poe, while another week will feature actual meteorites with an invitation to the audience to bring in any potential meteorites they have in their possession to find out if they are authentic. Another week will feature an orchestra music performance and yet another session will be devoted to ghost stories.

These weekly performances will make up the latest edition of the Saunders Memorial Lecture Series, a four-pack of weekly events scheduled every Thursday evening at the museum. The series is presented courtesy of Bowman Museum and the Friends of the Crook County Library. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the free, hour-long sessions begin at 6:30.

"What really stands out is the variance of the presentations," said Sandy Cohen, the museum's executive director.

Leading off the series on Thursday, Oct. 3 is Edgar Allen Poe, portrayed from start to finish by storyteller Alastair Morley Jaques. "An Evening with Mr. Edgar Allen Poe" is set in 1848 and the poet has arrived to deliver a thrilling recitation of some of his best-loved, bone-chilling tales of horror and heartbreak, murder, madness and the macabre.

"The interesting thing about him is he wants people to think he is Edgar Allen Poe, not Alastair Morley Jaques playing Edgar Allen Poe," Cohen said. "He is just going to be that character."

The following week will continue on a Halloween-type theme as local author Rick Steber presents "Ghost Town: Scary Stories." His presentation will include stories, prose and poems that are promised to be unusual, odd and sometimes downright scary. They are intended to appeal to the young and the young at heart.

"I don't know if he has ever done anything quite like this before," Cohen said of Steber, who has spoken at past museum lecture series. "I mentioned this Halloween theme and he jumped right on it." The next two sessions deviate from the Halloween theme, but will continue on the track of diverse performances. On Oct. 17, Melinda Hutson, curator of the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory at Portland State University, will present "Great Balls of Fire: Getting a Handle on Meteorites."

The session follows a previously canceled May lecture on meteorites, and though the speaker is different this time around, the idea behind the event is similar. Hutson will talk about asteroids, meteorites, fireballs and meteorites found in Oregon. She will have some meteorites on display at the session and encourages audience members who believe they have meteorites to bring them and identify what they are.

"I think it's important to do one on science," Cohen said. "I don't think we do that very often."

The series will close on Oct. 24 with "An Evening with the Bend Pops Orchestra." Tabbed as "the music one," by Cohen, the session will offer guests music from several small ensembles from the orchestra.

The focus on diversity in the Saunders series is intended to provide visitors with "edu-tainment," Cohen said, a combination of education and entertainment.

"This is kind of what fits the bill," he said, "people who do living history, characters and just performances that we are not necessarily used to."

Cohen believes that is the best way to maintain the popularity of, and interest in, the series. And if recent crowds are any indication, the approach is working. The sessions, with seating for around 100, are usually full and other times there is standing room only.

"I love this. It's one of my favorite parts of the job," he said. "I am very pleased with the crowd and the quality of the presenters what we have. It is really fun for everybody. I like it a lot."


The Saunders Memorial Lecture Series takes place at Bowman Museum every Thursday evening in October. The event is free. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the performances follow from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

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