Reflections from Thoreau Weekend at Congaree National Park – April 22- 23, 2017

Videos from Thoreau Celebration at Congaree National Park on April 22, 2017 are on our Facebook page

Reflections from Thoreau Weekend

Thanks to all of you for making the Earth Day Weekend at Congaree a success. Even the rain, that was originally predicted for all day Sunday, held off until our last Thoreau Celebration Walk was completed Sunday, April 23.

I am including some of the comments from park guests who attended the various sessions:

Concerning the Living History Walks: “Impressive.” “A great experience.” “I loved the high school students.” “I loved the costumes.” “You are really looking dapper today (in your 19th century clothes)!”

“I was on the first Living History Walk. After it was finished, I saw Chris (Mathews ) coaching the students on the next performance.” “Chris is a teacher at his best!”

“I learned a lot about Thoreau that I never knew. I went home yesterday and told my family.”

“I am going to read Walden again.”

“You have to hand it to the Dreher High School student actors. Doing this as unpaid volunteers shows their real love (of theatre). To come out here to Congaree after taking a college entrance test is really amazing. We can’t thank them enough.”

“All of the students showed talent.” “The young man who played Thoreau (Daniel Hanlin) is a talented actor. He should continue to pursue acting.” “I liked the sincere, young man who played the brother, John Thoreau (Bryson Stakely).” “The girls (Mia Jones, Javia Belton, Sydney Largent) were wonderful.”

“I came here thinking today thinking what does Thoreau have to do with South Carolina or the Congaree? After the history walk, I don’t have any questions. He is an important American.”

Concerning the 19th century music sessions: “Amazing.” “So beautiful.” “I wish that my mother was here to hear this.” “I grew up with a little record-player and many of those melodies I remember from my past.”

“I walked away crying when it was over.”

The best non-verbal reaction was three young girls breaking into an interpretive ballet-like dance in reaction to the outside music session.

Another non-verbal reaction: Three international students from Spain gave great applause after each musical piece.

Concerning the SC Native American presentation by Michael Iron Horse Matthews:

“I don’t want to go home!” “Can he do it again?”

“He is a spiritual person.” “A real South Carolina treasure.”

“Have him come back again, please.”

Concerning the Thoreau and Literacy Table, “I love the Thoreau quiz questions.” “I want another… and another.” “Give me another one!” “I want to give a donation to Turning Pages (Greater Columbia Literacy).”

Funniest comment of the weekend:

“Oh. Abraham Lincoln at the park,” after seeing the large poster image (a daguerreotype or early photograph) of Henry David Thoreau.

In short, it was an unforgettable weekend at Congaree.

Thanks again.

John Myers

There were several events that celebrated Thoreau. The Columbia Star has a list of activities and events on their webpage.

Dreher drama students performing the Living History (part of this which was written by John Myers and directed by Chris Mathews) chronicling key parts of Thoreau’s life will be presented along the boardwalk at three different times at Congaree National Park on 4/22/2017 (Earth Day) at 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm.

More information on the Thoreau Weekend at Congaree National Park on 4/22-23/2017 can be found on the Thoreau Society webpage.

To find out directions and details for the Congaree National Park visit their website. You can go directly to the directions page.