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Founding Fathers appear in Huntington

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DINNER FUNDRAISER: Guests who attended the dinner fundraiser on Monday night sponsored the program Founding Fathers, Together Again! which was free for the community to attend on Tuesday night at Huntington University. Alexander Hamilton impersonator Ian Rose addresses the group of supporters in the LaFontaine Center Ballroom.
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FOUNDING FATHERS: Huntington resident and Theodore Roosevelt interpreter Gib Young introduces Ian Rose,a classically trained actor who has performed as Hamilton for the past 12 years, at a fundraiser dinner on Monday which supported a free program for the community at Huntington University on Tuesday night.
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DOOR PRIZE: Sam Garcia of Huntington was the recipient of James Madison reenactor, Kyle Jenks’s, door prize at Monday night’s fundraiser dinner.JenkspresentedGarcia with a printed copy of the Constitution.

by James Ehle - jehle@h-ponline.com

Donors from across Huntington gathered for a fundraising dinner in the LaFontaine Center on Monday to provide an educational opportunity for students and the community alike.

Mayor Brooks Fetters introduced Founding Father impersonators Ian Rose (as Alexander Hamilton) and Kyle Jenks (as James Madison) to dinner guests.

Fetters thanked the donors who sponsored tables at the dinner for their investment in bringing the impersonators to the community for the sake of education. The Founding Fathers, Together Again! event Tuesday night was made possible through their contributions.

“Thank you for the investment you’ve made in the lives of our citizens,” said Fetters.

Rose and Jenks as Hamilton and Madison, respectively, stopped at several HCCSC schools on Monday and Tuesday to speak with students in character as the historical figures.

Mayor Fetters thanked Huntington University for investing heavily in the event and opening Zurcher Auditorium in the Merillat Center for the Arts to the community for Tuesday night’s special program.

Members from the audience had the opportunity to speak with the impersonators both as themselves and in character.

“Are you asking Kyle or James Madison?” said Jenks when asked his thoughts on the community of Huntington. “Being in a community that appreciates the importance of the founding principles, it’s very clear to me that this community has been nurtured by its representatives in such a way that is very heartening to a gentleman who portrays who is known as the father of the Constitution.”

Rose corrected Mayor Fetters to a room full of laughs when Fetters accidentally addressed him as “Mr. Hamilton”, saying “it’s actually General Hamilton, just saying.” Rose said he enjoys responding to questions from the audience as General Hamilton as well as addressing topics as a scholar.

“I think people have an appreciation for both sorts of interaction,” said Rose.

Jenks used the imagery to describe the process of writing the Constitution.

“It was always hard. It was always long,” Jenks said. “Sometimes I compare it to an obstacle course and not a 110 meter sprint over a bunch of hurdles. Every time we climbed a 10-foot wall and turned the corner there was another 10-foot wall to climb.”

Rose hopes the program will bring a new perspective to the Founding Fathers in relation to the current political climate.

“Very often people get the assumption that the Founding Fathers acted as one, and of course they didn’t. There were bitter disagreements all along the way,” Rose said. “And given the challenges we see in our own day and our own political landscape, it’s heartening to know that we’ve suffered disagreements in the past and managed to get past them.”

Huntington resident Gib Young, who is a nationally renowned interpreter of Theodore Roosevelt, introduced the Founders at the public event on Tuesday night. He gave special thanks to Mayor Fetters and members of the committee who organized the Constitution Day event.

Young was part of Huntington’s 2018 Constitution Day program, “Rushmore Live!” in the company of reenactors as Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

The Founding Fathers, Together Again! event featuring the Alexander Hamilton and James Madison impersonators was organized to commemorate the 171st anniversary of the establishment of the City of Huntington which falls on Constitution Day, Sept. 17.