Living History Performances

Gold intricate floral pattern borders on a dark green background, depicting traditional ornamental design inspired by Heritage Square, Oxnard.

Living History Performances by the Heritage Harmony Players

The following living history performances, fashion shows and historic talks are available through The Friends of Heritage Square.  These performances and talks can be scheduled at events at Heritage Square, or as Guest Speaker presentations at your event, at a location of your choice. Another option is to bring your event to Heritage Square for a luncheon or a tea. Payment is requested in the form of a Donation to the Friends of Heritage Square, Oxnard, and varies by program, depending on number of players in the program. Programs run from 30-60 minutes and can be customized per your group needs.

A woman in a pink Victorian dress and an ornate hat, viewed from behind, stands in front of a house with a classic wooden porch at Heritage Square, Oxnard.

Historic Presentations with 1 Presenter Stories of Old Oxnard and Ventura County

The Coming of the Automobile to Ventura County*
Stories of those newfangled horseless carriages, the people who drove them and the roads back in the early 1900s.

The Port of Hueneme: A Father and Son Legacy
The story of the development of the port, beginning in 1871 with Thomas Bard’s vision of a wharf to ship out local farmer’s crops. The story tells the ups and downs of the wharf, and son Richard Bard’s struggle to build his dream port which began with his father’s vision.

Tales of Early Oxnard
Frances Kaufman Petit tells how her family crossed the country in a wagon train on the Oregon Trail and settled on the Oxnard Plain. She tells what Oxnard was like in the Wild West days and how the coming of the Sugar Beet Factory changed everything. One of her favorite stories is how Oxnard got its name.

Tales of Early Oxnard and an Overview of Heritage Square
A combination of the two presentations above, Heritage Square from France Kaufman Petit’s point of view.

Oxnard in the 1920s: The New Hollywood
Celebrate life in the 1920s, with a bit of history, both local and national, leading up to the golden era and lifestyle of the times; including arts and culture, and prohibition.  Learn about the Hollywood connection to Oxnard, the development of three new beach communities, and some colorful characters who lived or visited here.

E.P. Foster – Rags to Riches in Ventura County*
Revisit 1921 when Mrs. Foster shares her memories of the trials and triumphs of life in early Ventura County at an event that honors the many gifts and contributions of the Foster family.

Living History Conversations with Multiple Characters, Local, National and Global stories (some with music)

NEW! Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage and Human Equality
New for 2020, we bring you the story of 3 generations of dynamic women who fought for suffrage for 72 years. The story unfolds to reveal loyalties, opposition, arrests, leading to a dramatic conclusion. The presentation includes an entertaining narrative, with articles and speeches read by 10 different voices, as well as audience participation and period music. Includes a slide show of photos and memorabilia.

A Visit with Lucy Levy: From Paris Society to Ventura County Humanitarian and 100 years of Family Banking
Lucy Levy was a Parisian socialite when a matchmaker introduced her to Achille Levy, a merchant from Hueneme, Ca. She tells of her journey to Ventura County and the surprises she found as she adjusted to pioneer life, as the wife of the first banker in “Sugar Town”, as well as her own civic contributions. Her stories begin in 1882 and move into the 20th century, through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression through the eyes of the family-owned Bank of A. Levy.

An Interview with Sarah Josepha Hale: “The Godmother of Thanksgiving” speaks on National Unity under a divisive political climate
Did you ever wonder how this uniquely American holiday got started? Sarah shares her passionate and unrelenting 40-year campaign to create a national day of Thanksgiving while the country was in the midst of the Civil War. This multimedia presentation uses quotes from her original writings and incorporates some traditional Thanksgiving tunes. Sarah’s story is an authentic representation of how a woman on a mission can get the job done!

A Meeting of the Edwardian Tea Society for Downton Abbey Fans and Fanatics
It’s 1913 and three women with different viewpoints speak about life in an English Manor. An aristocrat explains “How to Marry an English Lord”. The cook discusses “Life Below Stairs” and finally “A Modern Woman’s Viewpoint of Society Life”.

The Brandeis Sisters on Radio Station WCOR on Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis**
Justice Louis Brandeis made many important contributions to social justice, including the right to privacy and freedom of speech. Many of these issues are still debated today, especially income inequality and women’s rights. In this presentation, his daughters honor their father in a radio talk show on the occasion of the opening of Brandeis University in 1948.

Ernestine Louise Rose: A Celebration of Human Rights with Susan B. Anthony**
Susan B. Anthony hosts an event for Ernestine Louise Rose, who was a suffragist, women’s rights activist, and abolitionist. Ernestine shares her experiences and the attitudes of the time, in traveling throughout Europe and the United States. You are invited to attend the party in her honor!

Tea with the First Lady: The McKinley Family
Emma Perkins and Ida Saxton knew each other in Ohio as young women in the mid-1800s. They both married and moved away as their husbands followed their political paths to different parts of the country. While having tea with her neighbor at Heritage Square in Oxnard, Emma shares the heartbreaking story of her girlhood friend, remembering the day that the First Lady of the United States came to Oxnard/Hueneme. Through sickness and in health, grief, and happiness, Ida bravely stood by her husband, President William McKinley, who adored and cherished her.

Historic Fashion Shows and/or Presentations (Can be one presenter with PowerPoint or live models)

What We Wore: Fashion Memoirs of a Pioneer Woman
Annette Petit Laurent was the first of her family to come to California with her pioneer husband Martin. Today, the house they built still stands in downtown Oxnard’s Heritage Square. Annette shares both personal and historic stories and memories of her life as an early settler across the country to Ventura County through fashions of the day, from the 1850s through 1913. The slideshow displays outfits that Annette might have worn at milestone events in her lifetime and important events in local and national history.

Fashions Inspired by the Downton Abbey Years
A look back at the drama we love – the characters, events, and the romance of the time period.  Find out how the changing world of the early 1900s affected fashion trends of the 19teens and the Roaring Twenties; and how those fashions were revisited again in the years to come.

1920s Fashion Show in Oxnard's New Hollywood
Combining Oxnard In the 1920s with fashion, live models will show you what you would have worn if you were here in the 1920s attending local events, as well as local and national lifestyle and of course, the Hollywood connection! Narrated by a fictitious character based on a famous Hollywood personality.

The History of Woman’s Hats
From 1600 to present day, hats in America and Across the Pond and the women who wore them. A slide show with a display of hats that were popular throughout the centuries. See how fashions changed throughout the years while some remained classic.

How to be a Flapper, in Body Mind, and Spirit for both Men and Women!
Starts with the evolution of fashion from 1900 to 1920, and how world events and culture affected fashion and lifestyle. Then a more detailed exploration of 1920s fashions and how to create the look for both men and women.  Get tips on how to put together your own terrific 1920s outfit from thrift store buys or your own closet.

Musical and other Stories

Music from the Gilded Age to the Broadway Stage: Stories and Songs of famous composers**
Musician Carrie Jacobs-Bond was the first woman to sell 1 million copies of a hit song. Nadia Boulanger was the first woman to conduct a major symphony orchestra. Join Nadia and Carrie for a conversation about music from the 1890s to the Broadway musicals of the 30s and 40s, sharing memorabilia, juicy anecdotes, humor, and songs by composers such as Scott Joplin, the George M. Cohan, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Live music will be performed and the audience is invited to sing along.

How I Met Santa, by Mrs. Claus: A Seasonal Treat for all Ages, girls, and boys, men, and women
This spirited lady tells her story, from her childhood in the 5th Century to becoming the First Lady of Christmas. You will have to suspend reality and embrace the magic of Christmas as she talks about her romance with Nicholas, tells some unknown tidbits about the ever-popular jolly old man, how some of our favorite Christmas traditions got started, and her adventures throughout the centuries.

Audience Participation

Women’s Suffrage: A Reader’s Theatre “Herstory” Lesson
Members of your group participate in this Reader’s Theatre script. The setting is Ventura County, 1920, just after the 19th amendment has passed, granting women the right to vote across the nation. Ventura County ladies gather to celebrate and review the years leading to women’s suffrage through a series of letters and newspaper articles that capture the attitudes of the times.

Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood in Ventura County*
Step back in time to the Golden Age of Hollywood with a fantasy radio broadcast by America’s favorite gossip queen when she visits Ventura County. You’ll be surprised at how many local sites were used by the film and TV industry through the years. Join the fun as Hedda “dishes out the dirt” on the stars who came here, with audience participation and lots of hats!

*Originally written by Dotty Wheeler
**Written by Diane Mautner
All other programs written and created by Connie Korenstein

Heritage Harmony Players: Who are they?

Connie Korenstein and Diane Mautner are retired educators and docents at Heritage Square who have combined their talents to form The Heritage Harmony Players. Docents and other friends fill in as historic characters in various programs.

Connie is a four-time winner of “Uncle Leo’s Stories of Ventura County” contest at the Ventura County Fair. In addition to her collection of historic characters that she researches and creates programs for, she has written a book about Oxnard History for the children of the Oxnard School District. Connie brings her passion and knowledge of vintage fashion to all of our programs. She is also a docent at the Maritime Museum and the Dudley House.

Diane’s passions include music, history, research, and writing. Diane’s musical talents, as well as that of her husband Ray, add cultural interest and audience participation to our programs. She is a widely published writer of books for both children and adults and a member of The Society of Book Writers and Illustrators

Connie Korenstein (805)657-1970
Facebook: Heritage Harmony Players

Performance Donation to the Friends of Heritage Square varies by program depending on number of players.