Light show brings village history to life

Series: Hinsdale 150 | Story 32

One of the shining moments of the village's 150th anniversary celebration will occur Aug. 17 when the village presents "Hinsdale History - Illuminated" at the conclusion of the summer's final Uniquely Thursdays concert.

The 20-minute light show, which will illuminate the south side of the Memorial Building, will transport viewers through the past 150 years of Hinsdale history using enhanced audio and visual effects.

Historic figures such as Joel Tiffany, the first village president, and William Robbins, one of the village's founding fathers, are featured in the show.

Hinsdale's Ben Bradley of WGN News will serve as emcee of the event, offering a live introduction to viewers at about 8:45 p.m. He also provided recorded narration for the opening and closing of the show.

"The premise is that President Tiffany is reflecting on how far the village has come over the past 150 years," said Alexis Braden, a member of the village's 150th anniversary committee and a village trustee. "We've partnered with the Hinsdale Historical Society, which gave us a wealth of information and photos to help us really paint a picture of progress, starting with a small village on the railroad to what we are today."

Andrianna Peterson, assistant village manager, expressed her gratitude to the historical society.

"They've just been amazing - lots of time and energy helping us secure the perfect photographs," she said.

The show doesn't follow a linear timeline, but highlights various components of the village, from businesses to public services to nonprofit agencies, and their contributions to the community over time.

"We've spent a lot of time curating these photos and curating scenes and themes and messages, from Little League to the hospital to small businesses to architecture," Braden said. "We hope that everyone will have a little takeaway that they connect with, not to mention the gorgeous lights illuminating Memorial Hall."

In one sequence, the Memorial Building appears to transform into the American Beauty house at 329 E. Sixth, former home of Orland Bassett, creator of the American Beauty Rose.

The UK's Scarlett Entertainment, the global entertainment company the village hired to create light show, uses special effects and animation to bring to life photos from the village's early days to the present. Braden was impressed with the run-through she saw, describing it as very "Disney-esque," complete with illuminated fireworks.

"The special effects, what I saw, I think will really appeal to all ages," she said. "It's going to be really cool. The whole building is going to be illuminated."

She said she hopes residents will come out to see it.

"I think the village and the anniversary committee really wanted to give back to the community in some way, to mark the milestone. The light show is really the village's gift to everyone in Hinsdale," she said.

"I think we're all in for really quite a show."

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean