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Friends Speaker Series

Sponsored by the Sherrin H. and Bruce A. Baky Foundation

As part of the Friends mission to provide interesting and compelling programming for the public, the annual Speaker Series is held in cooperation with the Washington Memorial Chapel. This series, which runs from October through May, gathers an array of historians, scientists, authors, archeologists, actors and performers to share with the public their multiple points of view on history, the natural world and the ongoing commemoration of Valley Forge.

October to April presentations are free and held at Washington Memorial Chapel, on Route 23 in Valley Forge, on Tuesdays at 7 pm. The May presentation will be held in the theater at Valley Forge. A complimentary reception follows each talk.

For directions to the Chapel, visit

Tuesday, October 6
The Pennsylvania Flute Choir: The Fords of the Brandywine and Music of a Proud Heritage
With Commentary by Dr. Debra Torok

Join The Pennsylvania Flute Choir as it features a program of music representing our heritage in Pennsylvania and around the nation with commentary by Dr. Debra Torok. The highlight of the program will be the premiere of The Fords of the Brandywine, September 11, 1777, a composition depicting select events from the first shots heard to the aftermath of the Battle of the Brandywine.

About the Performers

Performing at Calvary Lutheran Church in West Chester, PA

The Pennsylvania Flute Choir is an auditioned, community group formed in 2002 by flutist Georgia Dimaano. Debra Torok, professional recording artist, pianist, composer, conductor and teacher, joined the choir in 2011 as its new Music Director. Marc Adler, professional musician and educator, was the Music Director from 2004 through 2011. The choir has grown from a one-time recital group to an active, professional ensemble. Its 20+ members hail from southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The choir performs throughout the tri-state region for engagements such as concert series performances, weddings, religious services, private parties, and music for special events. It also performs at regional flute fairs and flute society events and conventions.


Music sample: Dizzy Fingers

November 3
Keith Henley
Hercules, Washington’s Cook
The surprising story of Hercules, the chef at Mount Vernon in the 1780s, who was brought to New York and Philadelphia to serve President Washington and his family and guests. Presented in cooperation with the American Historical Theater.
December 1
Kim Burdick
Seized in September: Delaware during the Revolutionary War
Delaware’s role in the Philadelphia Campaign – seldom-told, action-packed – as described by an award-winning public historian.
January 5
Bruce Mowday
September 11, 1777: The Battle of Brandywine
A popular author talks about the soldiers and civilians who shaped the first big battle of the Philadelphia Campaign and sent Congress fleeing.
February 2
Elizabeth Beatty
To the Last Extremity: Fort Mifflin’s Valiant Stand
Fort Mifflin’s site director shares the history, construction, and defense of the Delaware River Fort that the British bombarded for weeks during the Revolutionary War.
March 1
Dr. Susan Christoffersen
Economics of the Valley Forge Encampment
A university professor discusses the economics of the Valley Forge encampment and suggests how lessons learned from Washington’s army can inform our decisions today.
April 5
Mary Thompson
Mount Vernon during the Revolutionary War
The research librarian at Mount Vernon gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what was happening at Washington’s Virginia home during America’s long fight for freedom.
May 3
Todd Andrlik
Reporting the Revolutionary War
Revolutionary War news coverage, as reported in the eighteenth century newspapers of Britain and the United States, and shared by the award-winning author of Reporting the Revolutionary War.

Special Location: Park Theater  •  Tickets required
Friends Members and WM Chapel donors: FREE  •  Non-members: $20