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2002 Vent Haven ConVENTion

The 2002 Vent Haven International Ventriloquists’ ConVENTion was a smashing success...with more international ventriloquists making an appearance that in any of the previous 25 get togethers. A major contingency of vents from Japan, England, Canada, India, Bermuda, the Phillipines, Australia, and Germany represented their countries at the largest gathering of ventriloquists in the world.

Dan HornThe ConVENTion of almost 400 proved to be a major success in the world of ventriloquism. The ConVENTion shot into high gear on Thursday , July 18 with a successful ‘Meet The Pro’s” session (including such vent luminaries as Jimmy Nelson, Ken Groves, Lynn Trefzger, Pete Michaels, Mark Wade, and Dan Horn) followed by the official opening with Vent Haven Museum, Inc. President John Brooking and Vent Haven ConVENTion Executive Director Mark Wade. Mark then presented the coveted “Vent Haven Distinguished Service Award” to none other than Dan Horn. Dan , a long time professional ventriloquist, also was named as a new Advisor to the Vent Haven Museum.

Mark ThompsonThe afternoon was a potpourri of great lectures. Dan Horn presented his masterful “Expert Soft Puppet Manipulation”, which demonstrated why Dan is one of the most successful vents working in North America. Mark Thompson, known for his great singing ability with his vent work, filled in nicely to do a lecture on “Adding Music To Your Act”. The audience loved it and learned plenty from this full time pro. The rest of the day was filled with our great Open Mic sessions for both Juniors and Seniors...with a special General Open Mic feature after hours. This is really a great learning experience as the participants in the Junior and Senior Open Mics had their acts video taped and also had the benefit of some valuable critique forms from a panel of professional ventriloquists. What a wonderful learning tool! And a also a wonderful remembrance of the ConVENTion! Thanks to MC Bob Isaacson (Juniors), Al Getler (Seniors) , and Dave Fleming (General Open Mic) for keeping this important part of the ConVENTion running smoothly. Friday, July 19 was devoted to our world class workshops.



There were six different workshops to choose from, with three being offered each session. The first session in the morning featured “Creative Comedy Writing Techniques” by Steve Taylor; “Advanced Microphone Techniques” by our favorite sound guy Joe Lefler; and Tom Basso presented his ‘ IMPROVisational ACTing Methods For Vents”. The afternoon sessions also proved to be winners with Mark Thompson presenting his “ Master Marketing Methods"; our very creative friend Steve Axtell doing his “Unique Puppet Ideas” workshop; and top-flight kidshow performers Marty and Brenda Hahne and Mark Wade combining forces for their “The Professional Kidshow Touch”. All the workshops were well attended and proved to be one of the most popular parts of ConVENTion 2002.

Jimmy Nelson, the Dean Of American Ventriloquists, brought some fantastic vents to the screen with his “Vent Videos” Jimmy has an extensive collection of ventriloquists on the silver screen and each year he keeps topping himself by coming up with even more gems. Thanks, Jimmy!

Our Friday Night Show was also a major hit. MC/magician Marty Hahne brought on Alicia Dacoba (with her favorite real talking pig, “Pork Chop”); Mike Hemmelgarn with his madcap juggling and vent work (which got him a standing ovation); followed by Mark Thompson; and the fantastic Bill DeMar. Bill stole the show and was given a much deserved standing ovation as well with his unique brand of ventriloquism. It was a delight to watch Bill perform.

Al Getler headed up the “Vents In Video” group lecture ..ably assisted by Kelly Asbury, Steve Taylor, and Pete Michaels. This outstanding session gave many in the audience a chance to see what they can do to produce and market a great promotional video. These definitely were the right people to teach this important aspect of marketing.


The dealers (there were 26 in all...filling two dealer’s rooms) gave generously to the Vent Haven Museum raffle. The proceeds go to projects that the museum is working on. This year it will be used to do climate control in Building #4 (the Boat House Building) on the Vent Haven grounds.

Saturday (July 20) had some ground breaking group lectures. The “Women In Vent“ panel was so popular in 2001 that a new session was scheduled for this year. Once again our favorite female vent Lynn Trefzger (Joy) did the moderating and the distinguished panel featured Tazuko Tanimoto, Alicia Dacoba, Barbara Jean (Daniel), Lisa Sweasy (our Vent Haven Curator), and Liz VonSeggen. It was enlightening to get the women’s perspective on vent and this is definitely something that Vent Haven ConVENTions wants to continue.

Our very first and ground breaking “International Ventriloquism Panel” was THE highlight of ConVENTion 2002. Our good friend Stevo Schuling from Germany introduced us to the multi-talented vents on the panel. Representing Japan was female vent Tazuko Tanimoto; Ramdas Padhye, India’s leading ventriloquist, was also on hand to give his comments; and Jimmy Tamley from England rounded out the complement of performers. Each vent had a different viewpoint of performing from their own country’s perspective and we were treated to seeing some demonstrations of their abilities. Tazuko presented a small segment of her act and her fantastic singing abilities astounded the audience. This was definitely a new part of the ConVENTion that will be a PERMANENT part of future ConVENTions!!

The afternoon was spent taking the tours of the fabulous Vent Haven Museum. Vent Haven Museum is the largest and most unique museum in the world that showcases ventriloquism. Lisa Sweasy and husband Bryan are to be congratulated on doing a great job with the musuem. Saturday afternoon gave us a group lecture by Mark Wade, Joe Lefler, and Marty Hahne (moderated by Ken Groves) on “Staging Your Show For Success”, which offered up many good ideas on how to set the stage for your act. The crowd liked it and asked many good questions of the panel.

The Saturday night “Headliner Show” was the fitting send off to the ConVENTion. MC’ed by one of America’s funniest men, Steve Kissell, Steve did his part as a first class compere. Steve brought Australia’s cruise ship vent Darren Carr on to open the show, followed by the flawless performance of Ken Groves, and Pete Michaels (with his Pavorati opera character) closed the show to a standing ovation.

The attendees had a wonderful three days of fun, fellowship, and learning.. We hope YOU.are planning to attend the NEXT Vent Haven ConVENTion on JULY 17-19, 2003 at the Drawbridge Villager Premier Inn in Ft. Mitchell, KY.

As our founder W.S. Berger would say...”We’ll leave the latch string open for you!”.








Copyright 2007 Vent Haven ConVENTion, Inc.
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