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'Little inklings of Peru'

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LITTLE INKLINGS: Peru High School choral teacher Jason Gornto portrays Cole Porter on Friday during a lunch held as part of the annual Cole Porter Festival.
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TALK: Historian Charles Troy presents his talk “Cole Porter’s Top 10 Lust Songs” on Friday as part of the annual Cole Porter Festival.

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com

Guests and visitors learned a little more about Cole Porter, his life, and his ties to Northern Indiana as the annual festival that honors him continued through its second day.

“At any rate, growing up in this community was fantastic and it gave me the start of a lifetime of lyrics and songs that I would write for many, many years,” Peru High School choral teacher Jason Gornto told a small lunchtime crowd on Friday as he portrayed the famous songwriter and composer.

Gornto, throughout the lunch at the Miami County Artisan Gallery, told stories from Porter’s life and played songs from his career, including those with ties to the area.

Among the first, one that Porter wrote at 11 years old, was “The Bobolink Waltz” named after the small bird that can heard “in the fields across Northern Indiana.”

Others included the “slightly obscure” piece, “By the Mississinewa,” and the more well-known “Old Fashioned Garden” about the garden near Porter’s childhood home.

“If you look at my lyrics and my songs through the years you will find little inklings of Peru and Miami County and things that I grew up with all around,” Gornto said.

After lunch, diners and others gathered at the Miami County Museum Annex for a talk by Chicago-based musical theatre historian Charles Troy.

The talk, titled “Cole Porter’s Top 10 Lust Songs,” explored the influence of Porter’s homosexuality on his songwriting.

Events were scheduled to extend through Friday evening with a kid’s talent show and cocktail party.

They begin again today with a breakfast at the Peru Civic Center followed by plenty of other activities.

The festival ends Sunday afternoon with an ice cream social and music on the courthouse square.

For a complete listing of events and ticket and reservation information visit: www.coleporterfestival.org.