USP Archive

Spence Ver Meer and the Mud Monster

Mud_monsterContributed by USP Board Member Spence Ver Meer

The Mud Monster is still loose, people!

Don’t panic, it’s only a legend…we think.

Dark Art Films is a subsidiary of one man’s endeavours to bring light to the subject of paranormal activities in the local area. He has done a lot of research on the subject, and now is attempting to put his knowledge into a television series.

One of the segments he is recreating is the legend of the Mud Monster. Before you dismiss this as bunk, his research has this legend originating in Iowa! In fact, just up the road in the Newton area! Reports from the 30’s to 40’s had something covered in hair and filth rummaging through backyards atSpence_ver_meer_mud_monster night causing general dismay for someone to clean up the next morning. The heads at Dark Art Films put together a script re-enacting something that might have occurred.

I had the fortune of getting one of the parts for this teleplay back in June, and filming occurred the weekend following July 4, in the dead of night. I played one of the policemen first reporting to the 911 call, a damsel in distress seeing a face all covered in hair on her back porch.

After hearing her story, we check the scene out, skeptically. Waiting in the squad car for anything to show up, base gets a number of reports in the area of something out there. We get the “thing” in our flashlight beams later on, but my senses tell me, “If I shoot it, and don’t kill it, then I’m dead, and I doubt I can capture it, and I won’t live it down if I go back to base to tell them what we saw.” So I tell my partner it’s a bear, and state we’re going back to the truck to tell animal control…NOW.

So…as I said…the Mud Monster is STILL LOOSE, people! What if it migrates south?

Anyway, according to Dark Art Films, they are in talks with NBC who owns Sci-Fi Network. Whether anything comes out of it or not is probably against us percentage wise, but I had a great experience, and I am looking forward to the next project they may put together.

USP Archive

’76 Trombones’ Play Again!

contributed by Shelley Buhrow

Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” will be revived by the Union Street
in their 10th Anniversary performance of a summer musical this
August 1-5.  Directed by Pati Van Zante, this production promises to be a
fabulous performance by some of the area’s most talented performers.

In the summer of 1997, the Pella Union Street Players, a local community
theater group, performed it’s first big summer musical, directed by Pati Van
Zante,  Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man”.  Since that summer the group has
brought some very fine productions of such well known musicals as “The King
and I”,"Sound of Music", "Hello Dolly!", “South Pacific”, “Fiddler on the
Roof” and “Guys and Dolls".

There are several of the original cast and production members,who have again
come out to join the 67 member cast for this year’s production.  Pati Van
Zante wanted to once again have the joy of directing “The Music Man” for
USP. The Music Man himself, Harold Hill, will be played by Greg May, who
filled those same shoes in the first rendition of the play.  Greg lives in
Knoxville but has enjoyed joining with the Union Street Players in numerous
productions.  Rejoining Greg are three of the four original school-board
member, barber-shop quartet members, Karl Ribbens, Spence Vermeer and Gary Verhoef.  These men all indicated they had such a good time being part of
the show the first time it was produced, that they wanted to again be part
of the experience.  Our current “Mrs. Paroo” , Deb Linn, was a townsperson
in the 1997 show, and remembers how “magical” it was to be on stage, and
she so enjoyed the experience that she has be involved with the group ever
since and is currently Vice-President of USP.  Another cast member, Peggy
Moriarity, said it was her first experience with USP and she and her husband
Pat, actually brought their son to be in the show, but ended up joining the
cast themselves, as well.  Pat & Peggy Moriarty are townspeople in the 2007
production. Peggy & Pat Moriarty are currently serve as Secretary & Treasurer
on the USP Board.  Other “original” cast members who are again participating
in “The Music Man” this year include Arvin Van Zante, Don Buhrow, Tim
Hoekstra, Randy Isenbice, Thomas Salz, and Sally Job.

Union Street Players is also pleased to be able to include several cast and
crew members from surrounding communities in this summer’s show.  In
addition to Pella and Knoxville, there are folks from Altoona, Ankeny,
Searsboro, Newton, Otley, Des Moines, Sully and Oskaloosa.

So, what is so great about community theater?  Getting to know new people;
having the challenge of developing new characters; and most of all, having a
great time working together with some of the most talented people around to
produce the best show possible for your audience.  Whether it be by
acting,singing, dancing, building and decorating the set, technical support
of the show, costuming, make-up design, advertising, directing, musical
support, selling tickets,  ushering or being part of the audience,
involvement with community theater is great fun!  Come and see August 1-4
for the 7:00 pm curtain, or  August 5, 2007 for the 2 pm matinee. Tickets are
available at the Community Services Office.