Union Street Players, Pella’s award-winning community theatre, held our annual picnic and year-end meeting last night at West Market Park. For several years our group has held a potluck picnic in August to celebrate the end of our fiscal year (Aug 31), renew memberships, and elect our Board of Directors for the coming year. It was a gorgeous summer evening and everyone enjoyed the food and socializing.
Outgoing USP President, Cyndi Atkins, presided over a brief meeting and shared an annual recap of our group’s 2015-2016 fiscal year (full text below). Treasurer Wendy Vander Well handed out a Treasurer’s report showing a positive fiscal year balance through the end of July. Pati Van Zante shared a year-end report on the USP Costume Shop. Cyndi then announced that this year’s inductee to the USP Walk of Fame is Spence Ver Meer. An October 8th awards night is planned at Central College.
Elections were then held for the USP Board of Directors. Our Board for 2016-2017 will be:
President: Tom Vander Well
Vice-President: Deb Linn
Treasurer: Wendy Vander Well
Secretary: Kim Beyer
At-Large: Doug DeWolf
At-Large: Jana DeZwarte
At-Large: Arvin Van Zante
Shows currently scheduled for 2016-2017 (all shows/dates subject to change):
Holiday 2016: The Christmas Post (Wendy Vander Well, Director)
Spring 2017: Noises Off (Denise Gregory, Director)
Summer 2017: The Wizard of Oz (Anne McCullough Kelly, Director)
Holiday 2017: It’s a Wonderful Life (Pati Van Zante, Director)
Here is President Cyndi Atkins report on Union Street Players 2015-2016 year:
Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which delighted audiences with a spectacular wintry set and wonderful costumes. Kudos to director Deb Linn and assistant Cody Kooi for a record-breaking show. The 1,615 audience members over the seven show run was the largest recorded audience for a non-musical holiday show! The choice to open the show on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend was a good one.
This spring, we welcomed new director Kevin McQuade who brought Almost, Maine to our stage. The show was set in the depths of winter on a moonless night in northern Maine. It’s a chilly, snowy setting and much of the cast, costumed by Linda McQuade, spent their time on stage sweating in full winter regalia. The seven cast members delighted audiences with the script’s nine vignettes which produced both laughter and tears.
Our summer show, Sabrina Fair, was sadly cancelled this spring. With only 14 roles, it was disappointing to have only half that number try out. And even with recruitment, we were missing some key actors. But summer has not been quiet on the set at the Community Center.
The Middle School Theatre Experience led by Cody Kooi and Deb Linn brought 20 students to direct, produce, costume, run lights and sound and act Tom Sawyer in early June. Students were selected on a first-come, first-served basis in early May and then began meeting weekly to discover how a show goes together. The experience ended with a weeklong production schedule where all the pieces were put together before two performances at the end of the week to a delighted audience of family and friends.
Later in the summer, drama camp opened at the Community Center. The camp, under the leadership of Brystal Hopkins and Suzi Jones, continues to be immensely popular – filling just three days after it opened. Another grade school session was added the following week. In addition to the two grade school sessions and a junior high session, an alumni camp was a popular addition this year. Over 120 children celebrated life in the theatre during the drama camp weeks.
There are many other items that I could report, but I’m going to stay with some minimum things that we should have on file. For example, our current checking account balance is $59,842.01 and I would ask our treasurer to present her report. And our Costume Shop report was emailed to members earlier and again a final report will be given in September, but I do want to call out two remarkable things: our rental income was $4,491 during 2015-16 and we received an amazing $17,723 in community donations this year. What a wonderful, supportive community! Pati Van Zante has additional comments on the Costume Shop.
Coming up this fall, we will be hosting the annual Union Street Players Walk of Fame. Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 8 at Central College. It is my great pleasure to announce that Spence Vermeer will be our honoree for 2016! Congratulations to Spence and we look forward to celebrating with you in October.
Let’s finish this meeting with our election of the USP board. I think it’s wonderful to see so many coming back this year with an interest in being involved in our community. I thank all of you who are willing to serve.