Spence Ver Meer Welcomed to USP Walk of Fame

USP Walk of Fame Members welcome Spence Ver Meer into the fold (L-R, Pat Moriarity, Peg Moriarity, Deb Linn, Pati Van Zante, Spence Ver Meer, Arvin Van Zante, Lisa Witzenburg, Don Graves, Bev Graves)

USP Walk of Fame Members welcome Spence Ver Meer into the fold (L-R, Pat Moriarity, Peg Moriarity, Deb Linn, Pati Van Zante, Spence Ver Meer, Arvin Van Zante, Lisa Witzenburg, Don Graves, Bev Graves)

Union Street Players (USP), Pella’s award-winning community theatre, welcomed Spence Ver Meer into the USP Walk of Fame at the group’s annual Awards Night October 8th. Approximately 50 people attended the festivities at Central College’s Graham Annex.

Since 2008, USP has met annually to honor long-time members who have gone above and beyond in contributing to the community theatre’s success. Each year an inductee is chosen by the USP Board of Directors. General criteria for nomination is ten or more years involvement, contribution in multiple roles (actor, director, producer, Board member, and etc.) and contributing to the furthering of USP’s mission.

USP President, Tom Vander Well, once again served as Master of Ceremonies for the festivities. He summarized what was another successful year for USP, including The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe which became USP’s highest attended holiday show, USP’s middle-school theatre experience with Tom Sawyer, and another record setting year for USP Drama Camp. The group then enjoyed a year-in-review video.

Vander Well also introduced Spence Ver Meer as this year’s Walk of Fame inductee, citing Spence’s faithful involvement over 20 years. While Ver Meer is most notably remembered by audience members for his multiple turns as leading man crooning Broadway favorites in popular musicals such as Sound of Music and South Pacific, he also served as Director (Pirates of Penzance, Our Town), keyboard player (Vintage Hitchcock), and Board President. Vander Well also celebrated Ver Meer for his limitless creativity.

That creativity was on full display during the remainder of the evening. In Ver Meer’s acceptance speech Spence kept the crowd in stitches as he recounted the many women he’s kissed on stage, and the fact that most of them were never seen on stage again. After his induction, he joined with fellow members of Pella’s fledgling improv troupe in performing several improv games for the evening’s audience. In acceptance of the Walk of Fame honor, Ver Meer gave kudos to the many directors and fellow actors he’d worked with through the years.

As the evening’s audience enjoyed dessert, they enjoyed the improv performance from improv troupe members Kathryn Andringa, Lynn Cutler, Denise Gregory, Kathy Haug, Stephanie Lantz,    along with Spence Ver Meer.

 

RSVP NOW for USP Awards Night!

 

Next Saturday, October 8th, Union Street Players invites everyone to join us for an evening of fun, food, laughter, love, and camaraderie as we induct Spence Ver Meer into the Union Street Players Walk of Fame. The evening will include food, drink, a cash bar (wine/beer), and dessert (including Wendy’s cheesecake!). Entertainment will be provided by Pella’s fledgling improv group.

Purchase tickets online by Wednesday, October 5th!

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2016 Walk of Fame Event Oct 8th

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For the ninth straight year, Union Street Players (USP) is inviting the public to join us for an evening of food, fun and entertainment as we celebrate another successful year as Pella’s award-winning community theatre. USP will be inducting Spence Ver Meer to the USP Walk of Fame. Spence has been an active member of USP for over 20 years and has contributed both on stage and off.

Our Awards Night will include heavy appetizers, a cash bar, and desserts. This year’s entertainment will be comedy by Pella’s fledgling improv troupe led by Stephanie Lantz. We will look back at our 2015-2016 productions including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe directed by Deb Linn, Almost Maine directed by Kevin McQuade, and this past summer;s Middle School Experience production of Tom Sawyer led by Cody Kooi and Deb Linn. We will also remember and honor Randy Icenbice who performed in many shows over the years and made his final exit this past December.

When: Saturday, October 8th at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Graham Annex on Central College Campus
What:
6:00 Reception with heavy appetizers and cash bar
6:45 Evening program and Induction of Spence Ver Meer
7:15  Improv entertainment
Dessert, drinks, and conversation to follow

Tickets this year are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets must be purchased on-line by October 5

 

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Spence Ver Meer to USP’s Walk of Fame

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Union Street Players, Pella’s award winning community theatre, is proud to introduce Spence Ver Meer as our 2016 inductee in USP’s Walk of Fame. Instituted in 2008 to honor individuals who have contributed to the success of Union Street Players, the Board of Directors chooses an inductee each year. General criteria for induction include over ten years of participation, contributions in multiple capacities (acting, directing, serving on the Board, and etc.), and assistance in furthering USP’s mission. Spence becomes the 12th member of the Walk of Fame.

Spence’s first credited for USP was over 20 years ago in 1995’s The Man Who Came to Dinner in which he played the role of John. Since that time Spence has contributed both on stage and off. Local audience members likely remember Spence for his beautiful voice and lead roles as Captain Von Trapp in Sound of Music (1999 and 2009), and Emile DeBecque in South Pacific (2004). Spence most recently played four different characters in Almost, Maine this past April. In addition, Spence has served as Director (Pirates of Penzance, Our Town) and was President of USP’s Board of Directors in 1996 and 1997.

Spence will be honored at Union Street Player’s annual Award’s Night, Saturday October 8th, at the Graham Annex on Central College’s campus. Please stay tuned to Union Street Players website (www.unionstreetplayers.com) or Facebook page for more details.

 

USP Sets the Stage for 2016-2017

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.

Respectfully submitted,

Cyndi Atkins
President

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