00 News & Updates, 04 The USP Walk of Fame, Slider Posts

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

00 News & Updates

Big Turnout for USP Annual Potluck Picnic; New Leadership Selected

2015-2015 USP Board of Directors (L-R) Denise Gregory, Deb Linn, Cyndi Atkins, Kim Beyer, Cody Kooi, Mark Schaefer, Jana De Zwarte
2015-2016 USP Board of Directors (L-R) Denise Gregory, Deb Linn, Cyndi Atkins, Kim Beyer, Cody Kooi, Mark Schaefer, Jana De Zwarte

Union Street Players gathered at West Market Park on Monday evening, August 10, for the annual membership meeting and potluck picnic. This has been an annual event the past few years and this year’s crowd was bigger than ever with over 50 people in attendance. Under the canopy of the north shelter, after everyone had enjoyed the feast, the annual meeting was held.

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Carolyn Scharff (seated on left) played Yente in this summer’s “Fiddler on the Roof.” She will be honored as this year’s inductee in the USP Walk of Fame.

During the meeting, the USP Board of Directors announced that this year’s inductee to the USP Walk of Fame will be founding USP member, Carolyn Scharff. Scharff has served USP faithfully on and off stage over the years. She will be inducted at USP’s annual Award’s night held at the Pella Opera House on October 3rd at 6:30 p.m.

Outgoing President, Tom Vander Well, presided over the meeting and gave his annual report to the membership. A few highlights from his report include:

  • USP had 39 members.
  • YTD USP is at nearly a $13,000 in the black. As a non-profit USP is not in business to make money, but wise fiscal management and profitable productions allow us to reinvest in our facilities, improve our productions, and provide opportunities that further our mission.
  • USP received a record $14,173 in patron support.
  • USP produced 3 great main stage shows:
    • Christmas Carol
      • Attended: 991
      • Profited $2642
    • Anne of Green Gables
      • Attended: 529
      • Profited $1426
    • Fiddler on the Roof
      • Attended: 1517
      • Profit: $6343
  • USP continued our award-winning tradition:
    • Lonnie Appleby won ICTA award for Outstanding Lead Actor (Ebenezer Scrooge/Christmas Carol)
    • USP had several finalists in ICTA’s annual awards:
      • From Ham Buns and Potato Salad (April 2014) Cyndi Atkins as Lola Van Dam – Supporting Actress, Mat Kelly and Anne McCullough Kelly – Scenic Design, Arvin Van Zante – Lighting Design
      • From A Christmas Carol (December 2014) Lonnie Appleby as Ebenezer Scrooge – Lead Actor, Jana De Zwarte (Mrs Dilber), Denise Gregory (Charwoman), Jim Palmer (Old Joe), Spencer Ver Meer (Undertaker) – Ensemble
      • From Anne of Green Gables (Feb/Mar 2015) Pati Van Zante – Costumes
  • USP welcomed Don Graves into the USP Walk of Fame in October of 2014.
  • USP added new audio equipment (gift from Pella Shakespeare) and new LED lighting instruments.
  • The Costume Shop led by Pati Van Zante and the Costume Shop Committee updated flooring, cleaned and organized, set new rules for school rentals, and continued to provide costumes for area productions.
  • Thanks to the hard work of Vice-President, Deb Linn, we made $5100 in advertising income and covered all of our program costs.
  • For the first time we welcomed a sponsor other than the Pella Community Center, Hopkins Roofing who sponsored Fiddler on the Roof.
  • Once gain, thanks to Brystal Hopkins and Suzi Jones, USP Drama Camp was a bigger success than ever with more kids than ever. Offering classes two sessions of classes for over 120 campers.

Vander Well mentioned that this will be the last time for him to present the President’s Report after a decade of service. He is stepping down from the Board along with three other long-time Board members: Wendy Vander Well (Treasurer), Anne McCullough Kelly (Secretary), and Mat Kelly (At-Large Member). Elections were held for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and new Board members were elected by the membership:

Cyndi Atkins, President
Deb Linn, Vice President
Kim Beyer, Secretary
Denise Gregory, Treasurer
Jana De Zwarte, At Large
Cody Kooi, At Large
Mark Schaefer, At Large

While the composition of the Board has changed, USP will continue to benefit from solid, veteran leadership. Deb Linn, Mark Schaefer, and Cody Kooi are continuing in their positions. Cyndi Atkins, Denise Gregory, and Jana De Zwarte have served on the Board in prior years. Kim Beyer is the only new officer who has never served on the Board before.

New Board members will begin their tenures on September 1. USP’s next meeting is Monday, September 14th at 7:00 in the Pella Community Center. Everyone is welcome at USP’s monthly meetings, though you must be a member to vote. Annual membership in the organization is $10 for adults and $5 for junior members.