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.