By Sue Moore
This issue of the South County News highlights three stage productions being presented in Vicksburg and Schoolcraft in March. The young people of the two high schools have shown considerable talent in singing and acting. If the past is a guide, some will go on to make stage work their profession. Those who end up working in other fields will continue to get up on the stage and give it their all—as in the Showboat at the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center, celebrating its 62nd year.
The directors of these shows are diverse but passionate about their productions. Christine Sargeant in Schoolcraft says she relieves the actors’ nerves backstage by acting crazy, all the while urging them on to quiet their nerves. Melissa Sparks in Vicksburg works in the drama department at Western Michigan University and is director in residence at VHS, keeping the singers and dancers seriously concentrating on their parts. She is a creative, multi-talented director that the kids really respect. Dr. Ken Franklin, Showboat director, is equally serious with the cast of talented men, all drawn from the surrounding area. In their day jobs, you would never know they are performers.
The audiences for these three musicals is miniscule however, and that is a pity. These are talented people who give enormous time to their performances. As a community we are blessed by so many entertainment options, but these three are the very best and deserve our attendance and applause.
The Showboat cast each year draws a number of young people from the high school choir program including its director, Dusty Morris, who sings a beautiful solo number. Several of the pit band members who are decidedly grayer, evolved from the high school band program. Craig Rolfe, Tom Weeks, Dennis Watson, and Dawn Garrett are refugees from the Big Red Machine. Combine that with Music Director Chris Garrett, who spent some years here as band director before going to KVCC, and you realize how much local talent there is and the importance of training young people as early as possible in the performing arts programs in each school.
Quilt Trail Visitor
Kitch Rinehart, the founder and executor of the fabulous Quilt Trail in the Vicksburg area, has scored another coup. She has invited Suzi Parron, the nationally known author of quilt trail history throughout the U.S., to visit and promote her new book coming out in the spring of 2016. It will feature the Vicksburg Quilt Trail in one chapter and she will come here in May 17 of that year to lecture and sign her books. Kitch is looking for a suitable venue for the presentation that will need to seat at least 150 avid quilters. The Vicksburg Historical Society has agreed to underwrite her appearance.
Chili Cook-Off Winners
Clink Powell, owner of the Vault, was declared the winner at the Chamber of Commerce chili cook-off in early February. Voters cast their ballots for the six entrants, giving second place to Barrett’s Smokehouse and third place to Boy Scout Troop 251. The outhouse race winner was the Chapman Memorial Nazarene Church crew. Most of the cooks ran out of chili before the closing time of 5 p.m., so a decision was made to quit early. The scouts whipped through the huge tent in 15 minutes as the volunteer clean-up crew. Tanya DeLong, the Chamber president, was exceedingly grateful for their help.
Anna Brown’s Birthday Recognition
Helen Brown Horn, wants to thank the many people who sent birthday greetings to her mom, Anna Brown on her 100 year anniversary. She was thrilled to see the names of so many people she knows, and many more that she doesn’t know. She even received a lovely card from a reader who saw the article and sent a card anonymously. She received 207 cards and Anna realizes what a great community of wonderful, caring people she lives in.
Village Manager Ken Schippers recommended to the village council the elimination of the flowers that usually get planted in the elongated curbs in downtown Vicksburg during the summer. The cost of $4,000 he thought could go toward buying pots for flowers or plants instead. That way he could keep the need to weed at a minimum and improve the looks of downtown toward the end of the summer, when the weeds typically take control of the flower beds. The council concurred.
One Last Tidbit
The lady who ran an ad in the February newspaper needing a used treadmill for her dog to get some exercise on, got six phone calls from it and found just what the dog liked and started his workouts almost immediately. This spring the advertising representatives hope to produce a classified section for sale of items such as this along with garage sale advertisements.