Dance Across the Decades Features an Amazing Auction

One of the most alluring things about Dance Across the Decades (aka DAD) is the silent auction to be held on Saturday, April 23 from 7 to 10 p.m. Last year the auction netted over $2,000 toward support of South County Community Services (SCCS) programming. And there was an extra cachet in the amazing stories that emanated from the effort. That is why the auction portion of the fundraiser is now called the Amazing Auction, according to Danna Downing, SCCS executive director.

The event planners want to share just a few stories that illustrate what can happen when folks who donate auction items to support SCCS hook up with inspired shoppers who also support the agency.

John Thomas with Appell Gibson Bowl
John Thomas with the Lloyd Appell Gibson guitar bowl from the 2015 auction.

STORY #1: The Gibson Bowl

At the 2015 DAD Auction, a hot item was a bowl crafted from scrap wood secured from the Gibson Guitar Company. It was crafted and donated by Lloyd Appell. After promoting it on the Lori Moore Show, a former Gibson employee and Kalamazoo gal, Irene Stearns, contacted him and arranged to meet him at the dance so she could bid on the bowl. She desperately wanted to buy that bowl to give to her dear friend John Thomas, who recently authored the book Kalamazoo Gals, which honored the women who made guitars during World War II. Thomas had recently spoken at the Schoolcraft Community Library and his books were on sale locally. That led to adding a copy of Kalamazoo Gals to the auction package, along with background information provided by Appell. Lloyd and Irene got to chatting at the dance and as a result Lloyd was invited to meet the author at an informal gathering hosted at Irene’s home. It was a memorable day for all who attended to hear John playing his own Gibson guitar before being royally surprised and delighted with the presentation of the Gibson bowl.

STORY #2: The $400 Bottle of Wine

Kristina Powers Aubry, a well-known wine lover, suggested to her friends Margaret and Karl Kerchief they might like to donate a bottle of fine wine they didn’t quite know what to do with. They received the wine from their daughter, who received it from a couple (one of whom is a cardiologist) who wanted to show their appreciation for her fine work as their au pair. A special license was required to include alcohol in the auction and there were some doubts about who would bid on such an expensive item. All doubts were amazingly dispelled when Mark and Sheri Louis began bidding on the item. It turns out Mark is a wine maker and his son-in-law, Drew, is a wine collector. The Chateau Margeaux Grand was a rare find for the collector and was bottled in 1982, the year Drew’s wife and Mark and Sheri’s daughter, Shelly, was born. To top it off, Shelly was scheduled for cardiac surgery in the month following the dance. As Sheri expressed it: “That wine needed to be in their lives.” So they got serious about the bidding for the “perfect” thing for Shelly and Drew. That made for a perfect ending for all concerned. Shelly is doing well. Both givers and recipients were happy with the gift. The money to good use helping South County families.

Gold Star baby quilt in progress, not pinned
Jonatha Johnson’s hand-made gold star baby quilt will be auctioned off at the Dance Across the Decades.

STORY #3: Gold Star Baby Quilt

The Gold Star Baby Quilt was donated by Jonatha Johnson who lives in Vicksburg. She is a key player in the development of Vicksburg’s community gardens. When asked why she donated the baby quilt, she replied, “Because it is my way of giving.”

Jonatha learned to make patchwork as a child from her mother and aunts. It gets its name from the stars built into the sashing that connects the blue 9-patch blocks. Gold and blue are a classic combination and for many reflect the team colors of the University of Michigan. Jonatha believes that, “Every child born should be welcomed into this world, and handmade items carry something of the goodwill of the creator, as well as the love and care of the giver,” she said. To Jonatha, a patchwork quilt is a statement of economy and frugality, where even small scraps are made useful, reflecting the jingle popularized during the Great Depression, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

“At the heart of the art of patchwork quilting are the core values of a people, and that is my gift to SCCS,” she emphasizes. She trusted that the coverlet would serve a dual purpose, as a fundraising item at the SCCS auction and a snuggly blanket for someone’s baby. David and Jackie Sirotti must have agreed with Jonatha’s assessment because they bid on the beautiful “blankie” to help them welcome a new arrival in their dear nephew’s family. As volunteers at SCCS, Jackie and Dave also agree that it was a generous and lovely addition to last year’s auction.

Sneak Preview for 2016 Auction:

Italian Dinner for 10, Pandora Bracelet, Handmade Quilt created by Jennifer Appell (Burleson, Tex.) entitled Cactus Wreath Quilt (6’ x 6’). Hand-crafted recipe boxes, coasters and items from the Kindling Maker-aka Larry Forsyth.

A very popular Smoked Dinner for six from David Aubry, floral painting by Vicki Bell, a quart of Charlie Kendall’s home-made maple syrup, an autographed limited-edition Children’s Literary Collection, gift baskets, gift certificates, garden specials, and much more.

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