By Sue Moore
Curiosity about what is happening at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center took me there for its St. Patrick’s Day celebration to take pictures and listen to the Irish entertainment.
What I found was an incredible amount of energy from the people who are now responsible for the programming at the Center. There were only a handful of curious patrons, the rest were relatives and friends of the performers. It didn’t matter why they came, what they discovered was a coffee house-like venue where excellent performers could strut their stuff in a way that brought the audience close up and personal.
The organizers of the event had lovingly prepared Irish stew and lots of green, eye-catching and decadent desserts. All they were asking in return was a donation from the 25-plus in attendance.
If the VCAC is to survive, it will need lots of community support for the arts. It isn’t cheap to run a facility to showcase the music, poetry, photography, artist paintings, and jewelry offerings of these very talented locals. They need to sell their wares to keep the artists’ interest in displaying their work in this small storefront endeavor.
Elsewhere in this newspaper, you will find a list of the events for April. It’s worth a visit to see for yourself the native talent that is in residence in the Cultural Arts Center.
Docent Training at the Historical Society
Another aspect of the cultural arts in Vicksburg is the Historic Village that depicts this community’s past so that we may learn from it and flourish in the present. It’s been a long-time dream of this writer who is passionate about this area’s history to have the public know the influence our early settlers had on the way we are today.
The Historical Society has a treasure trove of interpretative information that can shed light on those who have gone before us. Now it has plans to open this collection a lot more often than on Saturdays during the season. To expand the hours, lots of helpers are needed to give tours, keep office hours, and continue to expand the building sites within the village.
If you are looking for a way to give back to this community and have a great learning experience in doing so, please volunteer to help the Historical Society fling open its doors to the public and make this an important part of what Vicksburg has to offer its citizens and the wider world of inquisitive minds. We are scheduling a docents’ training April 20 and 24. To register call 649-2453.
Cake Bake Outcome
Last month the South County News featured a ten year old Cub Scout on its cover, musing about how to bake a cake from a Duncan Hines box. Aiden Hawkins has star quality and with his invite to the cake bake, brought the biggest crowd ever to the community center to bid on the elaborate confections the boys and their dads contributed. They had over 30 cakes, a volunteer auctioneer, with a goal of raising money for scouting expenses that reoccur every year for the youngsters.
Valerie Tassell, one of the organizers, reports that nearly $2,000 was raised. Next year they will need to find an even bigger venue, since the community center was packed to the rafters with scouts, parents, and friends.
How Did Brady Become Vicksburg?
Sehvilla Mann from WMUK interviewed Steven Lange who lives in Vicksburg about why the name of the village changed from Brady in 1871, almost overnight to Vicksburg. He asked that probing question on a program on WMUK that asks people to contribute questions on things around us that don’t seem to have an answer.
She was intrigued and did a lot of research on the question Lange posed. It turns out, there isn’t a hard and fast answer. A portion of the southern lower townships in Kalamazoo County were once known as Brady. Slowly they shrunk to what is now just Brady Township. In the interim, Vicksburg’s name went from one to the other and back again, due to a request to the county board of supervisors in November 1871. The minutes of that fateful meeting have been lost in time, but the Kalamazoo Gazette had a full report that claimed a motion from the good citizens of Brady, wanting its name changed back to honor its founder. They took the idea under consideration for 24 hours and then decided to go with Vicksburgh, with a h added to the end. Somewhere along the line, that got dropped to the present day spelling.