On the Corner

By Sue Moore

The Vicksburg Band Invitational on the first weekend in October has remained in my memory bank as one of the most spectacular band showcases I’ve had the good fortune to attend recently. The addition of Western Michigan University’s marching band made a real hit with the audience as it just kept the musicality at the highest level possible. They are a great band, begun years ago by Leonard Maretta who set it on the path to excellence.

The drumline faceoff, engineered by Roi Farnham, Vicksburg’s drumline instructor, was fun for everyone. The Vicksburg kids, although greatly outnumbered, answered the call to perfection. It was truly a great show.

DeNooyer Ford got into the activity at the Vicksburg Homecoming game at halftime with a challenge to the lucky raffle winner who was selected at random to win a new car. The possibility that the contestant could punt, pass and kick their way to a new car was remote but it still was fun to have the dealership join in the festivities.

Plans for Christmas in the Village are well on their way to completion with Mary Ruple and John DeBault taking the lead. The Vicksburg Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has sponsored the Christmas event for the last four years since the night parade began. Floats are required to be decorated with Christmas lights. The many fire engines that show up sport lights and sirens for what has become a huge village attraction, growing to an estimated three to four thousand visitors. It is scheduled for Saturday, December 12. Float applications are available on the DDA’s web site.

Schoolcraft’s Christmas Walk, which is a tradition on the first Friday and Saturday of December, is being organized by Deb Christiansen and Kelly Bergland again this year. They have taken over the event and have organized it to a high level. It was started 31 years ago by Norma Tackett.

Melissa Sparks’ Mom

The heart and soul of the Vicksburg Theatre program is not just the director, Melissa Sparks, but her mother Susan Leininger, better known to the students as Mama Len. She is a combination cheerleader, set designer and costume maker par excellence. At dress rehearsal for the play Frozen, Jr. on Thursday night, October 24, she was sewing up costumes in the Green Room and all of a sudden started to keel over in cardiac arrest. A volunteer caught her in the midst of the fall or the outcome might have been considerably different.

Kids were cleared out of the room, 911 was called, CPR was started and the AED machine that Coach Lucas Wolhuis quickly located was activated and probably saved her life. They were able to get a heart beat again even before the EMT’s were on the scene. At age 64, it is still a mystery as to what caused the episode, her daughter Melissa says. “It was a team of people coming together to carry on the rehearsal as I went with her to the hospital. The theater family came together. Alumni came back to the school to help with the show which features students from grades four through eight. There were a bunch of little Melissas running around while I was gone. They helped to stage the show as all agreed it must go on. It was like Elsa’s magical powers taking over for me.”

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