About 7:30 a.m. on July 25, Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland read a proclamation honoring Springer Opera House artistic director Paul Pierce for his 25th season in his position. Westmoreland read the proclamation on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
It was broadcast on C-Span.
It came about by Cameron Bean, the Springer director of development and Theresa Garcia, one of Westmoreland's aides. Garcia is a graduate of the Springer Theater Academy.
"To say Paul was passionate about his job is an understatement,” Westmoreland said in the proclamation. “He expanded the artistic mission of the Springer Opera House and took its potential to new heights.”
The proclamation was framed and given to Pierce at the Springer’s State Theater Gala Saturday night. Bean and Garcia came on stage and introduced the C-Span video.
It wasn’t the only surprise Satuday night. Pierce announced another granite star would be installed in the Springer's Walk of Fame in the sidewalk in front of the theater.
The new star recognizes Hal Holbrook, who performed his signature "Mark Twain Tonight!" in 1989 and 2003 on the Springer stage. The center of the star has a medallion that honors someone important in the preservation of historic theaters. Holbrook's star honors his late wife, Dixie Carter. Carter played Julia Sugarbaker in "Designing Women."
She saved historic buildings near her hometown of Huntingdon, Tenn. The buildings were renovated into a theater, now called the Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center.
"The person who would be most thrilled about this would be Dixie Carter,” Holbrook said.
Other stars and honorees recognized on the Walk of Fame are Truman Capote (1979) and Janice P. Biggers, Oscar Wilde (1882) and F. Clason Kyle, Lily Langtry (1888) and Laurie "Dusty" Wellborn and Ethel Barrymore (1931) and Dorothy W. McClure.
“The Walk of Fame is intended to be educational, so that even people walking by the Springer will learn about some of the famous personalities who have appeared at the State Theater of Georgia,” Pierce said.
Saturday night's gala was also a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the McClure Theatre, which will be the children’s theater. The campaign to raise funds for the new theater was initiated by a $3 million donation from McClure. The total capital campaign is $11.5 million.