It’s here. I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas.
I’m wishing all the wonderful arts organizations in town a great 2009, with sell-out crowds.
I’ve talked to a lot of arts administrators and some of them have expressed concerns not about selling tickets, but getting extra money from patrons who normally give. Paul Pierce of the Springer Opera House said that some patrons who give, say, $1,000 every year are cutting back to maybe $500 this year. And a historic building like the Springer costs a lot of money to maintain. Just the ticket sales won’t cover the costs of heating and cooling the building.
The same goes for the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, which is a huge building.
But attendance is great all over town.
I was talking to Darlene Hughes Kittrell, the RiverCenter’s marketing director. She said she’s been doing a lot of research and read that during the Depression, the only business that made money was the entertainment business.
Recent concerts like Mannheim Steamroller and comedian Ricky Smiley were sell-outs, she said.
So if you forgot someone on your list, you might check with one of the arts organizations and buy a pro-rated season ticket to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Springer Opera House, the Liberty Theatre, Chattahoochee Shakespeare Co. or the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
You’ll be giving a gift of great entertainment and helping out a deserving arts presenter. The volunteers
I know that every time I’m at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, there is a small army of volunteers to help you find your seat, hand you a program or just help out.
Executive director Enoch Morris invited me to the volunteers’ Christmas dinner last week. When I got there, the lobby was empty except for Kittrell.
Darlene and I chatted for a while and then she said, “Let’s go in.”
When I rounded the corner to the Bill Heard Theatre stage, I said, “Holy crap!”
The entire stage was filled with tables and chairs and almost every table was full.
The RiverCenter now has almost 300 volunteers.
The super volunteers are Jeanne Fessenden and Nancy Skaife with more than 1,000 hours each. Jeanne is a former educator, Springer supporter and performer and the mother of new DA Julia Slater. Nancy, even if you don’t know her name, is recognizable by her oversized glasses and wide smile.
Clocking in with more than 750 hours are Jeanette Cauthen, Chuck Fessenden (Jeanne’s husband and Julia’s father), Doug McLeod and Mary Noles.
Congratulations to all, and especially to volunteer coordinator Sandy Mullins. Whoops!
In last week’s To Do, I identified Pat and David Bonaker as sister-and-brother. But actually, Pat is David’s mother!
And I knew that. For some reason, I was thinking about Paula, who is David’s sister. And Pat’s daughter.
I’m sorry, but I’m glad Pat got a chuckle out of it.