1966-1968 1969-1974 1975-1976 1977-1978 1979-1982
1983-1986 1987-1990 1991-1993 1994-1996 1997-1999
2000-2002 2003-2004 2005-2006 2007-2008 2009-2010

History 1977 —1978
Plans for Expansion

At the Annual Meeting of the Society, Jerry Hartley was elected President. During the business session there was also a discussion of the need for building an addition to the Cultural Center. However, these plans were not to reach fruition for another four years, and then they were to be made possible only by a magnificent bequest from a Centralia citizen who during her lifetime had not been a part of the Centralia Cultural Society—Beulah Puffer.
In late December and early January, the Palette and Brush Club had exhibits at Universal Packaging Company and World Color Press.
The Little Theatre Players presented “Barefoot in the Park” on January 14, 15, 16, 20, 21 and 22 at the Cultural Center. Sherm Doolen directed this three act hilarity.
“Topics in Community Theatre,” a one day workshop, was held on Saturday, February 26, 1977. Sponsored jointly by the Cultural Society and the Illinois Arts Council, the workshop was designed to meet some of the basic informational needs of Community Theatre.
Workshop topics included lighting and sets, technical crews, selecting, developing, directing a play, and public relations. This was another of the many invaluable services provided by the Illinois Arts Council.
The Philharmonic Orchestra presented a Variety Concert on March 20 at the Center. The Orchestra, under the direction of James Loomis, featured numbers from The King and I, Mary Poppins, Man of La Mancha, They also played Hugo Alfren’s “The Swedish Polka”, and Scott Joplin’s, “Maple Leaf Rag.”
On April 24, the Choral Society, directed by Joan Wham, presented Brahms’ “A German Requiem.” Mary Lou Wiggs and David Stedelin played an arrangement for two pianos by Leonard Van Camp.
Members of the Philharmonic Orchestra also participated in a chamber group which accompanied the 55 voice chorus. The concert was held at the First Baptist Church.
The Little Theatre Players presented the mystery farce, “The Gazebo”, in May at the Cultural Center. Marge Matthews was the Director.
In early May, Merle Rogers, an officer in the First National Bank, notified the Board of Directors that Beulah Puffer, who had died in February, had made the Centralia Cultural Society the principal benefactor of her sizeable estate. Rogers indicated that after all other bequests had been made and administrative costs paid, the money was to be held in trust, with annual interest checks going to the Society. At the current average rate of interest at that time, he estimated that the Cultural Society would receive about $18,000 per annum.
However, as we shall see in a subsequent chapter, he had not been able to foresee the escalating interest rates which would become common in the late 1970’s.
The Philharmonic Orchestra presented their first “Picnic and Pops” Concert on the downtown Mall on Friday, June 3. The program included selections from Show Boat, Sound of Music, a collage of hits from the movies and Broadway hits, and a Sousa march.
George Becoat was a guest soloist. There was also a Dixie Land Band and an emsemble formed from the Choral Society. Table seating and basket dinners were provided for a nominal cost.
The Palette and Brush Club held a “Spring Art Exhibit” on the mall on June 3 and 4. The exhibit featured outstanding works in all media. The members had just completed a joint showing with the members of the Mount Vernon Art Guild. That exhibit was held at W.G. Motors in Mount Vernon as a part of a promotion by the automobile dealership.
In July, the Little Theatre Players presented Godspell, a musical based on the gospel according to St. Matthew. There were 15 songs that included soft rock, gospel, scat songs, soft shoe, sweet folk and swinging hymns.
On July 29 and 30, Dan Curly, a staff member on the University of Illinois faculty, held a poetry workshop at the Cultural Center for Creative Endeavors. Seventeen persons attended the workshop, which was funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council.

On September 23, 1977, Richard Lewis of Winnetka was in Centralia painting a scene of the downtown area. Lewis, called the Painter of American Cities, stationed himself at the corner of Broadway and Locust and did a street scene which shows the office of Newhard, Cook, and Co. and a portion of the wall. Lewis was engaged in painting cities throughout the state as a project sponsored by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. He was commissioned by the the First National Bank of Centralia to do the 36 in. watercolor.
In the fall of 1977, the Cultural Society presented a plaque to Anna B. Smith, honoring her for her service to the community. She had served as an unsalaried secretary of the Society for fourteen years, as well as serving as Production Manager and Costume Designer for a number of productions.
Later in the season, Anna B. was named “Woman of the Year” by the Centralia BPW. She was presented with a silver tray and was invited to ride in a convertible in the Halloween Parade.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra opened its 1977-78 season on Sunday, October 9, under the direction of James Loomis. A new concept for Orchestra supporters was introduced with ensembles featuring members of its brass, woodwind, and string sections. In addition to the ensembles, the Orchestra united and as a single unit, performed an adaptation of Rhapsody in Blue.
The Choral Society presented a Vocal Pops Concert on October 23 at the Cultural Center. The Concert featured folk songs, familiar melodies and nostalgic flashbacks. Joan Wham directed this event.
In October the Palette and Brush Club held their sixteenth annual Fall Art Show. Over 200 works of art, representing 41 artists from eleven communities and three states were on display.
The 17th Christmas Concert was held on December 4. Conductors were David Drillinger, Orchestra; Margaret Sapp, Chorus; Dee Ann Ford, High School Chorus; and Sue Ellen Mooney, Elementary Schools’ Choruses.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra presented a Pops Concert at the center on Feb. 17, 1978. James Loomis was the conductor.
The Palette & Brush club sponsored a workshop for artists at the Cultural Center on March 3 & 4. Walter M. Johnson, Director of Visual Arts at the University of Illinois, was in charge of the workshop. Subjects covered were drawing, perspective, and painting with emphasis on the understanding and importance of color. Members were allowed to bring one painting for evaluation.
The April musical for 1978 was Bye Bye Birdie, under the direction of Viki Oliver. The sounds of “Put on a Happy Face”, “Kids”, “A Lot of Livin to Do” and “One Last Kiss” were heard in performance.
On May 20, the Centralia Cultural Society presented a Brahms-Schumann Concert at the Center. The music was from the Romantic Era of the 19th Century.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra presented “Picnic and Pops Concert II” on the mall on the evening of June 2. They were assisted by an ensemble from the Choral Society and the Centralia Dixieland Band. Table seating and box lunches were included in the price of the tickets.
Also on June 2 and 3 the Palette and Brush Club held their Spring Art Exhibit. The Exhibit featured outstanding works in all media.
The Palette and Brush Club held a demonstration session in conjunction with National Library Week at the Centralia Public Library. Participants were Edna Dobbs, LaVerne Brink, Cliff Bozett, and Lois Carl.
The Little Theatre Players sponsored a series of workshops during the spring of 1978. Conducting the workshops were Brad Vaughn of the Marion Civic Center and Brad Trowbridge, Theatre Director in Residence in Centralia.
In July, The Little Theatre Players presented a two night stand of “There’s No Opry at the Opry House Tonight”. Keith Shaw was the Director.
The Centralia Cultural Society received grants from the Illinois Arts Council totaling $1,075.00. The money was allocated for Creative Endeavors and thePhilharmonic Orchestra.
The 17th Fall Art Exhibit was held on September 29 and 30 in the former Illinois Power Co. building on East Broadway.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra opened its 1978-79 season On October 15 under the direction of James Loomis. The Concert, in addition to several ensembles, featured highlights from the Musical, Annie, with a full orchestra compliment.
In November, the Creative Endeavors held a screening of the film, “The Passenger,” in conjunction with a script writing workshop. The cost of the workshop was $7.50 per person and included admission to the movie as well as a session conducted by Don Zupola, Assistant Professor of Cinematography and Photography at SIU Carbondale.
On November 3, 4, 10 and 11, the Little Theatre Players produced the hilariously, funny comedy, “Harvey”, at the Cultural Center. Director was Robert Cover.
On November 18, the Cultural Society held its second Arts Auction at the Cultural Center to raise funds for its continuing programs. Bill Holzhauer was again the auctioneer. The admission price was $3.00 which could be applied toward the purchase of any auction item. The auction reportedly netted over $5000.00.
The 18th Candlelight Christmas Concert was held on December 3. David Drillinger, Joan Wham, Dee Ford, and Sue Ellen Mooney led the groups.
At year’s end, the Centralia Cultural Society was one of only eleven other organizations in Illinois to receive the First annual Governor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts in Illinois. The Centralia group was the only community organization of its kind to be so honored. A number of Centralia Cultural Society members attended the awards dinner in Chicago. Bill DuPerrieu was chosen to accept the award on behalf of the Cultural Society from Governor James Thompson.

Go To The Next Chapter Of History