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History 1979-82

The 1979 series of cultural treats began on February 24 at the Cultural Center with a Saturday Night Pops Concert given by the Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of James Loomis. The Concert was presented in a nightclub atmosphere with table seating and waitresses serving soft drinks and snack food. The performance consisted of contemporary music, polkas, and specialty numbers.
This musical treat was followed the next day, Sunday, February 25, with a Choral Society Concert at the First Baptist Church. Eight piano combinations were featured. Works included selections for one piano-four hands, two pianos-four hands, and two pianos-eight hands. Participating pianists were David Drillinger, Walter Keller, Sue Mooney, Dorothy Plassman, David Stedelin, Jim Weigel, Joan Wham and Mary Lou Wiggs.
At the annual meeting of the Board of Directors in the spring of 1979, Nate Rothschild was elected President. Individual group presidents, other officers and at-large members were also elected.
In late April and early May, the Cultural Society presented “Little Mary Sunshine” at the Center. This musical comedy was a spoof of the old-fashioned melodrama. Adult tickets remained at $3.00, but all other tickets had been raised to $2.00.
The Centralia Choral Society presented a Mendelssohn-Brahms Choral Concert on Sunday, May 6 in the First Baptist Church of Centralia. The Concert, directed by Joan Wham, included selections from Elijah.
The Palette and Brush Club held their annual Spring Art Exhibit on the downtown mall on Saturday, June 2. The exhibit featured work in all media.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra presented Picnic and Pops Concert II on the mall on Friday, June 15. Guest soloists from a Choral ensemble were a featured part of the Concert. Another musical delight included the Centralia Dixieland Band. David Drillinger was the Conductor. Box lunches and soft drinks were served prior to the Concert.
In July and August of 1979, the Little Theatre Players held a workshop for young people interested in learning all phases of play production. The workshop was open only to those students who had completed grades 6,7, or 8.
The Velveteen Rabbit, a full length children’s play, was presented in September at the Centralia Cultural Center. The play was presented under the auspices of the Little Theatre and was a culmination of the summer workshop for children.

1979 rehearsing a duet for the children’s musical are Peter Reynolds, the skin horse, and Craig Bland.

The Cultural Society hosted an open house for friends, members, and patrons on October 6 at the Cultural Center. Member organizations provided musical entertainment and put art works on exhibition. Refreshments were served and representatives were on hand to answer questions and give tours of the building. The event was a part of Arts Week in Illinois.
In October the Cultural Society also received grants from the Illinois Arts Council totaling $9330.00. In addition to funds set aside for operating expenses, money was allocated for the Choral Society and the Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Palette and Brush Club sponsored the 18th Fall Art Show in downtown Centralia on October 13 and 14. Don Davis, Chairman of the Art Department of SIUE, was the judge and scheduled a critique session afterwards.
The Choral Society presented a variety show, “Say It With Music”, on October 13 and 14 at the Cultural Center. The show featured dance numbers, a sing-a-long, a barber shop quartet and gospel numbers. Lois Dace directed this event.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra opened the 1979-80 season on Sunday, October 28, under the direction of James Loomis. The opening concert featured several ensembles in addition to a full orchestra. The 19th Christmas Candlelight Concert captured the spirit of the holidays on December 2 in the Centralia High School Auditorium. David Drillinger wielded the baton for the Orchestra, while Joan Wham led the Chorus. Dee Ford had the High School Chorus and Sue Mooney the Junior High group. The program was a combination of modern and traditional holiday favorites.
In December Walter Shipp was elected President. A former mayor of Centralia, Mr. Shipp had long been a tireless worker in community affairs.
The first activity of the Cultural Society of 1980 was the presentation of the Springfield Ballet Company in The Nutcracker Suite. Presented at the High School Auditorium on January 19, the ballet depicts a traditional Christmas of gift-giving and celebrations. It contains a suite of spectacular dance variations, culminating in the famous “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of James Loomis, presented a “nightclub atmosphere” concert on March 21 at the Cultural Center. The performances featured contemporary music, polkas, and specialty numbers. Soft drinks and snack foods were available.
On March 16, the Choral Society presented the second and third sections of the very well-known Messiah. The Concert, given at the First United Presbyterian Church, was under the direction of Evelyn Grant.
The annual spring musical, Mame, opened on May 9 in the CHS Auditorium. This hilarious musical comedy is the story of a well-to-do-irresponsible woman of the 1920’s. She becomes the legal guardian of her orphaned nephew, and Mame’s ingenious methods of child-rearing make the story unforgettable.
The Palette and Brush Club held their annual Summer Art Exhibit on the downtown mall on Saturday, June 7. The show again featured outstanding works in all media by members of the Club.
The Little Theatre Players scheduled “The Roar of Grease Paint-The Smell of the Crowd,” a two act musical comedy, for July 25, 26, 27 and August 1 and 2. This production was billed as a story of life, a sort of Laurel and Hardy set to music.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra presented Picnic and Pops Concert IV on the downtown mall on Friday, August 15. The Concert included a Choral ensemble and a German band. Table seating and box dinners were provided.
The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra opened its twentieth season on October 17 in the Cultural Center. Under the direction of James Loomis, the Orchestra presented a special Celebration Concert featuring ensembles as well as a full orchestra. A champagne reception followed the performance.
The Palette and Brush Club’s Fall Art Fair was held on Friday and Saturday, October 17 and 18. Ribbons were awarded at the conclusion of the exhibit and a critique followed.
The 1980 season concluded with the traditional Candlelight Christmas Concert in December.
The 1981 season opened with a one day workshop at the Cultural Center. This session entitled, Children’s Theatre Workshop, attracted many who had worked with Children’s performances and those who aspired to direct children’s plays.
The first big event of 1981, was the presentation of “Fiddler on the Roof,” on March 20, 21, 22, 27 and 28. The setting for this production was a little Russian village called Anateuka. The musical, which had a long running on Broadway, featured many nostalgically familiar and beautiful songs which delighted the audince.
Close on the heels of the spring musical came “Bus Stop” on April 28. Presented by the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky, it was co-sponsored by the Centralia Cultural Society and the Community and Educational Arts Association.
In the summer of 1981, the Society held a raffle to raise funds for the organization. The winning ticket provided a vacation trip to Hawaii for two. The vacation package included four nights in Waikiki and three nights in Maui. Other parts of the prize included a holiday tote bag, round trip transportation from the airport to the hotel, continental breakfasts, a Honolulu city tour, sightseeing at Lao Valley and Lahaua Valley, and round trip air transportation. Only 250 tickets at $20 each were sold. The drawing was held on August 15 at the Center, with the lucky ticket going to a couple from Springfield, IL.
In December 10 1981, the Cultural Society choral group initated a new type of entertainment, the Madrigal Dinner. The first Olde English Madrigal Dinner was held at Gatsby’s on December 18 and 19. Tickets for the musical feast were $17.50 per person and were not refundable. Guests were accomodated on a reservation basis only and were seated at tables of six. The menu included wassail, English prime rib of beef, Yorkshire pudding and flambe dessert. The ornate sixteenth century costuming and the herald trumpeteers recreated an authentic Renaissance royal banquet. Other instrumentalists played brass, recorders and harpsichord. A twelve voice group rounded off the Madrigal ensemble.
In other news of the year, E.E. “Bud” McMillan was elected President of the Cultural Society at the annual meeting of the Board of Directors.
The spring musical selected for 1982 was Guys and Dolls, which was presented at the High School Auditorium, with opening night slated for May 8. The annual crowd pleaser was also held over the next two weeks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On May 22, Rebecca Markowski, presented her violin students in a recital at the Cultural Center. Miss Markowski had been teaching violin for several months in a continuing education program sponsored by the Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Palette and Brush Club presented their annual Spring Art Show on the downtown mall on June 5. Ribbons were awarded in various categories.
On September 9-11, the Little Theatre group presented “ You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Cultural Center. The musical was based on the Charles Schulz cartoon characters. On September 17, 18, 24 and 25, the Cultural Society presented “Folk, Western and Country Jamboree” at the Center. Sponsored by the Choral Society, the program traced the history of that type of music from its origins to the present.
On October 2 and 3, the Palette and Brush Club presented their Fall Art Show. As usual, the event was open to all area artists and featured critical reviews of various exhibits by a professional artist.
The late fall months, as usual, were filled with activities. The Centralia Philharmonic Orchestra opened the season with a concert on November 7. This was followed by the 22nd annual Christmas Concert on December 5. The second Elizabethan Madrigal Feast was held on December 15 and 17 at Meadow Woods Country Club.

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