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
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 childrens 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 childrens 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
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
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 1920s. She becomes the legal guardian of her
orphaned nephew, and Mames 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
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 Palette and Brush Clubs 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, Childrens Theatre Workshop, attracted
many who had worked with Childrens performances and those
who aspired to direct childrens 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 Gatsbys 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
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
On September 9-11, the Little Theatre group presented Youre
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.