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Nearly Sold Out Show Raised 1500 Dollars for LEAP!

On Saturday, September 8, 2018 Messiah Lutheran Church held its annual Dinner Theater Fundraiser.  Over 150 people were in attendance (and on the stage) for the event whose proceeds will support LEAP Academy, a recently established educational non-profit working to improve the lives of children in area local schools.   It’s estimated over $1500 was raised between ticket sales and the free-will “tip jar.”  With twenty tables of eight being sold, the day before the show, only five unsold tickets remained. Thankfully, several of the musicians who bought tickets went with “to-go” boxes for after the show so one of the 20 tables could be cleared, giving extra room in the Parish Hall.  

Set In the “Historic Woodtick Theater”…

This year’s show was the brain-child of member Bob Gustafson,  who conceived and produced the country-western “Saturday Night Radio Show Hour”  set at the historic (and fictitious)  Woodtick Theater, just a few minutes outside of Nashville broadcast (also fictitiously) on WHAT  AM Radio (1517 on yer’ Lutheran Dial).    The music revue featured members and friends of Messiah Lutheran Church singing a variety of classic country and western songs.   Messiah’s “Country Combo” band, led by Ric Birdsong,  provided the accompaniment for the night for all songs except for the pre-recorded songs by Messiah’s “crooner-in-chief” Don Palmer whose whereabouts remain unknown.

View the “Choir Goes Country”  program

So if you missed it, Please Enjoy the video of “The Choir Goes Country” above!    Author’s note:  Regrettably,  the quality on the audio of the video does not adequately capture how well everyone sang and played!  Lacking professional video editing software, it was the best that could be done in short turn-around. That said, it does accurately sound like an AM radio show being listened to on an ole’ transistor radio. 

(03:00) Give Me That Old Time Religion    (African-American Spiritual)
MLC Vocal Ensemble

(05:57)Prop Me Up Next to the Jukebox   by Joe Diffie
Recorded by Don Palmer

(10:35) Walkin’ After Midnight  – Alan W. Block
Laura Peterson with MLC Vocal Ensemble

(13:30) Take Me Home, Country Roads  – John Denver
Gerry Myers with MLC Vocal Ensemble

(17:20) Cool Water – Bob Nolan
Neely Family Singers

 (22:16) Funny Gal Jean Stuart with a joke about Heaven.

(23:25) Jackson Billy Edd Wheeler and Gaby Rogers
Audrey and Bob Gustafson

(27:00) Always On My Mind – Hank Williams
Andrew King with Ensemble

(31:00) Crazy – Willie Nelson
Anisa Montgomery

(34:21) – It’s Time to Pay Some Bills Messiah Lutheran Church Radio Ad
Terry Frakes, Announcer with MLC Ensemble,  Jean Stuart

– Intermission – 

36:31) Entr’acte – Arranged by Ric Birdsong
Country Combo: Ric Birdsong, Group Leader and Rhythm Guitar; Paul Zutter, Bass Guitar; Lois Graff, Keyboard; Rob Alferink, Percussion

(38:36) Ring of Fire  –  June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore
Recorded by Don Palmer

(41:42) “Musical Knowledge” with Announcer, Terry Frakes

(43:45)You Are My Sunshine  – Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell
Dick Azzam with Rebecca Kollmeyer

(46:18) Grandma’s Feather Bed  – John Denver
Laura Peterson, with MLC Vocal Ensemble

(49:38) Funny Gal Jean Stuart on Football

(51:07)Your Cheatin’ Heart – Hank Williams
Rebecca Kollmeyer

(54:04) Foolin’ Round – Harlan Howard and Buck Owens
Natalie Tidwell

(57:25) Amazing Grace – Arranged by Randall Fields
MLC Vocal Ensemble

CAST and OTHER PERSONNEL (not mentioned above) 

 Chorus Director:  Randall Fields

Technical Director: Paul Zutter

Radio Station Engineer:  Lee Seitz

Sound and Lighting Assistants:  Stephen and William Strand

Stage Hand: Jacob Huwaldt

Singers:  Adam Neely, Anisa Montgomery, Art Rockett, Audrey Gustafson, Andrew King, Barbara Azzam, Dick Azzam, Gerry Myers, Heather Neely, Jan Murphy, Larry Frakes, Laura Peterson, Marc Neely, Linda Zutter, Natalie Tidwell, Aleksey Smith, Bob Gustafson, Rebecca Kollmeyer

Posters, Publicity, Program, and Tickets: Meredith Kilby

Woodtick Theater Decorations and Table Décor: Linda Zutter

The Menu Featured “Down-Home” Southern Favorites

Leading the kitchen for the event was Messiah member  Greg “The Gourmand” Kilby who planned and prepared the meal served to over 150 guests and musicians with the generous help of over the dozen or volunteers who made pies, bundled beans, stirred grits and anything else on Greg’s get-er-done list from Friday afternoon through Saturday at 6 p.m. 

After the show, Greg admitted,  “It was challenging having so many items on the menu needing to be done at the last minute, but with such great help in the kitchen, everything turned out really well!”

Thanks to everyone who pitched after the show to help clean up the Parish Hall and kitchen after the show.

Here’s what was served.

Hot, Fresh Buttermilk Biscuits
Mini-Wedge Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Kettle Chips
Sweet-Tea Barbecue Chickin
Parmesan-Monterey Jack Grits with Sausage and Peppers
       Chef’s note: No self-respectin’ Southner’ uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits!
Pork-n-Beans (fresh green beans bundled with prosciutto slices)
Pecan, Chess, or Apple Pie

Here are a few photos from the evening!

Thank you to everyone who supported the event!