Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rush County Players Celebrate 32nd Season

On Saturday August 9, the Rush County Players gathered at the New Salem Lions Club for their Annual Meeting and Hammy Awards Celebration. Following a hog roast, with meat supplied by J & D Meats, and side dishes and desserts supplied by the RCP Board of Directors, the Players held their Annual Meeting.

Outgoing President Bonnie Locchetta opened the meeting, then yielded the floor to Outgoing Treasurer Chante Wells. Chante gave an overview of the financial health of the Players following the 2007-2008 season that included a breakdown of the income and expenses for each show presented last season, income from other sources including working concessions at the RCA Dome, and expenses for items including new windows in the Playhouse, microphone paks, and a new sound system. She also presented the Secretary's report for Outgoing Secretary Rhonda Barton. The Secretary's report included membership information among other items. Outgoing Vice-President Aaron Scholl then took the podium to cover a some proposed changes to the by-laws of the Players, dealing with memberships and Board member eligibility. These changes passed the membership unanimously.

At this time, the directors of the shows from the 2007-2008 season came forward to give a wrap-up report on their shows and present certificates to those who had contributed to their shows in a way over and above the usual. Chante Wells, director of "101 Dalmatians, Kids" presented certificates to Molly Rose, Terri Sipes, Whitley Griffin, and Sharon Scholl. The director of "Big Feet," Lisa Boaz, presented a certificate to Janet Foster. "A Joyful Noise" director, Shelli Griffin, showed her appreciation to Virginia Holdman, Michael Fisher, Matt Amos and Lisa Boaz. Lora Norris, who took on "Fiddler on the Roof," wanted to thank Loys Rees, Steven Locchetta, Billy Myers, and John Conn. The final director of the 2007-2008 season, Aaron Scholl, presented certificates of appreciation to the Rush County Commissioners, Pat Reed, and Matt Griffin.

Outgoing President Bonnie Locchetta gave a brief overview of her time in office, and challenged the incoming Board and the membership of RCP to continue to work with the youth of the community,and to attempt to increase membership, among other items. Then, incoming President Matt Griffin re-iterated many of the points Bonnie had made, committing RCP to continuing to work with youth, and encouraging the membership to join one of several committees to work in several areas. Outgoing Board members Bonnie Locchetta, Aaron Scholl, Chante Wells, and Rhonda Barton were thanked for their 3-year terms of service. The 2008-2009 Board of Directors is: President Matt Griffin, Vice-President Matt Amos, Treasurer Dan Scholl, Secretary Elizabeth Gist, Scott Medd, Sharon Scholl, Merrilyn Lower, Janet Rose, Jeff Wagoner, Becki Paul, Amanda Locchetta, and Lora Norris.

Finally, the directors for the shows to take place in the 2008-2009 season came forward to talk about their shows. Curt Mock, director of season opener, "God's Favorite," was unable to attend, but did send word that his auditions would be held at the Playhouse on Aug. 26 & 27, from 6-9 PM, and showdates would be Oct. 17, 18 and 19 at the Laughlin Center. Jack Harmon, who will be directing "Little Shop of Horrors," also announced his audition dates, which will be in late December at the Playhouse, and show dates, which are Feb.27, 28 and Mar. 1. Chante Wells and Bonnie Locchetta, co-directors discussed their 80's musicale, "Video Killed the Radio Star," audition and show dates to be set. The director of this year's children's production, Becki Paul, then talked about her "Disney Musicale," featuring the music and characters of Walt Disney, also with audition and show dates to be set later. The business portion of the evening was then adjourned.

At this point, the part of the evening everyone had been eagerly awaiting began....the presentation of the Hammy Awards. The Hammys are RCP's version of the Tonys. They are voted on by a top-secret committee, chosen by and known only to the President of the Board of Directors. So, this is not the Board or the Players patting themselves on the back. These awards are chosen by audience members, who go to each show and take notes. Then, at the end of the season, they vote on who they think were the best in each of several categories. The Blue Ribbon committee for the 2007-2008 season chose the following as the best in their respective categories:

Director of the Year----Aaron Scholl, Director of "Sandbag, Stage Left, or One Dead Dolly"
Producer of the Year----Bonnie Locchetta, Producer of "Sandbag, Stage Left, or One Dead Dolly"
Outstanding Musical Performance, Male----Mike Alexander, for "A Joyful Noise"
Outstanding Musical Performance, Female---Janet Foster, for "A Joyful Noise"
Outstanding Lead Actor, Male---Jack Harmon, for playing Judge Roy L. Been in "Sandbag, Stage Left, or One Dead Dolly"
Outstanding Lead Actor, Female---Nikki Calciano, for playing Prosecutor Cling in "Sandbag, Stage Left, or One Dead Dolly"
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Male---Mark Sloan, for his performance as Lazar Wolf in "Fiddler on the Roof"
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Female---Bethany Hancock, for her performance as Hava in "Fiddler on the Roof"
Outstanding Character Portrayal, Male---Matt Amos, for playing Gus the Lovable Doorman in "Sandbag Stage Left, or One Dead Dolly"
Outstanding Character Portrayal, Female---Elizabeth Gist, for playing Gretel Van Cistern in "Sandbag Stage Left, or One Dead Dolly"
Outstanding Technical Achievement---Scott Medd for "Fiddler on the Roof"
Outstanding Set---"Fiddler on the Roof"
Outstanding Costuming---the cast and crew of "101 Dalmatians Kids"
Outstanding Performance by a Juvenile, Male---Steven Locchetta, for Roger in "101 Dalmatians Kids"
Outstanding Performance by a Juvenile, Female---Tia Ruji, for Cruella DeVille in "101 Dalmatians Kids"
Outstanding Ensemble Musical Number---"Awesome God" by the cast of "A Joyful Noise"
Outstanding Non-Vocal Musical Performance---"Great God" by the blacklight dance group in "A Joyful Noise"

The last award given was Trouper of the Year. This award is voted on by the Board of Directors.
This is to recognize someone who has gone “above and beyond” in their work for the Players this past season. Generally, the recipient of this award has worked very hard, and usually for more than one show, in more than one capacity, but has not sought recognition for their efforts. The Trouper of the Year is a living example of what Rush County Players seeks to represent, that “the show must go on” with not only a sense of responsibility and duty, but a smile. This year, the Board recognized Bonnie Locchetta as the Trouper of the Year for her efforts in a variety areas.

The evening then closed out with music and karaoke provided by Kenny Walker. Thanks to the New Salem Lions Club, J & D Meats, Kenny Walker, and those who provided food items for the evening. For more information about Rush County Players, please visit,, call 938-1711 or email

Friday, August 1, 2008


Get jiggy with it!

by Elizabeth Gist ( my bud)

Irish traditions and music have long had a place in Rush County’s community, and August 1’s concert at Riverside Park Amphitheater is just another opportunity for everyone, Irish or not, to celebrate. Mother Grove and the McCabes will headline the Rushville St. Patrick’s Day Committee-sponsored concert, which begins at 7 p.m. WISH-TV news anchor Rick Dawson will emcee the event.

Mother GroveMother Grove and their “kilt rock” sound will open the evening. The group has performed all over the country and has been chosen to perform with Celtic rock powerhouses (Seven Nations, Black 47, Young Dubliners) and mainstream groups (Violent Femmes, Blue Oyster Cult, Berlin). Their unstoppable grooves and multi-layered rhythms dare you to stand still. Their professionalism is indicative of their many years as musicians, and they interact with the crowd at such a level that by evening’s end, you feel like a part of the band.

The McCabes will headline this very Irish event. The group was born in New York, but have played all over the U.S., earning their spot as one of America’s best-loved Irish bands.

The McCabesA host of musicians have passed through the group, including fiddler Matt Mancuso (Lord of the Dance), mandolin player Darryl Conlon (Crossroads), drummers Steve Holloway (Riverdance), Lez Warren (The Cult) and Mike Pardy (The Full Monty). Now with Sean McCabe on vocals, Ryan Cavan (drums), Daniel Paccine (bass), Rick Snell (guitar), and Matt Mancuso back on fiddle, they never rest on their laurels and play at Connolly’s Club on Times Square in NYC, New York’s biggest and newest Irish music revue.