Rotary holds picnic in park to benefit Montgomery Theater
More than a dozen Harleysville Rotary members volunteered their time last Saturday at Souderton Community Park in a fundraising effort to support Montgomery Theater. Like a true Rotarian, each one said they were there because they provide “service over self.”
“This is why we’re Rotarians, it’s all about giving and giving to those in need,” said Rotarian membership chairman and past President Frank Romano. “If we find a need in our region, we’ll do whatever possible to fix it.”
Over the last six years, the Harleysville Rotary has been supporting Montgomery Theater and their youth workshops by donating $1,000. This money helps assist nearly 100 youths who participate in one or multiple workshops throughout the year.
Saturday, Aug. 4 offered an opportunity for the community to chip in as well, as the Rotary hosted its first picnic in the park highlighted by a free pig roast catered by Towamencin-based Pigs and Gigs.
All of its fixings — macaroni and cheese, potato salad, homemade gravy and BBQ sauce, beverages and hot dogs — were available to eat to all who attended. A donation
was requested to support the theater.
“[The Rotary] believes in theater and our youth program,” said Montgomery Theater rtistic director and cofounder Tom nuinn. “Many of them have come to shows to support us, some are even season subscription holders.”
Youth programs at Montgomery Theater began eight years ago called the Young Actors Workshop, also known as “YAW.” It was an after-school program in the spring and fall, which later expanded into additional summer sessions in 2004.
“With the donations it continues to give us the ability to keep top-rated teachers, all of which all are current professional actors with a teaching background,” said nuinn. “Each has credentials, experience and is not a washed-up has-been.”
Parents, grandparents and children came to Souderton Park, having the opportunity to get their faces painted and take home balloon animals from clowns and look through a telescope at the sun and its surrounding galaxies, all while blues/rock group Low T, featuring local web designer and radio host John Ralston, provided hours-worth of live music.
Sitting in the shade under the park’s pavilion, Helen Carpenter, 73, of Lansdale, drove to Souderton with her brother to support the event after reading about it in the newspaper.
“I like coming to the Sundae Concert Series shows and I thought for the cause of the day it was well worth it to come up,” said she. “The food is good, the band is great, it was well worth it because it’s going toward something good.”
The Rotary has hopes of making this an annual event, ultimately raising $10,000 to fully pay for the youth’s entire workshop. During Saturday’s event, the Rotary raised more than $1,000.
“One of your biggest chalOHQJHS LS fiQDLQJ DRQRRS DQD money to support out programs,” said Montgomery Theater board member ChrisWLDQ 0RIfiWW.
0RIfiWW CRQWLQuHD WR H[SODLQ that state and federal funding has been completely eliminated from the theater for the past three years.
“The Pennsylvania Counsel of the Arts is still a pipeline for us,” he said. “To see the Rotary has faith and believes in us really means a lot.”
To learn about Montgomery Theater’s youth programs, visit www.montgomerytheater.org. To help assist the Harleysville Rotary and its efforts, visit http://harleysvillerotary.org.
Members of the Rotary Club of Harleysville serve up food to help raise money for Montogomery Theater’s youth workshops.
Artistic Director Tom Quinn shares information on Montgomery Theater’s youth workshops.
Low T plays Saturday, Aug. 4 during the picnic in Souderton Community Park.
Jocelyn Heverly looks at the sun through the telescope at the picnic at Souderton Community Park Saturday, Aug. 4.
Frank Romano, of the Rotary Club, takes a glimpse of the sun, given by amateur astronomer Vince Sheetz.