President’s Report: K-W Silver Stars 2019
This was a year of rebuilding. At the end of last year we said goodbye to Heather Morris after 12 years of wonderful service as our President and our Music Director. Heather finished on a high note. The big show last year was “Did I Tell You This Before?”. It included other performing groups and all of us together raised enough money to give a $10,000 cheque to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
It was a great time for the Silver Stars to shine and a lot of our success was because of Heather Morris and Brenda Schneider, our director. Behind the scenes, Ene Billings choreographed the show. I mention that show because it was a high water mark for Silver Stars and typical of the kind of season we had been doing for a number of years – a big show followed by a small tour to retirement homes.
In the months following that event, the Executive looked long and hard at our existing resources. It sas time to scale down our output. Ken Frid spent a day in the basement of the DCC and threw out sets that we would never ever use again. Recently we donated lots of costumes that were being kept at the home of the late Dr. Charlie Bateman, our long time supporter.
More especially, we looked at our membership. Currently we do not have the numbers to do another big show like the Alzheimer show. Our pool of active members is much smaller. Our backstage team is smaller yet. Fewer come out for auditions in recent years. And the membership is getting older. They love to see our shows. But a smaller group are able to perform in them any more.
The remedy? We decided to do a year of touring shows. A block in May and another in October. The shows are an hour long. Everyone in the show gets to do one or two songs, and some narration… For all involved it is a much smaller workload and a lot more fun.
Touring in the daytime eliminates our members who have jobs. That was a hard decision, but we had to shrink the mandate to something that works, given our present reality. Unless a large number of performing arts people in their 60’s retire and choose us over the local choirs and semi-professional theatre companies, this is our new season – two months on the road – one or two outings a week. And a public performance or two for charity. This year we donated to Kids Ability. Jerry has the numbers.
We are a small group: Seniors Entertaining Seniors. We have found a niche in the entertainment scene in the region and all things considered, we are well-received and popular. Except for juggling calendar dates with each other and with the retirement homes, we find both the spring and fall blocks booked. If you are happy with this plan, we are happy to continue.
The show is now using the generic title “Show Stoppers” and changes theme slightly every year. One year we feature the history of the song. The next, we look at the history of the singer. Next year we hope to add Show Stopper comedy bits like “Who’s On First?” and some Burns and Allen routines.
We purchased a new sound system this year. It runs on Bluetooth technology. It’s easy to set up and I can run the show off my phone. It’s already proven to be a valuable resource. In another year it will have paid for itself and the future looks bright.
Performing at Nursing and Retirement Homes prevents our Members who still have day jobs from participating. So to compensate, we’ve added a social entertainment element to Silver Stars on the Last Friday of every month. Kathryn will talk about that in her report.
We have 29 paid up memberships, plus 3 new members we picked up this spring. We lost 3 members this year, Good Double, who was a founding member of the Silver Stars, Sam Ducklow, and Dr. Charlie Bateman.
We are still active with a website: kwsilverstars.ca. Many of our members do not always go on-line to check out that site all the time, but the pictures from our shows are there. The history of the group is there. And notices of Upcoming Events are posted regularly. As far as our presence on Facebook, nothing is happening there.
We enjoy the support of the City of Kitchener and the City of Waterloo. Without their help, our little company could not possibly afford places to meet and rehearse, photocopy our papers and receive the best in professional advice as a community group. Thanks to Sandy Hrubik for giving us her time, especially on a Saturday to conduct our elections. And for so many other helps and supports. At every Arts meeting I go to in the Region, storage and rehearsal space are the premium concerns. So, we are very lucky both cities take care of us. Thanks to the staff at the KDCC for always being there for us.
I am really blessed to have this Executive. In our first few meetings we agreed to divide up the work so no one person is saddled with too much. And they have kept to that all this year. And as far as I can see, no one is burned out. Around the Executive table or on the road, everyone shares the workload. It’s a real team effort and I have many helpers to remind me of stuff I forget. I’m very lucky.
Submitted by Peter Mansell. President. K-W Silver Stars. AGM 2019.