Zionsville Monthly-October 2023

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John Stehr: Zionsville’s Next Mayor on Moving Zionsville Forward This month, Zionsville Monthly is pleased to feature Zionsville’s next mayor John Stehr on the cover. This is Stehr’s second cover story with our publication. We featured him in our September 2017 issue after recovering from a health scare. Stehr used his experience to inspire folks to stay on top of and be advocates for their own health. We sat down with Stehr, a 28-year resident of Zionsville and retired television broadcast journalist, to discuss his immediate and longterm goals as mayor. Writer // Janelle Morrison • Cover photo // Trevor Ruszkowski

6 The ZSI Holiday Home Tour Is a Zionsville Tradition 8 Join Us in Supporting the Zionsville Education Foundation 10 Center Presents: Jon McLaughlin & Friends: Home for the Holidays 12 Carmel Symphony Orchestra Promises Exceptional Concerts This Holiday Season!

14 Civic Theatre Presents: “Elf the Musical” 18 Zionsville Community High School Proudly Presents: “Rock of Ages” 22 SullivanMunce Cultural Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary!

ZIONSVILLE MONTHLY PUBLISHER / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / Neil Lucas neil@collectivepub.com / 317-460-0803 PUBLISHER / Lena Lucas lena@collectivepub.com / 317-501-0418 DIRECTOR OF SALES / Lena Lucas lena@collectivepub.com / 317-501-0418 HEAD WRITER / Janelle Morrison janelle@collectivepub.com / 317-250-7298

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T h e Z S I H o l iday H o m e To ur i s a

Zionsville Tradition Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of ZSI

The annual “Carol of Homes” Holiday Home Tour, presented by Zionsville Show Choirs (ZSI), is a longstanding Zionsville tradition that sets the tone and tenor for the holiday season! This year’s home tour will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.


or the past decade, this event has featured beautifully decorated homes as well as performances by talented members of Zionsville Show Choirs (ZSI), currently under the direction of co-directors Sam Chenoweth and Deana Broge. The Holiday Home Tour is not only a wonderful Zionsville tradition but also a significant fundraiser for the organization. The event’s purpose is to support ZSI’s programs and ensure their continuation in 2024.

Make the “Carol of Homes” a Tradition for Your Family and Friends Both Chenoweth and Broge shared their thoughts on the annual event, the

impact it has on both ZSI programs and the community at large, as well as their appreciation for the support from the local business community. “For the last decade, this [event] has been an annual tradition where groups of students [representing ZCHS Royalaires and Choralaires] perform in six decorated homes in different areas of the community,” Broge explained. “The students prepare their pieces on their own as part of the class and then they audition [these pieces] for us. Some of the students will be performing in these homes, and others will be greeting the guests as they enter the homes. It has become a really solid fundraiser for us and a wonderful Zionsville tradition.”




Chenoweth added, “It’s fun for our kids to do something different than what their normal task list includes. This is the only time of the [school] year where they can prepare a number and it’s not a full ensemble. It’s a good change of pace for our kids in that way.” Both directors shared that they’ve enjoyed listening to the upperclassmen share with the lowerclassmen the wonderful stories about participating in the Holiday Home Tour over many years. They also emphasized the importance of engagement with the community and that the tour gives the students a feeling of inclusion as well as an opportunity to give back to a community that continues to give so much to not only ZSI but to the

Zionsville Community Schools in a myriad of ways. Both Broge and Chenoweth agreed that this level of support for the schools is something Zionsville does remarkably well and often.

“Staci Sullivan and Tamra Craig [event co-chairs] have done a great job this year, and we always appreciate and are just so thankful for all the businesses that support us,” Broge expressed. “We

also appreciate the people that support the local businesses because that enables the [businesses] to continue to support our students.” Chenoweth concluded, “It’s a pretty significant chunk of change [raised] that impacts what we can and can’t do each year. When we put all the numbers together, this event is a big part of that bottom line. So, obviously, the more the merrier, but it’s not lost on us the efforts of the kids, Staci, Tamra and all of the sponsors. There are tangible benefits, [impacting] what we can put on stage from all of their work.” If you’re interested in participating, you can purchase tickets for the Holiday Home Tour to support ZSI students and staff while being part of the festive atmosphere that sustains cherished traditions and helps the community’s talented youth. Purchase your tickets at holidayhometour.net. All proceeds benefit the Zionsville Show Choir as they prepare for competition season!


of Ho H




December 2, 2023

Our 12th annual tour will feature 6 festively decorated homes in Zionsville. Our very own talented show choir students will be performing their favorite holiday songs. All proceeds benefit the Zionsville Show Choirs as they prepare for competition season.


TICKETS $20 Advance tickets available at Fivethirty Home, Great Lakes Ace Hardware, Kern Bros Shoes, -or- from any show choir student.





Student Enrichment Grants, which award funds to school-sanctioned academic, philanthropic or student government teams and clubs. Lastly, the Community Foundation of Boone County provides a generous grant that lets ZEF contribute matching funds for Donors Choose projects.


Zionsville Education Foundation Join Us in Supporting the

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of ZEF

As a parent of two children who have gone through K-12 in the Zionsville Community Schools, it is not only a personal interest of mine to support the Zionsville Education Foundation. As a local reporter who has reported on several of the classroom grants over the years, I have seen first-hand the impact that these grants awarded to teachers and students have on their educational experience at ZCS.

A BRIEF LOOK AT ZEF’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS If you missed this year’s ZEF Bash on Nov. 4, the annual fundraiser for ZEF, not only did you miss a great evening of community, good food and music in support of ZEF, you missed hearing about their latest Classroom Grants enriching STEM, technology, arts, literacy, interdisciplinary, cognitive/motor skills and social sciences curriculums. Examples of recent initiatives funded by ZEF

include laptop programs, equipment for a student-run video production studio, materials supporting a school-wide literature study, and financial support for artists-in-residence. ZEF’s Imagine Professional Development Grants are awarded to experienced educators in our community, promoting professional growth and renewal opportunities. ZEF also supports students involved in extracurricular activities through their




ZEF announced $20,038.55 in grants to ZCS teachers on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. The ZEF prize patrol, consisting of ZEF board members, community Grants Committee members, and ZEF staff, visited classrooms to surprise teachers with the funding for their grant applications. Among the 2023 Fall Classroom Grants, students will gain the opportunity to build and program robots, gather and analyze weather data, learn science and social studies state standards through gardening in an outdoor classroom, immerse themselves in the creation of flipbooks and stop motion animation, and learn the game of disc golf. These creative projects will promote academic excellence this year and for students in future classes.

DID YOU KNOW? Zionsville Community Schools is the lowest-funded public school corporation per student in the state. The funds raised by ZEF are used to help bridge the gap between the basic curricular necessities provided by the state funds and the innovative ideas our educators create to encourage our students to develop into lifelong thinkers. Please join us in supporting ZEF’s mission by becoming a corporate sponsor or an individual donor! Attending fundraising events such as the annual ZEF Bash or donating throughout the year at zionsvilleeducationfoundation.org will help secure future grants and fund academic excellence across the ZCS district. For more information on corporate sponsorship or community merchant support, please contact Julie Bradley by phone at 317-873-8052 or email at jbradley@zcs.k12.in.us. For more information on ZEF or to make an online donation, visit zionsvilleeducationfoundation.org.

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Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of the Center

Hoosier-born singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin will perform original Christmas tunes as well as holiday classics alongside some of his talented friends. The Anderson native has been attracting fans with his heartfelt, hook-filled songwriting and impassioned delivery since his 2007 debut album “Indiana.” He has released several full-length albums in the years since and revealed a true evolution in both his piano playing and singing. McLaughlin has played shows with Billy Joel, Kelly Clarkson and Adele, collaborated with longtime friend Sara Bareilles, co-wrote with Demi Lovato, and even performed at the Academy Awards. Joining McLaughlin for the show will be Leah Marlene, Kris Allen, Sarah Scharbrough and Ryan Ahlwardt. Purchase your tickets before they’re sold out at thecenterpresents.org.

Janelle Morrison: I’m excited to give some love and celebrate some Hoosier talent! Going back to your early years, I read that you began playing at age four or five. Jon McLaughlin: Yep, I’m from Anderson, Indiana — “A-Town” as we call it. I started playing really young. I’m the youngest of three and my family’s very musical on my dad’s side — everybody can play at least one instrument. So, music was always in my house, and my dad was in a band. He met my mom while on tour with his band at one of their shows. There was a piano in our house, and one day after church, I sat at the piano and was sounding out “Amazing Grace” and then my parents set me up with lessons. JM: At what point did you get into songwriting? McLaughlin: I didn’t start writing music until I got into college — while attending Anderson University. I studied classi-

cal piano there with Dr. Randy Frieling, an awesome professor, and that’s what I was doing most of the time up in the practice room — writing songs. If there was any kind of coffee shop “thing” happening on


campus, I would play, and anywhere on campus. And then I started to branch out and was playing down at IU and over at Ball State a little bit. Right after college, I signed with a record label and it went on from there. That was 18 years ago, and my life pretty much looks the same, with the exception that I’m married and have kids — two girls, ages eight and ten! JM: Wow, those are fun ages! McLaughlin: They really are fun ages! My oldest is actually turning 11 the day after this show in Carmel. Maybe we’ll do a little birthday shout-out for her. JM: Absolutely, I think you should! So, last year was the 15th anniversary of your album “Indiana,” and with the events of the last several weeks, I was thinking about your song “Human.” You sing a lyric “hurting instead of healing” and it made me think that this is something that we [humans] are perpetually doing. I think it’s interesting how your song still resonates with people 15 to 16 years later. And I love your insightfulness as you write. It’s a sign of a really great songwriter. McLaughlin: Thank you … that’s very kind. I think the arts help us metabolize and process the world. There’s something cathartic about making music. To this day,

it helps me stay sane, and I think you can’t overstate the importance of the arts to everyone. It bleeds into everything: books, music, visual arts, all of that kind of stuff. The arts are like medicine — and everyone needs a dose. JM: I read that Ben Folds is one of your major influences in addition to Elton John and Billy Joel. McLaughlin: I grew up listening to Elton, Billy, Harry Connick, Jr. and a list of other guys. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know these musicians. But I can literally remember the moment I heard Ben Folds Five for the first time. This sounds hyperbolic, but it changed my life — there was a shift in the world. I had never heard a piano being played like that! I mean, I hear this band, Ben Folds Five, being played on X103 FM [currently ALT 103.3 FM], and back then, X103 was playing Stone Temple Pilots and stuff like that. It was the station that you turned down when your parents came into the room. And this piano player [Ben Folds] was being played on that station! I was

like, “Cool!” I’ve been listening to a steady IV drip of Ben Folds ever since, and he’s inspired me as a piano player. The depth of his musicianship has been a huge influence! JM: You’ve performed with Ryan Ahlwardt (of the group Straight No Chaser) before, but share with us how you two connected. And a few words about your other guest singers who will be joining you at the Palladium, if you don’t mind? McLaughlin: I was doing WZPL’s Jingle Jam in 2008 with Straight No Chaser [and] Plain White Ts at the Egyptian Room in Indianapolis. That was the first time I’d seen a legit acapella group. Eight or nine years later, I ended up on the road with them and Postmodern Jukebox. It was a pretty long tour and I got to know those guys. They’re great, and their show is great. We’re actually managed by the same management team now. I did a Christmas show at the Egyptian Room in 2019 and Ryan came and did a song. It was one of the highlights of the night. Leah Marlene, I’m just a big fan of hers.

I think she’s really awesome and she’s from Illinois, so just a neighbor over. Kris Allen joined our 15th-anniversary “Indiana” tour last year and we did a couple of shows at the Tarkington. He obviously has a great voice — you can’t win “American Idol” without a great voice — it’s so good! He and I are going to do a duet, and then my sister-in-law, Sarah Scharbrough, is a fantastic jazz pianist and singer. She does like a zillion nights at the Jazz Kitchen [Indianapolis], and every other year, I’ve shared a stage with her many times. I’m pumped to hear her on the Palladium stage, though she has played that stage before with the [Carmel] Symphony Orchestra. I’ve never played this room before, and it’s a room that I’ve wanted to play for years so I’m going to be like a kid on Christmas morning that whole evening, not wanting it to ever end! JM: Hopefully, you’ll love it so much that you’ll want to come back and make it an annual tradition with us! McLaughlin: That’s the plan!

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Masterworks 2 The Palladium // Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m. ET Holiday Pops The Palladium // Sunday, Dec. 10 – 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 10 – 7 p.m. ET

David Commanday

Paul Langford


Promises Exceptional Concerts This Holiday Season! Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of CSO and Tyler Core


he holiday season will soon be upon us, and the Carmel Symphony Orchestra is full speed ahead with preparations for two of its most anticipated concerts: Masterworks 2 and Holiday Pops! CSO’s regular patrons already know the tickets for these concerts sell quickly, so don’t wait to purchase your tickets at thecenterpresents.org. I had the honor of speaking with the two guest conductors, David Commanday and Paul Langford, who will be joining CSO’s exceptional musicians for these upcoming concerts. Additionally, I spoke with CSO Executive Director Anne Marie Chastain about the guest artists who will be performing with CSO and her wish to build community through the symphony this holiday season.


The Masterworks 2 concert will be a powerful program featuring an evocative performance of Valerie Coleman’s “Umoja, Anthem of Unity.” This CSO performance will weave together intricate melodies and

rhythms inspired by African and African-American musical traditions, creating a celebration of unity and cultural richness. Following that will be the graceful melodies by Maurice Ravel’s “Tombeau de Couperin” and Charles Ives’s “Variations on America.” CSO symphony musicians will tackle this innovative and daring exploration of the American national anthem. With its surprising twists and turns, Ives challenges the conventional boundaries of orchestral music. Lastly, the program will delve into William Grant Still’s groundbreaking “Afro-American Symphony, No. 1.” This pioneering work, the first symphony by an African-American composer to be performed by a major orchestra, exudes a profound sense of pride and identity. Its blend of African-American folk themes with European classical forms showcases the rich cultural tapestry of America. “We want to provide the audience with an amazing artistic and emotional experience when they come to hear CSO,” Chastain expressed. “Our Veteran’s Day concert [November 11] is an annual performance that is very popular, and this year,


we have added a new piece to the program in partnership with the Great American Songbook Foundation. Guest artist J’lan Stewart was one of the students who participated in the 2023 Songbook Academy and is from Kokomo, Indiana.” Chastain shared that Stewart will be singing “The Impossible Dream.” “That’s kind of the promise of America,” Chastain stated. “To support young people with a dream and the veterans who fought for freedom so that people can live their lives and express themselves [freely]. I feel like supporting an Indiana artist who went through the Songbook Foundation and will be singing with the orchestra is something to celebrate in our community.” J’lan Stewart shared that he is currently studying musical theater and human services at Ivy Tech Community College. He plans on becoming a professional singer and actor. “My greatest goal is to become an inspiring person that people look up to in the world,” Stewart said. “I would like to give thanks to God, who is the head of my life, along with my mother. I would like to say, ‘There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.’” Joining the CSO for the Masterworks 2 concert will be guest conductor David Commanday, who conducted CSO’s opening concert of the current season. Renowned on three continents, Commanday is known for having a vital connection with musicians and audiences. Currently, Commanday is Artistic Director and Conductor of the Heartland Festival Orchestra, Director of Orchestral Activities and Instructor of Cello at Eastern Illinois University, and Music Director of Youth Music Illinois. A graduate of Harvard University, the cellist was a principal at Tanglewood under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, Seikji Ozawa and Aaron Copeland. He has held faculty positions at Harvard University, Boston University and MIT and is currently an artist in residence and on the adjunct faculty at Eureka College. He also founded the

Eureka College Summer Arts Festival, now in its fourth year, and directs a prestigious chamber music series on campus. “The [Carmel] orchestra is playing wonderfully,” Commanday said. “I truly appreciate the spirit of this [Veteran’s Day] program and the meaning of it at this time. We always need to honor our veterans because of all that they do, give and risk. Music, of course, is a great medium for the expression of the sometimes unspoken things … and deep sentiments. This program is actually a love letter to America and has a theme of unity.” Commanday added, “The [Carmel] Symphony is delightful and I’m excited about how this [program] will all come together as an experience for the audience. Every concert is an adventure, just as every piece is a journey. When you combine them into a concert experience, you’re making something that unique, and I think this program will delight and reward the audience.”


At this year’s CSO Holiday Pops concert, get ready to be enchanted by the talents of Ben Davis, Amelia Wray, the Indiana

Ballet Conservatory and the Second Presbyterian Choir. Special guest Mayor Jim Brainard will also be accompanying the CSO French horn musicians. The concert will be led by guest conductor Paul Langford. A Chicago-based singer, arranger, keyboardist, producer and conductor, Langford has a career that spans over 25 years. His works have been performed by vocal and instrumental groups all over the world, including The Chicagoland Pops, West Michigan Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Voices of Liberty, GLAD, Willow Creek Community Church, multiple Disney parks and many orchestras around the nation. He has been a vocal and piano guest artist in studio and live performances with several headline and Grammy Award-winning artists, and he’s been honored to perform for former President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama. Langford is an in-demand music educator, clinician, guest conductor, respected band and vocal ensemble leader, and invited singer with orchestras and a cappella groups across the globe. “It is interesting, the last time I [guest-conducted] this orchestra was

during the pandemic,” Langford recalled. “We were on stage, but there was no audience. We were live-streaming, and it was so strange to be performing to an empty room. I am looking forward to having appreciative people in the seats enjoying the music … it’s going to be great. [The Palladium] is an incredible venue that is visually appealing and beautiful-sounding. It’s a darn near-perfect venue, in my experience. For performers and audience members alike, it’s an aesthetically thrilling experience. Whoever was involved in building and designing this place did a great job!” Langford concluded, “The [Holiday Pops] program has a tremendous variety of music. There’s a lot of classic Christmas music like ‘Sleigh Ride’ by Leroy Anderson and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ by one of our guest singers, Amelia Ray. ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ will be sung by another guest soloist, Ben Davis. The variety is a mixture of old and new, and it’s going to be changing every four minutes so it will be really entertaining and exciting! There’s something for everybody in the show.”






“Elf the Musical” Civic Theatre Presents:

Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Joshua Hasting Photography and Civic

Based on the cherished 2003 New Line Cinema hit, “Elf” features songs by Tony Award nominees, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (“Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway,” “The Wedding Singer”), with a book by Tony Award winners, Thomas Meehan (“Annie,” “The Producers,” “Hairspray”) and Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone”).


uddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t miss out on this exhilarating holiday tradition. Get your tickets at thecenterpresents.org!

JOHN GOODSON — DIRECTOR Elf’s been done a couple of times here at Civic now. We get to kind of put a little different spin on it, so it won’t be exactly the same show as before as it’s coming

from a different lens and from a different director. Anne [Beck] and Brent [Marty] are still bringing all their expertise, so some things will look and sound familiar, but we’re switching things up. I try to come in with a fresh set of eyes, and we’ve got some folks that are new and some that are now in different roles. But they’re all really awesome people that I’m excited that I get to work with. I hope the audience will laugh, have a good time, and leave with a little wonderment and a reminder of what it’s like to be a kid! I would say it’s important to remember the traditions [of the season] but to also create some new ones!

BRETT EDWARDS — BUDDY This is a role that I’ve kind of had circled … whatever chance I got to do this role, I was going to take it. I partially feel excitement but also a responsibility to not just the cast and director but to this role. There’s a sense of responsibility I have to make sure that I


put in all of my effort and to be prepared and ready. This is a movie that my family and I have watched every Thanksgiving, so to play the role [of Buddy] is a real exciting moment for myself and for my family as well! It is my first show here at Civic — I’m one of the fresh newbie actors here, and I’m just getting the feel of not just the show but for Civic as well. I definitely feel this is probably the most physically demanding [role] from a vocal and choreography standpoint. The choreography level is elevated here, and to be able to rise to that has been an exciting challenge so far.

NINA STILABOWER — EMILY HOBBS I was Deb in the 2021 version [of “Elf”], so having the chance to step into the shoes of Emily has been a cool challenge. Having done this show before, I’m very familiar with the content and flow of the show, and while it’s not the same choreography — it’s a bit different — the dialogue and music are always going to

be the same. So, it’s kind of like slipping back into a shoe … it’s just comfortable, and I know what’s in store for us these next couple of months. I think getting to do something different and stretch my acting muscles a bit in a different way is really exciting. And I’m excited to bring that to “Elf” 3.0 in 2023! It’s amazing to see the excitement that has built in just the first few weeks of rehearsals from the top down. Anne, Brent, John, Brett and the rest of the cast … we’re all in this together to put on a great show and have an awesome holiday season. We experience this sort of universal beauty together in one room, and every show is special. I think that’s the joy of being part of a holiday show here at Civic.

JACK TANSELLE — WALTER HOBBS I get to play the role of the person who’s the last one to “get it.” We only get full circle when I finally get there, in my role. So, while my role isn’t nearly


as active or energetic as the other roles, there’s something kind of fun about being that sort of capstone at the end. Where Walter finally comes around and figures it out. I was in this shoe two years ago, and it was the first time I had gotten back on stage in 23 years. My daughter grew up here [Civic]. It was at the fundraising event earlier that summer that somebody randomly said that I should audition with her [Tanselle’s daughter] for “Elf.” So, the last time I did it, there was something personal about it for me. This time around, I’m doing it because it’s a lot of fun, but there’s this other piece … for all that Civic has given to my family and especially my daughter, a place to learn how to show up and learn how to act, sing and dance, I feel compelled to give back to Civic in whatever small way I can. Civic’s leadership is just loaded with immense talent who cares deeply about the arts. If I can be a small piece playing a role in one of the shows as a way of contributing and giving back to Civic … that’s an easy ask, in my opinion.





Buddy – Brett Edwards Jovie – Maggie Lengerich Walter Hobbs – Jack Tanselle Emily Hobbs – Nina Stilabower Michael Hobbs – Jack McNally Santa – Parrish Williams Deb – Nicolette Mantica Macy’s Manager – Jonathan Studdard Mr. Greenway – Joe Beck Chadwick – Jacob Smitherman Matthews – Sydnie Blair Sam– Luke Robinson Tiara – Amelia Schoeff


Noah Achterberg Isabella Agresta Kaycee Beck Teyler Benton Nate Boyce Quincy Carman Melina DeGolyer Jackson Duncan Leslie Gaudreau Jess Hackenberg Claire Kashman Drew Kempin Jennie Kistner Tanner McCormick-Messer Kelsey McDaniel Melissa Mellinger Chris Ritchie Luke Robinson Olive Rozzi Ragen Sanner Amelia Schoeff Parker Taylor






civictheatre.org | 317.843.3800 15

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Zionsville Community High School Proudly Presents:

“Rock of Ages”

Dates: Nov. 16 – 18 Location: Star Performing Arts Center ZCHS Choral & Musical Theater Director: Sam Chenoweth This musical, which has been nominated for five Tony Awards, tells a story of romance, music and determination on the iconic Sunset Strip. It revolves around a small-town girl and a city boy who find love amid the rock ‘n’ roll scene. The plot takes an interesting turn when the rockcentric bar they love is threatened with demolition. To preserve both the venue and the music they cherish, the aspiring rockers and their friends must come together.


he musical is known for its energetic and electrifying score, featuring classic rock anthems and powerful ballads that defined the ‘80s. Some of the notable songs you can expect to hear include “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” “Here I Go Again,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and many more. “Rock of Ages” is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a trip back in time to the ‘80s and relive the era’s iconic music. Don’t miss out on this exciting musical experience! Get your tickets at zionsvillepac.org!

Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Scott Clark



I am a huge music nerd, specifically 1980s music, so a lot of these songs I really liked before the musical and I’m loving the rock concert vibe that’s going on. We’re telling a really fun, good story, but I really like the focus on how each song is being interpreted in this musical. And I’m loving taking on this free-spirited character. My favorite number of the moment is “[Come on] Feel the Noise,” which is the opening number. It’s a fun introduction to the show and it really tells the audience this is not a normal musical. You’re about to watch a rock concert with some dialogue! It’s a great way to feature the ensemble groups that we have and also introduce the specific characters. It’s just a lot of fun and it’s really good music. We’re having a really good time with it!

I love Sherrie so much! I love playing this character! She’s so excited and wide-eyed to be in this environment of pure music and rock. She’s so unlike anything I’ve ever played before. I can connect with her in the way that she’s young and loves music. The style of music — the ‘80s rock style — is a challenge for me because it is unlike anything I’ve ever had to sing before. It’s very different from what I’m used to. I really like “Harden My Heart/Shadows of the Night.” It’s one I had not heard before this show, and I just love singing it. I hope the audience can connect to the music and experience it in a different way than they have before. And connect the story to it rather than just listening to the beat of the song, but to really understand what the songs mean when put into context.





COLE SULLIVAN [JUNIOR] DREW BOLEY This is the first character that I’ve ever [played], and unlike Anne and Nina, who have both done so many musicals before, I have a clean slate. I don’t have any past characters that I kind of have to dust off and build something new again. I like that Drew is kind of my foundation, and I can relate to the guy so much. Drew is the guy who makes the cheesiest joke and is kind of a cornball. I’m proud of the cast as a whole and how far everybody’s taking their parts — doing so much extra research. Every rehearsal is a step in the right direction. These are all classic songs, so I love that we’re keeping the tradition and also putting our own spin on it in the way that Zionsville [Community High School] always does.

Lonny Barnett — Nina Abel Drew Boley — Cole Sullivan Sherrie Christian — Anne Nooning Justice Charlier — Phoebe Sidebottom Anita Bath — Claire Kauffman Denise Dupree — Addie Coons Stacee Jaxx — Matt Nelson Hertz Klinemann — Matthew Orbaugh Franz Klinemann — Thomas Murray Janessa Gill — Clara Keiper Mayor — Austin Lizama Joey Primo — Darren Washington Sherrie’s Father — Jonathan Fisher Sherrie’s Mother— Eve Hodges Constance Sack — (Carly Benner) Waitresses/ Dancers Chloe BeMiller Dancers (Claire Kauffman) *Savannah McCarthy Ella Robinson (Phoebe Sidebottom) Meredith Stehr Camille Twitchell ROCKERS Chase Beck (Jacob Craig) (Jonathan Fisher) Micah Hundley (Austin Lizama) (Darren Washington) Mugger — (Jacob Craig) Record Producer #1 — (Micah Hundley) Record Producer #2 — (Chase Beck)

RIOTERS *Carly Benner Maddie Callahan Emma Foltz Ashlynne Forbush Libby Goben Lauryn Herbon Meredith Herbon (Eve Hodges) (Clara Keiper) Ivey Lancaster Lola Miles Morgan Palanacki Mikaili Patterson Brooklyn Stockwell Ivy Turnquist Jackson Coleman Jacob Craig Austin Hartman Tyler Mimms Jonas Viskanta PROTESTORS Alyssa Bagley Allison Bowman Claire Casavant Talia Diffendal Eliza Graefinitz Gabriella Greenberg Claire Henkle Marianne Moss Anne Roberts Ana Yiannoutsos *denotes dance captains (__) denotes multiple roles

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It’s been a little hard the last few years, and it’s been dysfunctional — there’s a lot of reasons for that. I looked at those [reasons] and thought that if we just communicated better with one another, it would make a big difference. Then a light bulb went off and I thought, well, that’s what I’ve done my whole adult life … I’ve been in the communication business. I believe that I have something to add in that regard and I think I can make a difference.” Stehr added, “I think we all agree that Zionsville is growing, but we want that growth to be controlled and we want that growth to work for us, not overwhelm us.”

John Stehr

Zionsville’s Next Mayor on Moving Zionsville Forward Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // TR22 Photography

This month, Zionsville Monthly is pleased to feature Zionsville’s next mayor John Stehr on the cover. This is Stehr’s second cover story with our publication. We featured him in our September 2017 issue after recovering from a health scare. Stehr used his experience to inspire folks to stay on top of and be advocates for their own health.


tehr, a 28-year resident of Zionsville and retired television broadcast journalist, is running on the Republican ticket, unopposed, in the Nov. 7 general election. We sat down with Stehr, who discussed his immediate and long-term goals as mayor. Why Politics? Why Now? “Shortly after I retired at the end of 2019, I joined the parks board,” Stehr said. “I joke about this, but it is true: if you’re retired and you can stand in the mud while talking to some contractors at 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, they make you an officer [of the board] pretty fast. So, I became vice president shortly after joining the parks board and then became president shortly after that. I do appreciate the role

that you can play in the community and moving the community forward. We’ve had a tremendous couple of years with the parks board.” Many of the parks and recreation department’s projects that have come online during Stehr’s tenure as board president were put into motion years and even decades ago, which Stehr recognized. “Honestly, I just happen to be the guy that was there at the time, but these projects have been in motion for years and decades,” said Stehr. “I’ve been fortunate to be involved and to see these positive changes. The data is in … people like parks. So, they’re a very important and meaningful amenity to add to the community. And as president of the parks board, I’ve seen the internal workings of the town government.




Immediate Goals for 2024 Upon being sworn in as Zionsville’s next mayor, Stehr shared some of the action items that his administration will prioritize in the coming new year. “We’re still a close-knit community, but politically, we’re divided,” Stehr agreed. “When we talk about the first 30 days, a big part of those [goals] is to lower the temperature on the politics, build up morale and get back to doing the right things for the people of this town. I don’t think being the mayor of Zionsville is a partisan job. It’s about basic town services: trash services, plowing services, filling potholes, etc. It’s about having a vision for what the town will be like in 15 to 20 years. We’ll leave the social issues to the state legislature and to Congress. All of that shouldn’t affect us in what we [municipal government] do here.” When asked about working on a new comprehensive plan, Stehr enthusiastically explained that the current town council and administration have allocated funds in the 2024 budget so that Stehr and the town council can undergo that process at the start of the new year. “We [the town] haven’t done a comprehensive plan in 20 years,” Stehr stated. “As you know, Zionsville has changed a lot since then. We need to have [comprehensive] planning that takes into account zoning, transportation and fiscal planning. We also need to make sure that all voices representing Union, Perry, Eagle Townships, the business community, and the school district are heard.” As a resident of nearly three decades, Stehr appreciates the town’s rich history

Zionsville Monthly September 2017

and expressed the importance of looking at the past to better inform the future. Additionally, he emphasized that the voices representing all three townships need to be represented in any/all future planning on behalf of the town. Stehr continued, “I’ve learned that people living in Union and Perry townships have a great sense of ownership of their historic rural character, and that needs to be respected and protected. We have 67 square miles and we’re the third largest municipality in land area in the state, behind Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. Zionsville is bigger [land area-wise] than Westfield and Noblesville combined, so we have some room out there for development to occur without touching those important rural areas.” Addressing the town’s current financial status, Stehr said, “Audits are taking place and we’ve switched from a software package that wasn’t working very well to one that is. We have to reconcile all of our accounts in order to move forward, and we are on track to do that by the end of this year.” Regarding the town’s bond rating, Stehr shared, “I think a lack of internal controls has created problems for the town, and we need to do an audit of our internal controls to make sure that we’re all on the same page budget-wise. When we talk about the bond rating, the fundamentals are still sound. We still have the median income;

we still have a very low debt load and our assessed value is very high. So, if we can get our internal controls set and create stability in our finance department, I think our bond rating will come up naturally.” Additionally, Stehr will focus on Zionsville’s role as one of six communities in Boone County. He plans to rejoin the Boone Economic Development Corporation and engage the other five communities with an emphasis on building relationships with Whitestown, specifically. “I think we need to build a bridge with Whitestown,” Stehr suggested. “They’re experiencing some changes in their leadership and will have a new town manager next year, so in those [changes], there will be some opportunities to build relationships. I have already been in contact with the mayor of Lebanon and we will be more engaged with Thorntown, Jamestown and Advance. What’s good for one of us is good for all of us in the county, and I think Zionsville needs to be more involved and have a bigger voice in what happens in Boone County.” Reworking the “Gateway Project” and Building Momentum in Creekside Corporate Park “It’s not the ‘Gateway Project’ to me,” Stehr stated. “A gate is something you go through to get to somewhere else. I think this has to be a viable part of town. So, to me, this is the South Village and there has to be master planning from the intersection of Sycamore and Zionsville Road all the way down to 106th Street. It’s not just a traffic realignment — it’s a major change for Zionsville, and whatever we do in the

KATE SWANSON ON HER IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES AS DEPUTY MAYOR What are your 30/60/90 goals as deputy mayor upon taking office? Our top priorities will be: Working on a new comprehensive plan for Zionsville, as it has been 20 years since it was written and Zionsville has changed tremendously in 20 years. A comprehensive plan can take up to 18 months to 2 years to complete. It requires much public input and the community working together to create a plan. We hope to expedite the process and start that project on day one. There is much opportunity for economic development on the south side of our village. John



South Village has to and will enhance the brick Main Street that is the heart and soul of Zionsville. What we do needs to support that and not detract from it.” When asked about the future of Creekside Corporate Park, Stehr said, “We need to be more open to the type of development that is happening today. So, we’re taking a more realistic look at it, and I do think that the Graham Rahal Performance building that’s under construction will be a major driver [for attracting additional entities]. It will play a big role in opening up that area. Ultimately, Creekside will be filled and it will be a great corporate park.” Stehr concluded the interview by thanking his supporters and even his opponents. “I do appreciate the support that we’ve gotten so far and appreciate those who voted for me,” Stehr expressed. “I also appreciate those who didn’t vote for me because they were involved in the process. I think democracy in our town is only better when people get involved. I appreciate the people of Zionsville and have always told my kids as they were growing up here that it’s not the cheapest place to live and there’s a certain amount of effort that’s required to live here. But it is a special place, and our openness to others is something that makes us — as a community — special too.”

and I look forward to working with landowners and businesses to create a welcoming, vibrant entrance to town as well as a thriving area that will not only add to our village but will amplify our existing village business district. Another priority is working with private partners to make a community center happen in Zionsville. I look forward to working with John to improve the morale of town staff. They are public servants, and we want them to feel valued. How will you engage with the community and address constituent concerns or issues? A big part of the Stehr administration will be transparency and accessibility. I think John proved that during the campaign when he spent countless hours


talking with citizens about their ideas and visions for Zionsville. We hope to have regular times for John to continue to have these conversations with citizens. Stay posted on how we make that happen. Communication will also be a key component of the Stehr administration. We want citizens to be informed and involved in our town. Will you have an active role in the budgeting process and oversight? We are grateful to Mayor Styron, Andy Pickell and Councilman Josh Garrett for including us in the budgeting process this year. It was invaluable to watch and learn the process. Another aspect of our town government that I am excited to help lead is using technology to create efficiencies.

[SMCC] Guild. The guild is responsible for our fundraising events such as the Garden Tour and the annual bake sale. We’ll also talk about our programming and all of the events that we’ve had over the years. And we’ll pay tribute to our volunteers, past and present, because we couldn’t have done any of these events and programs without our volunteers. For example, we need 60 to 80 volunteers every year for GhostWalk, and [for] the Gardens of Zionsville event, we use about 50 to 60 volunteers. It’s a high number of volunteers that have worked with us over the years.”

S ul li va n Mu n ce Cu lt u ral Cente r Ce l e brate s

50th Anniversary! Writer // Janelle Morrison • Photography // Courtesy of SullivanMunce

It is with great enthusiasm that Zionsville Monthly is sharing with our readers SullivanMunce Cultural Center’s plans to celebrate 50 years of being the “greater Zionsville and Boone County area’s primary destination for the exploration of and engagement with history and the arts.”


e hope you will mark your calendars and join us on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. for this special celebration at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center at 225 West Hawthorne Street in Zionsville. Don’t miss this historic and jubilant affair! Purchase your tickets and RSVP at sullivanmunce.org.

AN EVENING FILLED WITH COMMUNITY, REFLECTION AND EXPLORATION Attendees of this joyous event will enjoy activities, refreshments and entertainment throughout the evening that include tours of the art center, genealogy library, exhibits and historical collections. There will be a short program highlight-

ing the past 50 years and a glimpse into the future plans for SullivanMunce. To top off the celebratory evening, there will be a silent auction and birthday cake! SullivanMunce Executive Director and local artist Cynthia Young shared some of her thoughts about the upcoming event. “The opening of the Patrick Henry Sullivan Museum was held in June of 1973,” Young said. “The Munce Art Center opened in 1981. At our event, we will have information on all of the founding [foundation] members and on the board members over the years. We’ll also talk about the major donors throughout the years, and, of course, we’ll talk about the




NOT JUST A LOCAL AMENITY, BUT AN ASSET TO EVERYONE! Today, the SullivanMunce Cultural Center is home to the P.H. Sullivan Museum, which hosts many longstanding traditions and programs such as the Third Grade History [tours], GhostWalk, the guild’s annual Gardens of Zionsville, Bake Sale and Victorian Tea events, exhibits, its historical collection, and public meeting space. The Munce Art Center offers a variety of art classes, summer art camps, workshops, exhibits and the annual Zionsville Paint Out event. It also houses a gift shop featuring an array of handcrafted gifts and other delightful treasures. And for those not familiar with SullivanMunce’s impressive Zionsville Genealogy Library, this institution offers workshops, research, ancestry, access to FamilySearch, newspapers, maps, obituaries and other archival tools to aid in one’s genealogical journey. Young added, “People come in from all over for our genealogical services. Sometimes, they have just found out that part of their family is from Zionsville or was

COMMUNITY OUTREACH Zionsville Farmers Market Community Art Making Booth

• Iva Etta Sullivan

buried here. Some people who grew up in Zionsville are researching their family, and we have a big section in the genealogy library of Zionsville families. We also have access to ancestry.com and we are an affiliate library of FamilySearch. So, if you’re using FamilySearch at home and there’s something you can’t open because it says you need to go to an affiliate library, that would be us. We also have newspapers.com.”

SULLIVANMUNCE CULTURAL CENTER’S FOUNDING FACTS *Information provided by David G. Ruffer’s “SullivanMunce Cultural Center: A Historic Review”

The Patrick Henry Sullivan Foundation and Museum began in the 1950s as an idea in the mind of Zionsville native and Washington, D.C. resident Iva Etta Sullivan. It became a reality in 1966 with her death and the formation of the Foundation Board, and further in 1973 when the museum building became a reality. The concept was expanded in 1976 when the board accepted the bequest from Mary Elizabeth Hopkins Munce, in 1981 with the opening of the Munce Art Center, and with subsequent facility expansions.

Iva Etta Sullivan, Mary Elizabeth Hopkins Munce, Sparkle Moore Furnas, Mildred Ogborn, and Marjorie J. Van Tassel were major benefactors. In her Last Will and Testament dated April 6, 1962, Iva Etta Sullivan created the Patrick Henry Sullivan Trust, which was to be funded upon her death with proceeds from her estate. The Patrick Henry Sullivan Foundation was incorporated on December 18, 1969. In 1971, the board appointed Josephine Ford as curator of the museum and its primary operating officer, a position she held until 1984. In 1972, the SullivanMunce Cultural Center Guild was formed. Early in her tenure as curator, Josephine Ford realized the need for volunteers who could assist with museum operations and sought to establish a volunteer guild. Since 2003, the museum, genealogy library, and art center have been known collectively as the SullivanMunce Cultural Center (SMCC). Since 2009 (and to pursue more diverse funding sources), SMCC has operated under Zionsville Center for Art History and Genealogy, a 501(c)(3) organization. At the end of 2022, the center’s name was legally changed to SullivanMunce Cultural Center, Inc.

VISION STATEMENT “Unique among cultural centers, SullivanMunce is the primary destination in greater Zionsville and the Boone County area for the exploration of and engagement with history and the arts.”




Zionsville Parks & Recreation • Zionsville Greenfest Community Art Making, which supports environmental and green practices. • Zionsville Paint Out (Arts in the Park). We work with Zionsville Parks Department to engage the public in arts projects in the local parks. • Zionsville Butterfly Trail: Butterfly Wings Photo Op around Zionsville. We help the Zionsville Parks Department seek artists of all ages to paint butterfly wings that will be displayed around town. We also display a pair of wings on our grounds. • Nature Play Days. Nature Play Days are in June and are a statewide endeavor to engage youth with the outdoors. We provide outdoor art activities for youth in our area. Zionsville Community • We provide meeting space to over 20 civic and non-profit groups in the community through our Use of Space program. • We provide restroom access for the Zionsville Farmers Market in the summer. • Zionsville Community Schools. We partner with Zionsville Community Schools for both history and arts education and Youth Art Month. • Zionsville Cultural District (ZCD). We work with ZCD in an advisory capacity to elevate arts and culture in Zionsville while also providing meeting space for them.


Berger, Betty Bradley, Wayne Breese, Corinne Dyer, Danny Finley, Carol Fix, Sam Ford, Josephine Hackleman, John Haines, James Hanshew, Willard Harmon, Walter Keith, Jackson Leamnson, George Leamnson, Marjorie

Lyons, Clarice Martha Frances McDowell, Barbara McKamey, Thomas Miller, Gail O’Neil, Jr., James T Parks, Marjorie Rector, Barbara Ross, Mack Schuetz, Katherine Shaw, George Russell Shelburne, Tanay Spees, Jerri


(Other than Directors) Charles R. Cruse Sherman Johnsen H. Roll McLaughlin Carolynne Miller Esther Shelburne

CURATOR Josephine Ford


Walter Harmon, Vice Chair


Sam Fix, Publicity

ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD, 1971-75 Charles Curse, President

Kay Schuetz, Secretary/Treasurer





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