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Ice Fishing

Home Sweet Nest The Sherwood House

Rick Frisbie’s Art

the mysterious admirer

the loyal stagehand

the conniving director

the jealous understudy

the long-suffering assistant the on-the-spot detective

the glamorous star

falling star A Made-for-Magazine Mystery Play Salina area’s premier Magazine on People, Places & Style winter 2012 $3


Underthecover volume 02 / issue 04

Center Stage There are probably few couples in the community who have as much combined acting experience as Jack and Marsha Stewart, two Salina Community Theatre volunteers featured in our story on page 28 about the organization embarking on its second half-century of productions. But, as that story emphasizes, you can still be an actor in Salina even if you cannot match the Stewarts’ cumulative total of nearly 100 years of performance. Children, families and older volunteers all try out various roles, many for the first time in a venture that represents so much of what is valuable about the arts—selfdiscovery, community sharing and inspiration. These are lessons found beyond the stage or even the arts. Join us this issue for stories and pictures about community members who have grown by succeeding at new roles in life—whether that is a teacher who opens a weaving business, a business student who becomes a photographer, fishermen who adapt to the ice or, as is the case with our cover story on Dream Weaver Productions, a theatre troupe that takes up our challenge to create an original, Salina-themed mystery production. We hope you enjoy their stories and write to us to share your own. Nathan Pettengill Editor

Publisher Tom Bell advertising director Kim Norwood advertising sales managers Christy Underwood Kathy Malm Linda Saenger for advertising rates and information (785) 822-1449 Sales executives Sue Austin Debbie Nelson Tina Campbell Natalie Pankratz Tiffani Emmel Jamie Stroda Shannon Gotti Rachel Touchatt Brian Green Erica Wiseman Tiffany Modlin Mary Walker Ad designers Jamie Jeffries Annette Klein Aaron Johnson photographers Lisa Eastman Larry Harwood Contributing writers Patricia E. Ackerman Chelsey Crawford Cecilia Harris Sarah Hawbaker Karilea Rilling Jungel

Production and editorial services for Sunflower Living provided by: Editor Art Director Chief Photographer General Manager

Nathan Pettengill Shelly Bryant Jason Dailey Bert Hull

e-mail Comments to sunflowerliving@sunflowerpub.com

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Subscriptions to sunflower living $15 (includes tax) for a one-year subscription

Jack and Marsha Stewart

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for subscription information, please contact: Salina Journal Circulation Department Christy West 333 S. Fourth, Salina KS 67401 (785) 822-1467 / (800) 827-6363 ext. 347 cwest@salina.com


departments

winter2012

sunflower spaces 8

Nest Sherwood A restored farmhouse continues a family’s domestic heritage

12 Tour of … The Masonic Center

A tour of Salina’s historic landmark

sunflower resumés 17 Lou Ann Dunn Owner, Artful Parties and Events, Inc.

19

Elizabeth Walker

Owner of Elizabeth’s Handwoven Artwear

local profiles 20 ‘When I Get Behind My Camera’

24

A photographer immerses himself in daily life to find art and images that stand apart from time

The Frisbie Process For this Salina-based artist, painting is the road to painting

28 Casting Call What’s one secret to Salina Community Theatre’s half-century of success? A cast of dedicated volunteers who are theatre ‘through and through’

out & about 32

‘Through the Ice’

The water is frigid, and the winds are freezing … but the fishing is fine

on the cover: The cast members of “Falling Star,” an original play by Chelsey Crawford and Dream Weaver Productions, pose in character. Sunflowerliving

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features

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winter2012

falling star An original made-for-magazine play staging and acting by Dream Weaver Productions

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Story by Chelsey Crawford

Photography by Larry Harwood


contributing writers Patricia E. Ackerman An alumna of Salina Central High School and Marymount College, Pat is currently an associate professor at Kansas State University, Salina. In addition to writing, she enjoys gardening, music, travel and spending time with family and friends. Photo by Fast Focus. “‘When I Get Behind my Camera’” “‘Through the Ice’”

CHELSEY CRAWFORD A cardiac technician at a Salina intensive care unit, Chelsey studied history and literature at the University of Kansas. She draws on her love of reading and writing as she works on her first collection of short stories between gardening and spending time with her family. Photo by J. Craft Photography. “Tour of the Masonic Center” “Falling Star”

CECILIA HARRIS Cecilia is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to several magazines and blogs about food, art, culture and heritage on the state of Kansas’ official blog.travelks.com. She also has authored two books, Historic Homes of Abilene and Abilene’s Carousel. Photo by Keller Photography & Design. “Nest Sherwood” “The Frisbie Process”

Sarah hawbaker Sarah, whose work also appears in the Lindsborg News-Record, is a stay-athome mother to Brynn (6), Morgan (3) and Ryker (11 months). She lives in Salina with her children and husband, Riley, a Salina firefighter. Photo by Turner Photography. “Casting Call”

Karilea Rilling Jungel Karilea is author of Yesterday’s Love (Publish America, 2005) and stays busy with her husband, seven grandchildren and two active shih tzus. She works for a financial adviser’s office, volunteers, enjoys traveling and is preparing her next Sunflower Living article. Photo by Krystal Keefer-Zeferjahn. Sunflower Resume – “Lou Ann Dunn” Sunflower Resume – “Elizabeth Walker”

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Sunflower spaces

Nest Sherwood A restored farmhouse continues a family’s domestic heritage

B

randon Sherwood fondly recalls childhood holiday dinners around a large table in the dining room of his grandmother’s home just south of Assaria. This farmhouse, with its wrap-around porch, large windows and oak woodwork, was filled with love and laughter.

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story by Cecilia Harris

photography by Larry Harwood


Sunflower spaces

Shortly after his grandmother moved out in 1997, Brandon chose to restore the aging house as a labor of love and a tribute to his family, both past and present. Originally built in the 1880s with two rooms on the main floor and two bedrooms upstairs, the farmhouse retains some of its original furnishings, such as the ornate wallpaper in what was once the parlor. “This was obviously a parlor because in the latter part of the 19th century they didn’t spend on extravagances like this in anything but the common areas of the home,” ex-

plains Brandon, a wood carver who builds custom homes enhanced by artistic touches. Brandon says he plans to leave the original wallpaper in place as a reminder that “this is an older home, and I need to keep loving it with tender loving care.” The home’s first renovation came in 1911, when Brandon’s ancestors constructed an addition of eight rooms, including the dining room, where he recalls those delightful family dinners. Both Brandon and his wife, Dawn, wanted to retain

A customized door at the back entrance, above left, and a porch swing, above right, provide a welcoming entrance to the Sherwood home.


Sunflower spaces [1]

[3]

“This is an older home, and I need to keep loving it with tender loving care.” — Brandon Sherwood

the older home’s history and character, but it also was important to bring the house into the 21st century. An expanded kitchen includes a dining area where their children, Savannah, 16, Chandler, 13, and Cierra, 11, congregate. Other modernizations include a home theater and a two-sided fireplace. Sculptures, paintings, stained-glass pieces and pottery from approximately 50 different artists fill the Sherwood home. Several whimsical carved wooden pieces and furnishings—the work of Brandon and Dawn—add a magical touch to the décor. Dawn says most of the decorations by other artists were either gifted, bought while traveling, or traded for at an art show. “To me the things you have in your home should have meaning to you,” Dawn explains. Brandon says he finds comfort in the connection the decorations have to their lives. “Everything that is in this home has a memory attached to it. It becomes part of your sacred nest. It kind of protects you from the harsh realities of life on the outside.” 10

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Sunflower spaces

[2]

[4]

[1] The Sherwood family, from left, Brandon, Dawn, Cierra, Chandler and Savannah, gather on their back porch. [2] The dining room was created during the home’s first renovation in 1911. [3] The family’s living room shares a two-sided fireplace with the dining room. [4] Cierra joins her dad in the art studio, which is located in the renovated family barn.

FAMILY CAT Shannon appropriates the home of Maddy, the family dog

MIDNIGHT RIDE is one of Brandon’s more recent works of art

NATIVE ART and indigenous culture inspires much of the artwork in the Sherwood home

TIGGER AND SIMBA round out the Sherwood family

the

details

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Sunflower spaces

Tour of...the

Masonic Center 12

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historical architecture Previously known as the Masonic Temple, the building was completed in 1927 after several setbacks, including a fire. Made mostly from Indiana limestone and Tennessee marble, the Neoclassical-style building in central Salina is entered through a trail of stairs leading up to massive bronze doors framed by six 5-foot-diameter columns that measure 42 feet in height.

story by Chelsey Crawford

photography by larry harwood


Sunflower spaces

chilling ornamentation The center’s eerie gargoyles were hand-constructed out of copper. They are identical except for one unfortunate gargoyle who lost his nose after being struck by lightning and falling six stories to the ground. He was hoisted back up to his home but remains without his nose. The gargoyles run across the edge of the roof, surrounding an elevated area behind them that was once the city’s rooftop garden for band concerts and dances.


Sunflower spaces

breathtaking atmosphere The centerpiece of the building’s interior is the stunning, threestory auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,200 people. The double-balconies, polished oak dance floor and elevated stage represent the golden era of magnificent prairie opera houses. The central stage holds 104 scenery drops that provide the background for various ceremonial activities for fraternal organizations headquartered in the center. These drops are suspended from a rigging loft that extends through to the sixth floor in height. The irreplaceable, hand-painted drops were acquired in 1930 from a Scottish Temple in McAlester, Oklahoma. the blue room The meeting room for the Scottish York Rite incorporates symbols and teachings of King Solomon into its structure and design. Calling themselves “speculative Masons,” the Rite members share a motto in common with the Freemasons: “To Make Good Men Better.” Their teachings and symbols also draw on Masonic themes; for example, a 24-inch ruler is split into three parts to symbolize the ideal structure of a day: Eight hours for vocation, eight hours for family and rest, and eight hours for serving mankind. 14

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A gift from across the pond This stained-glass window was a gift, crafted in Germany and presented to the Masons in 1927 to mark the temple’s completion. There was not a place suitable to hold it in that year, and the work was put in storage and eventually forgotten. In 1970, a group of spring cleaning volunteers at the Temple came across an old shipping crate, opened it and rediscovered the remarkable piece of art. It is now displayed in an upper-floor lobby with backlighting to highlight the colors and detail.


Sunflower spaces

“All of our former homes culminated into this dream home.” — Dottie Karcher

historical architecture Art Deco sconces and two striking chandeliers, consisting of angular art glass framed by brass trim, dominate the entry lobby. In addition to the lobby, the second floor includes a banquet hall with a catering kitchen. Sunflowerliving

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Sunflower résumé

a closer look at area business people

W

hen she was 12, Lou Ann Dunn read a children’s magazine article about a Halloween party and then proceeded to plan a similar event of her own. Growing up, she didn’t know what to call an adult who planned parties for a living—the concept of event planners did not really evolve until the 1970s—but she knew this was what she wanted. Since the early 1980s, she has been doing just that. In 1989, she was able to open her own full-time business. Certified in floral design and bridal consultations, Dunn provides inspiration and decorations for weddings, parties and other events throughout the Salina region.

Lou Ann Dunn Occupation: Owner, Artful Parties and Events, Inc. Job Location: 921 Shalimar Drive, Salina Birthplace: Wamego Name:

In design, is “less” more?

In home decorating, less is always more. But entertaining is always an exaggeration–it’s the unexpected surprise.

Lou Ann Dunn What is your top advice for brides-to-be?

Have an idea of what you want. It’s your wedding—not the designer’s—but always listen to the experts. Go with your budget and remember the number of guests is probably the biggest factor in the cost of a wedding.

What is one thing all successful parties have in common?

Cucumber Sandwiches

Uncle Fred

They are always guest-oriented

An awesome game of charades

What is your background?

Arts and humanities major, mother,

teacher and community volunteer

Chemistry major, mother,

truck driver and medical CEO

Biology major, veterinarian,

teacher and stunt pilot

How many gift baskets do you fill each year?

250-350 What is the worst part of your job?

0

50

100

150

200

story by Karilea Rilling Jungel

250

300

350

400

450

There aren’t enough weekends in the year.

photography by lisa eastman

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Sunflower résumé

a closer look at area business people

A

former special education teacher, Elizabeth Walker remembers experiencing nightmares over not having notes ready or that something terrible would go wrong in class. “I would have the Sunday night blues so bad,” she explains. Though she taught for more than 20 years, Walker also began doing what she loves—weaving. She started with placemats, rugs, wall-hangings and hand-woven skirts. As her clothing items became popular, Walker opened Elizabeth’s Handwoven Artwear in 1984 and has since expanded her store presence in downtown Lindsborg with national, online retail.

Elizabeth Walker Occupation: Owner of Elizabeth’s Handwoven Artwear Job Location: 110 North Main Street, Lindsborg Birthplace: Lindsborg Name:

What type of fabrics are in your store? Cottons

Silks

Wool

Rayon chenille

Elizabeth Walker

What type of clothing items do you NOT sell? What are reasons you continue to run your store?

Cocoons Harry Potter capes Ruanas Clerical vestments Socks Vests Jackets

Because it provides new ideas and challenges. Because I voluntarily come back early from vacation

Because my husband, Ray, wants to retire as a house-husband

What would you say your business is about?

if I keep working.

What is the very best part of your work?

Texture and colors Timeless, comfortable designs Helping women feel good about themselves story by Karilea Rilling Jungel

because this is where I want to be.

photography by lisa eastman

Being surrounded by the store cats Being surrounded by beautiful colors Being surrounded by fellow monster-truck racing fans Sunflowerliving

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local profiles

‘When I Get Behind My Camera’ A photographer immerses himself in daily life to find art and images that stand apart from time

Tom Dorsey has photographed daily life in Salina since 1979.

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story by Patricia E. Ackerman

photography by Larry Harwood


local profiles

I

t was in August 1984 when photographer Tom Dorsey met himself, in reverse. “I saw a big guy sitting on a curb during the heat of the summer. I photographed him and then walked up to him and said, ‘Hi, my name is Tom Dorsey, and I was wondering if I could take your picture for the Salina Journal.’ He grinned and told me his name was Dorsey Thomas and that yes, I could take his photo. All through the shoot I kept trying to get him to tell me his real name, thinking he was just pulling my leg. Finally, the guy took out his wallet and showed me his I.D. His name really was Dorsey Thomas.” That was the only time in the photographer’s 32-year career that he changed his photo byline from Tom Dorsey to Thomas Dorsey. Dorsey, the one who has been the chief photographer at the Salina Journal since 1997, traces his career back to when he was an uncertain business graduate at Marymount College in 1979 and had what he describes as an epiphany while watching a television news update about an international conflict. “Watching those cameramen recording history, I suddenly realized that I wanted to be the guy behind that viewfinder,” says Dorsey. One week later, he bought a professional camera on credit and began to study, practice and learn. “When I looked through that lens, I knew my life had changed.” Within a year, Dorsey was hired as a photographer’s apprentice under veteran Salina Journal photographer Fritz Mendell and has moved up the ranks since, documenting life in the Salina region through the lens of his camera for the past three decades. “I get lost behind the viewfinder,” says Dorsey. “When I get behind my camera, I lose track of time and everything else. If I’m shooting a football game, I have no idea who is winning or losing. All I see is what comes to me through that viewfinder.” For Dorsey, the lens seems to fragment time into frames. “When I look at my photos, I can recall the moments leading up to them, but I don’t remember the events from that day,” he explains. Dorsey dislikes having to shoot accidents, fires and tragedies. However, he views reporting accidents as cautionary lessons, reminding readers to be careful in their lives. Each time he shoots a fire he hopes that the images he records will assist fire victims by serving as a call for community support.

“Dorsey Thomas,” top, was the only photograph that Tom Dorsey published with his full name, Thomas Dorsey, in tribute to the unexpected similarity between the names of the subject and photographer. Dorsey photographed “Gospel Music” at Salina’s St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in 2009. Photographs courtesy Tom Dorsey/Salina Journal.

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local profiles

A selection of Dorsey’s favorite images from his years photographing Salina include, from top, “Bee and Echinacea,” “Cheer Camp Back Flip,” and “Wheat Harvest.” Photographs courtesy Tom Dorsey/Salina Journal.

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Occasionally, Dorsey receives negative responses from people he attempts to photograph, and was once hit by a man’s cane. A few subjects have threatened to sue him for taking their photos. But overall, he carries positive memories of the past 30 years of shooting the people, places and events of Salina, Kansas. For Dorsey, the joys of his work outweigh the occasional difficult situation and demands of an irregular work schedule. Technology has dramatically changed the way Dorsey works. He no longer uses film cameras, though he still owns a few, which are “sitting on shelves collecting dust.” He continues to shoot manually, preferring to control lighting and depth of field. He appreciates the increased control that digital cameras provide, allowing him to shoot in lower light situations. He seldom shoots in a studio environment and carries little lighting equipment, preferring to work with natural lighting and situations as he finds them. When asked how he archives the volume of work he has taken in the past 32 years, Dorsey replies, “I save the best and delete the rest.” Some of this saved “best” is featured in Dorsey’s anthology, Stuff I’ve Shot, a coffee-table book released in August 2011, featuring photographs Dorsey has taken in and around Salina since the 1980s, both as a photojournalist and as an artist. Dorsey says the sheer volume of work and photos he has taken makes it difficult to see things in new ways, but he points out that there is always a different light, a different angle and different moment for each situation. Decades after being drawn to photography for the possibility of becoming a war correspondent, the veteran photographer says he has lost the desire to photograph wars, content with the subjects he finds near home. “There is no other job in the world like this. I shoot what I want to shoot and how I want to shoot it,” says Dorsey. “Then, I take my work to my bosses, and they say ‘thank you.’ I am thankful every day for the opportunity to do the work I do.”


local profiles

“When I get behind my camera, I lose track of time and everything else.” — tom dorsey

Dorsey, who originally wanted to be a war photographer, occasionally covers military themes, such as this image, top, “Deployment 2nd of the 137th,” from his base in Salina. But most of Dorsey’s work requires him to produce striking images from more serene settings, such as the rural Salina backdrop for the photograph above, “Morning Light.”


local profiles

The Frisbie Process For this Salina-based artist, painting is the road to painting

H Rick Frisbie creates paintings from his studio in Salina.

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ung among various landscapes, portraits and still-life paintings in Rick Frisbie’s studio is a quote attributed to Aristotle: For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. Frisbie, a Salina-based painter who works primarily in oil, lives by this philosophy. “You learn to paint by painting,” he says. “Artwork is work. It’s a process, and I have so much to learn.” Frisbie’s process as a painter is a daily routine of rising at approximately 5:30 a.m. to paint for three hours in his studio before heading to work as manager of a financial partnership and as a teacher for English as a Second Language courses. In the evenings and sometimes when he is able to steal away in the afternoons, the artist returns to his studio to perfect his art.

story by Cecilia Harris

photography by LARRY HARWOOD


local Profiles

“You learn to paint by painting. Artwork is work.” — Rick Frisbie

Throughout his adult life, Frisbie tried his hand at a number of artistic endeavors without any formal training. He created sculptures and hand-dug clay vessels. He built furniture and carved figures out of wood, sandstone and limestone. He dabbled in photography, sketched and painted in a variety of mediums. His focus dramatically sharpened 13 years ago when he enrolled in an evening painting workshop. This course inspired him to add a watercolor class through the Salina Art Center and to concentrate all his artistic efforts on painting. Shortly afterward, Frisbie took what he describes as the “huge step” of enrolling in an advanced painting class at Bethany College. “I was hooked,” says Frisbie, who continued to enroll in Bethany art courses taught by Mary Kay and Frank Shaw. “They are just fabulous people but tough instructors who really forced me to go deep and see what real artists

do as far as the sacrifices they make for their careers,” Frisbie says of the Lindsborg-based artists. “They have been very encouraging and helpful since that time. They are the ones who set me on track.” Required reading for one of their classes included Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. “I’ve read it many times,” Frisbie says. “What I take away from the book is that one learns to paint by painting. The more one paints, the more likely one will advance.” Taking this lesson to heart, Frisbie has continued painting, painting and painting. He works mostly from his four-room studio Sunflowerliving

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local profiles

where natural light streams in through large windows. Here, a bookshelf holds objects Frisbie uses to create stilllife settings, and the studio walls are filled with portraits, landscapes and still-life paintings Frisbie has created on canvas, wood, cardboard, wallpaper and tile. Much of his recent work focuses on the human form, where a mere twist or turn creates a dramatic change in composition. “I particularly like the angles,” says Frisbie. “The human body is so fascinating, but it is so difficult to paint.” In his study of the human form, Frisbie often analyzes the work of painters he admires, such as 16th-century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who combined a dramatic use of lighting with a realistic observation of people’s physical and emotional characteristics. Frisbie says he seeks to emulate Caravaggio’s work by introducing more shadows in his compositions and, like the Italian master, by painting “the spirit and the soul of a person.”

But even in these studies, Frisbie experiments and learns by doing. Some of his recent portraits feature heavy lines, giving the subjects what Frisbie describes as an “almost cartoonish” appearance. “The lesson I was learning in this was that I like dark lines, heavy lines, even on a portrait.” For Frisbie, these work-based discoveries confirm his approach to becoming an even better artist. “I take workshops from painters I admire. I watch painting videos on the internet. I talk with other painters and artists,” says Frisbie. “But most of all, I paint.”

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local profiles


local profiles

Casting Call What’s one secret to Salina Community Theatre’s half-century of success? A cast of dedicated volunteers who are theatre ‘through and through’

Jack and Marsha Stewart have been with the Salina Community Theatre for most of its first 50 years of production.

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story by Sarah Hawbaker

photography by lisa eastman


local profiles

T

he Salina Community Theatre enters its second half-century of performances with a new addition that includes a black box theatre, classrooms, office space, storage space, as well as a new concessions area, a box office and a meeting room. These new surroundings will be filled by one crucial element bridging the theatre’s past and present: its volunteers. There are actors, stagehands, soundboard operators, ushers, office assistants, costumers, directors and other volunteers essential to the theatre’s success. The Veteran Couple Theatre wasn’t foreign to Jack Stewart. He performed in plays both in high school and while in college at the University of Kansas. But he hadn’t much thought about getting involved with theatre after graduation—that is, until a hospital visit in 1963. It was in the hospital that Jack met Marsha, an admissions staffer and then nurse who worked there. She was a theatre and art major in college and had been involved in the Salina Community Theatre shortly after it was founded in 1960. Suddenly, Jack renewed his interest in acting.

These new surroundings will be filled by one crucial element bridging the theatre’s past and present: its volunteers. The couple married and have remained active in the theatre their entire lives. Jack’s work is on stage, including the male lead in The Music Man, the first show to be held in the main theatre, the Charles Kephart Theatre. Marsha has had her hand in a little bit of everything, including sets, costuming, lights and staging. But directing is at her heart. “When I read a play, I can hear the actors talking, I can see them on the stage,” Marsha says. “I like to help bring that written page to life.” Marsha says she gets “weepy” whenever she enters the building, especially since the new addition has been completed. “I just get so emotional because we’ve been so instrumental in it from the beginning,” Marsha says. Jack and Marsha both agree that one thing that makes the Salina Community Theatre so unique is that theatre is one of the few activities that actively involve all ages.

Vicki Price, above, has volunteered at the theatre since 1997. She is assisted in her preparations by Sharon Benson, who has worked with the theatre as an actor and costumer for 17 years.

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Benson straightens the costume of Scott Price, above. Vicki, left, has performed at the theatre with her husband and three children. She says the theatre work fostered confidence and a work ethic in her children.

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Family Act Vicki Price and her family are proof of the theatre’s ability to attract volunteers across generations. The Price family—which includes Vicki, her husband, Scott, and their three grown children, Megan Coberly, David Price and Andrea Berthot—has been involved with SCT since 1997. All five family members have acted together in two shows. “You don’t just have to send your kids off, but you can do it with them,” Vicki says. She adds that she has seen her children grow through theatre and has felt rewarded to see them develop a work ethic. While the theatre projects keep the family connected, they also allow them to form close friendships with other families and volunteers. “When you are in a show, the cast becomes your family,” says Vicki. “When we say community theatre, honest to Pete, that’s what it is.” Vicki believes that theatre work inspires creativity for all volunteers, whether it be through acting, staging, lighting or some other position. “I think we all have a little creativity in us that needs to come out,” Vicki says. Through and Through Sharon Benson also sees the Salina Community Theatre as her creative outlet. “Art is a central part of my existence,” says the artist, who has been involved in approximately 40 shows in her 17 years at the theatre, both as an actor and costumer. Sharon says she put her “first costume on a body” when she was 15 years old and was bit by the theatre bug. She went on to college at Emporia, where she says she had an incredible costume teacher, further fueling her fire for theatre. But though she doesn’t stitch much anymore, Benson does a great deal of studying, research, measuring and more to prepare for each show. She says the costumers at the theatre do not make costumes, but rather archival-quality clothes. “We want to give the actors the tools to be the character they want to portray,” Sharon says. She adds that it is crucial that the actors feel comfortable in what they are wearing, whether it is a short skirt or 17th-century formal wear. Sharon estimates that she volunteers at the theatre anywhere from two to six hours a day, depending on the show. But she can’t think of another place she would rather spend her time. “You just do what you have to do for the love of it,” Sharon says. “Because if you are theatre, you are theatre through and through.”


local profiles

Your Cue … Michael Spicer, executive director of the Salina Community Theatre, says it takes about 450 volunteers offering some 65,000 hours to work with the six full-time and three half-time staff members to accomplish what his theatre does in a 12-month period. “It is the staff’s job to create an atmosphere in which our volunteers can thrive,” Spicer says. Volunteering at the theatre goes beyond the acting on stage. Volunteers assist at auditions, in the box office and in the business office. Volunteers work as dressers (those who help with wardrobe changes), light and sound board operators, set builders, stage managers, costumers, prop chiefs, spotlight operators, ushers, board members, actors and directors. Spicer says that often people come to the theatre wanting to simply help backstage but find themselves auditioning after a show or two. As people get involved, Spicer says they go through a growth process and that most volunteers find themselves playing numerous roles, both on and off the stage. “It’s quite marvelous what happens,” he says. Ready to volunteer? Spicer says all you must do is simply “show up.” The Salina Community Theatre is located at 303 E. Iron Ave. in Salina. The theatre can be reached by calling 785827-6126 or toll-free at 877-414-2367.


out & about

‘Through the Ice’ The water is frigid, and the winds are freezing … but the fishing is fine

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story by Patricia E. Ackerman

photography by larry harwood


out & about

S

Steve Pankratz, opposite, pulls a fish through the ice near Logan’s Point at Kanopolis Lake. Jim Kuhn, right, bores a hole through the ice covering the lake. Fishermen tend to gather at good fishing spots on the lake, below, but the numbers of winter fishers are low compared to those in the summer.

teadily turning the handle of a 3-foottall auger, Jim Kuhn bores a hole through 10 inches of solid ice. Once he breaks through, Kuhn lifts the drill out of the hole, sending a flood of cold water over his boots. Occasionally, the ice heaves underfoot, followed by creaking and burping sounds. “I haven’t heard the ice make this much noise in a while,” he comments. “Must be trying to thaw.” Kuhn grew up trout fishing along riverbanks of West Virginia. He started ice fishing when he moved to Kansas in the 1970s. “I do have a boat and spend most of the year fishing Kansas lakes, but I love ice fishing the best,” he says. It is here, on Kanopolis Lake, where Kuhn spends many winter days surrounded by flocks of Canada geese and a few fishing buddies. As Kuhn talks, one of his friends, perched on an overturned, 5-gallon bucket, pulls a fish through an 8-inch hole in the ice. “Don’t tell anyone what kind of fish we are catching,” Kuhn says. “It’s against the fisherman’s code.” So what were this veteran fisher’s biggest catches? “A 17-pound striper and an 11-pound walleye,” Kuhn replies. His claim launches a volley of ice-fishing stories that include a 50-pound carp and a 42-pound flathead that was extracted only after two holes were drilled in the ice. These anecdotes then provoke a string of humorous stories about the ones that got away—every person at the end of a line has a story and their own history with the winter sport. Jerry Diehl recalls that he became a regular ice fisherman about 30 years ago. In addition to fishing on lakes, he enjoys ice fishing for bass in area farm ponds. “When my son was about 3 years old, we used to come out on the lake, and he would play in the ice with a scoop shovel, like it was sand, while I fished,” says Diehl. Sunflowerliving

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out & about

“I do have a boat and spend most of the year fishing Kansas lakes, but I love ice fishing the best.” — Jim Kuhn

Pankratz shows off his catch as Jerry Diehl, above in background, waits to bring one in on either of his two reels. Kuhn shows off the flies, right, he uses for winter fishing. An ice fisher since the 1970s, Kuhn is also a proponent of the “double-dipping” approach, opposite.

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Winter 2012

Jigging his pole up and down through a slush-covered hole, Steve Pankratz reflects that after 35 years he still enjoys how relaxing it is to sit out on the ice with a hot cup of coffee and fish with friends. And of course, it is “very exciting when you start pulling fish out of the hole one after the other. You might catch four in a row, then not catch any for a while.” Contrary to scenes from popular movies, these ice fishermen do not toss their fish onto the ice after catching them. “It kills the fish,” Kuhn explains. “I keep mine covered in a bucket to discourage other fishermen from moving into our area.” When fishermen do move into an area, they carry a range of gear. Some arrive with short jig poles and tip-ups, while others prefer traditional long poles. Some pull their gear out onto the lake in homemade sleds or buckets, while others carry backpacks designed to hold tackle and cold weather gear. Some bring along electronic fish-finders, and others mark their favorite spots on portable GPS devices. A variety of life jackets, ice cleats and tackle boxes round out the supply list. Not as many Kansas ice fishermen set up ice shacks as they do in the northern states, due to unpredictable ice and weather patterns. Avoiding dangerous conditions is always on the minds of these cold-weather fishermen. Like fish tales, the stories of close calls and near tragedies are passed along from one fisherman to another. Experienced hands advise first-timers to learn how to recognize the difference between “good ice” and “dirty ice.” And they discourage solo ice-fishing expeditions. After all, common sense demands that while standing on a bed of ice over a 21-feet-deep body of frigid water, all precautionary measures must be taken seriously. The risks, however, are not what draws people to this hobby, where the cold and wind evoke images of outdoor adventure in an idyllic site far north. “Some days it might be 10 degrees and blowing snow, other days, like today, sunny and calm,” says Kuhn. “But once ice fishing gets in your blood, it’s hard to imagine not coming out here to catch fish through the ice.”


out & about

Sunflowerliving

35


I Love her.

Staging and acting by

Dream Weaver Productions

Story by

Chelsey Crawford

Photography by

Larry Harwood


an original made-for-magazine mystery play

Salina. 1928. Silent movie sensation Estelle Diamond returns to her hometown of Salina for a one-night benefit performance. Even after the first and only dress rehearsal, it is obvious this talented star brings glamour, romance, intrigue ‌ and murder.

Bennie, the loyal stagehand................................William Wegele Blanche, the long-suffering assistant..................Kyndall Robinson Estelle, the glamorous star.................................. Rachel Hinde Everett, the conniving director..................Dylan Neal Muilenburg Joe, the on-the-spot detective..............................Alex Lankhorst Mister X., the mysterious admirer............................Joe McKenna Violet, the jealous understudy.......................... Shannon Bradbury Sunflowerliving

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And … curtains! Atta girl, Estelle! Salina will see just how red-hot you’ve become.

Oh, thanks, Everett. Get some rest everyone, tomorrow is our big night.

But not all are pleased. Estelle’s understudy, Violet, is jealous of the star’s success … and takes it out on her boyfriend, Bennie, the stagehand. Bennie, you bozo! Hotsytotsy Estelle waltzin’ back in town, thinkin’ she’s the bees’ knees. And you coddlin’ up to her and that director she brought!

She got nothing on you, Violet. You’re more beautiful. And you’ll be more famous one day.

Not while she’s still around.


After rehearsal, Estelle prepares for a night out. Her assistant, Blanche, is there to bring comfort and a sympathetic ear. Change of plans. Can you help me with this necklace, Blanche? Everett and I are stepping out tonight.

Aren’t you staying in tonight? Oh?

It’s news that strikes to the heart of the usually unflappable Blanche. Shortly afterward, Violet happens upon a lovers’ embrace in a secluded stairway of the theatre … Well, if little Miss Perfect knew this she might be too upset to go on stage. Maybe someone needs to tell her! Everett, when are you going to stop seeing Estelle?

Shhhh, soon, dear, soon.


The secret lovers are interrupted by a mysterious man climbing the theatre stairs and carrying flowers. Everett intercepts his delivery.

I just want Miss Estelle to have these.

You’re not allowed back here, mister!

Everett sees a chance to keep two romances alive. He gives Estelle the flowers and a card he found outside the door, allowing Estelle to think they are both from him. “Put on your black dress and meet me in the balcony.”

Estelle changes and rushes to the balcony, where she finds an unpleasant surprise.

But what are you doing? No! Help!


Estelle’s screams alert the theatre’s hired cop, but he’s too late to save her. Beautiful even in death … the star has plunged to her final appearance on stage.


Lockdown. The doors are shut, and the good cop lines up the cast. He grills them all.

Everett, you were her director and manager, and now you have full access to her accounts!

But I loved her!

Oh, did you? I’ve been told about a little romance. Seems neither of you cheating lovebirds will miss her.


But that doesn’t let you go free, Miss Violet. Always wanted your chance at stardom, didn’t ya? Now you got it … maybe.

Stagehand, you were near the balcony …

But I heard someone run down the stairs. Wish I caught him.

Cause I couldn’t get a ticket?

That brings us to you, Mr. Secret Admirer, why have you been sneaking around? All of you, off to the station! We’ll sort it out there.


As the suspects are marched off, Bennie detains Violet..

Bennie?! You what?

Violet, wait! You’ll be famous now. Kiss me to show me how happy you are. I did this for you.

Don’t you see, this is your big chance! Now, kiss me to thank me for all my hard work! Get away from me! Help!

Let her go!

I did it all for you, Violet! I just wanted to make your dreams come true.


From his jail cell, Bennie reads about Violet’s big debut in the lead role. It isn’t pretty. One critic suggests they give the convicted stagehand a day’s pass, this time to throw Violet off the balcony as well. Two weeks later, Everett signs Blanche to play a role in a new talking picture. It turns out the modest assistant has a voice of fire and sultry stares that set hearts aflame. Her biggest fan? The secret admirer, who now heads up the Blanche Beauty fan club. And Bennie? He’s counting the days until he’s reunited with his beloved Violet … only 10,943 to go, or maybe a few hundred fewer if he gets a break for good behavior. After all, Bennie has always behaved with the best of intentions.

“I tell people all the time that there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t laugh ‘at’ or ‘with’ each other,” says Debbie Weaver of her marriage and business partnership with Bill Weaver. Drawing on that reserve of humor, Debbie’s organizational skills and Bill’s 30-year background as a theatre instructor and actor, the Salina couple began Dream Weaver Productions in 2011. Dream Weaver—which provided the actors and staging for the murder mystery in this issue—specializes in performing murder mystery productions at restaurants and private dinner parties. Their plays often involve dinner guests picking up scripts and stepping into roles as the mystery unravels. The company also offers themed birthday parties, a concept developed in Salina by Dream Weaver actress Rachel Hinde, who sold her company to the Weavers as the basis for their venture. 46

Sunflowerliving

Winter 2012

Like their actors, the Weavers hold down day jobs: Bill as a paraeducator and Debbie as a quality coach for Child Care Aware. But theater allows them to be in contact with what Bill describes as “one of the purest art forms.” Films and paintings stay the same from day to day, says Bill, but a live performance “is a unique experience for both actor and audience each and every time.” Looking back on their own involvement and decision to start up the performances, Debbie says she has only one question: “We wonder just what took us so long.”

Dream Weaver Productions www.dreamweaver-productions.com (785) 577-4738


Sunflower Living Winter 2012  

Online version of Sunflower Living magazine's winter 2012 e dition

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