Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting on July 8, 2019; Today we welcomed Dave Dufour, Executive Director of Elkhart Civic Theatre as our speaker.

Club President Candy Yoder opened the meeting and introduced Dawn Fisher who shared meaningful words, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Four Way Test.

Thanks to our greeters today Jan Farron, Nick Corpe, and Scott Puckett, who also introduced today's guests. 
Welcome to ALL, we hope you can all join us again some other time!

Announcement for July 8:

  • ***SAVE THE DATE*** reminder from Mick Faloon: October 4, Dionne Warwick Concert at the Lerner! Elkhart Rotary will have a block of tickets available for the Friday, October 4, 7:30 p.m. concert featuring Dionne Warwick, a six-time Grammy Award-winning music legend who has earned more than 75 charted hit songs and sold over 100 million records. To reserve your tickets, email Julie Cotton at julie@nextlevelimprov.com; tickets are limited to 30, with 20 already spoken for at this meeting date - - they're going fast! We also plan to have a pre-concert gathering (details to follow). Each ticket for the concert will be approximately $65, including handling fees and taxes. Whatever is planned prior to the concert will be at additional cost. Each Elkhart Rotary member is limited to 2 tickets, unless additional tickets are available after the initial sign up. The Elkhart Rotary ticket block is located on the right side of the main floor right aisle, rows R, S, and T.
Today's Sergeant was Matt Lentsch, filling in for Bill Rieth, who was on vacation (That's probably going to cost you, Bill). Great job FUNdraising today, Matt, quick and to the point! Rotary fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund throughout the year. In the spring more than $10,000 is distributed as grants to not for profit organizations around our county. Thanks, All, for your contributions!
Eric Garton introduced our Speaker today, Dave Dufour, Executive Director of Elkhart Civic Theatre (ECT). He was in his first play in 1967, performed at the Culver Military Academy and said from that point he was hooked on community theater. While Dave joined the staff of ECT in October 2013, he has been a volunteer at Elkhart Civic Theatre for over 40 years! A former advertising executive, Dave has a BA in Journalism from Indiana University and an MS in Advertising from Syracuse University. He brings experience from advertising, marketing and computer fields to the theatre. He is responsible for fundraising, marketing, advertising and board development/liaison. Dave is an award winning actor and director, taking two productions in a row to the national American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) competitions.  More recently, he studied writing at the Second City Training Center in Chicago, and has established a comedy writing group here at ECT.  
Did you know?...
  • ..There are over 7000 community theaters around our country
  • ..80 million guests attend community theater productions around the U.S. each year
  • ..Revenue from those productions exceeds 1 billion dollars on an annual basis
Dave showed a scientific graph charting the participants in community theatre by Confidence vs. Talent. laugh
Dave gave a brief demonstration of a comedic reading with volunteer Rotarian Sheila Sieradzki!
A Brief History of the ECT
The Bristol Opera House is the present home of Elkhart Civic Theatre. But this wasn’t always the case. Beginning nearly 70 years ago, there was Elkhart Little Theatre. Little theatres, literally “little theatres” with small memberships and small venues, had grown up all over the US during the depression. In back of the former Four Arts Building on High Street in Elkhart, there was a building that had originally been a carriage house.
There, a group of people formed a theatre group. People of all ages were interested because there was little employment and folks were hungry for entertainment. The first plays presented were one act dramas. The next step was an evening of one-acts. The stage was small, with minimal scenery and makeshift lighting. But it was a beginning for a small group of enthusiastic, dedicated people. Eventually they improved the building with better seating, a small but very workable stage, and lighting that was considered quite good for the period. The quality of plays produced was quite high. Most of the plays were classics, because these did not require a royalty payment. Among the plays were Arms and the Man by Shaw, Hedda Gabler by Ibsen, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The theatre seated 100 people and most of the performances were sold out. Every Saturday there was a children’s play. Some of the plays were given for children by adults. Some were plays in which children took all the parts. There was one group which made puppets and gave puppet plays for the children. Everyone could take part in one way or another. Occasionally the old high school auditorium would be rented for a special production. One of these was The Taming of the Shrew and a Noel Coward comedy. Maybe once or twice a year the group with try a big production like this. The time came when the building was to be sold and the group would have to find a new home. The carriage house that had been the Little Theatre was torn down, but the members were not about to let this dissolve the organization. The Park Department came to their assistance. The new home was the old YWCA, now called Lexington House. The old “YW” had a stage which wasn’t very suitable for the groups productions, and there were many problems to be solved again. But the group’s enthusiasm, plus a number of new members kept things going. The organization changed it’s name to Elkhart Civic Theatre, Inc. 
At the YWCA, ECT presented more contemporary shows, such as Death Takes a Holiday, The Voice of the Turtle, The Glass Menagerie and Gigi, to name a few. During this period, the issue of censorship reared its head and again the question of a new permanent home was before the group.
With the help of dedicated members who spent a lot of time looking and pursuing this idea, the Opera House in Bristol was found. It was in poor repair but it held a lot of promise. It was a stimulating challenge to the membership as well. Again, they worked and cleaned, but it was truly a labor of love. They accomplished wonders. Today, Elkhart Civic Theatre has a charming, delightful home at the historic Bristol Opera House.
Want to get involved with ECT?
Whatever your talents, ECT needs someone like you. There is a form online at https://elkhartcivictheatre.org/get-involved/ to let them know your interests and they'll keep you informed of opportunities to join in creating and performing some of the highest quality civic theatre in the country.
Dave shared information about the time commitment many actors give to their craft. For Musicals rehearsals begin 10 weeks before the show dates, beginning usually 4 nights a week then 5-6 nights a week nearer performances; non-musicals begin rehearsals 5-6 weeks before performance dates.
Thanks, Dave, for an informative program! To learn more about Elkhart Civic Theatre, visit their website here: https://elkhartcivictheatre.org/
About Rotary:
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, community leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change – across the globe, in our local communities, and in ourselves. The Elkhart Rotary Club was founded in 1917 and serves its community through volunteerism, providing grants to not-for-profit organizations, sponsoring, and participating in service projects such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, roadside trash collection, and are the originators and sustainers of Wellfield Botanic Gardens. Elkhart Rotary Club’s membership consists of approximately 150 dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds and diverse interests. Membership in the Elkhart Rotary Club is by invitation. We welcome guests to attend any of our meetings and hear from our great lineup of weekly presenters.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary Club, visit elkhartrotary.org or email elkhartnoonrotary@gmail.com. Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub to stay current on meetings, upcoming events or speakers, and initiatives in the community.
Upcoming Meetings and Programs:
Join us for our next meeting:
All meetings are at noon on Mondays at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. in Elkhart IN, 46514. In months that include a FIFTH Monday, the Elkhart Rotary Club holds an alternative meeting or activity.