First I want to thank the leadership of SOMC for allowing us to use the Friends Center for this important event. Their staff; Jennifer Schackart, Jenny Lavender, Carl Bracken and Terry Dingess; were very professional, responsive and accommodated our every need.
I also want to thank Amy and Michael Barnhart, who donated their musical talent by providing some very beautiful and unusual “early music” with recorder and percussion from the Middle Ages. I am also very grateful for Bard and Jan Suverkrop who generously donated their time and talent to sing and play a beautiful opera piece in honor of Martha. I understand that Bard was still recovering from a bout of the flu when he sang the stirring “Toreador Song” from the opera “Carman.” Stan Workman also very kindly gave of his time and talent, performing a song called, “Non Ti Scordar Di Me” (Italian for “Don’t Forget Me”). Stan explained that one line says (very appropriately) “there will always be a nest in my heart for you.” Martha has built a nest in our hearts and Stan’s gift of song will also never be forgotten.
I also want to thank Steve Free who so graciously shared a song he had written earlier this year for the Governor, “Child of Appalachia.” The words were so sweet and applied so well to Martha. I know she felt much honored to have her good friend and the Governor’s Award Winner serenade her in song.
I am very grateful to Nick Gampp, Sara Johnson and Wayne Lawson for giving their inspired remarks honoring Martha and her many contributions to our community and the State of Ohio. They made us smile and laugh as we took a look at this pillar in our community through their eyes.
There were so many details that made the evening a success, such as the decorating touches by board members, Mandy Blau, Sonie Hash, John Leasure and Tiffany Tomlin, as well as donations of fresh flowers by Gloria Horsley (who also ordered the wine). I want to also thank Ken Carlson and George Horsley for serving the wine that evening. Board member Kay Bouyack also helped by gathering information and photos from Martha, in addition to writing all the publicity for the event. Her husband, Ernie, helped keep track of all the bids on artwork and purchases of Blenko glass. I was also very grateful for the two SSU student volunteers, Danielle Boyle and Ryan Appleton, who came and helped with registration and set-up/clean-up.
My special thanks go to board member, Kate Kerr who generously donated many hours of her time to hand dye and paint designs on 15 beautiful silk scarves specifically designed for this event (many of them were sold by the end of the event). Martha’s favorite watercolor painting created by Kate (“Martha’s Wildflowers” - featured on the invitation and program cover) was also sold and all the proceeds went to PAAC. Kate also donated ceramic pieces by her late husband, Phillip Gearheart and fellow ceramist, Bill Meadows. Additional artwork was donated by Nick Gampp, Jim Great Elk Waters, and Barb McDonald (who donated a Will Reader painting).
Every great event must have great food – and ours was lovingly chosen, prepared and arranged by board member, Chef Bill Schaefer of Haute Stuff Cuisine. Bill has given so much of his time and expertise in the area of food for this and other fund raisers during the year. The evening would not have been such a success without his delicious creations. Thank you Bill!
Last but definitely not least, I want to thank all of the individuals who attended the event or gave donations in honor of Martha Burton. Some bought glass vases, hand-painted scarves or artwork in an effort to help us make our goal. Without their support, the Portsmouth Area Arts Council could not continue to present quality children’s theatre for area families and school children – or be involved in promoting the arts in our community. Thank you so much for allowing PAAC to continue to “Color the Community with the Arts”!
With Sincere Gratitude,
Portsmouth Area Arts Council