Bob Mitchell: Cassville getting ready for the spotlight
Here it is the middle of October, and Cassville is getting ready to put her best foot forward in presenting the all-volunteer productions that have grabbed the area's attention for years.
First on the stage is The Show, an original production directed by Greg Beck, who is assisted by 41 folks. Their presentation isn't something they just get together on the spur of the moment to play their instruments and sing their numbers, they have been working on the special production for several months.
Much of the program, presented in three performances at the FEMA Event Center on the Cassville School Campus, is original by Beck, drawing on his years as a professional drummer. Many musical numbers are favorites that please the audience, as evidenced by the reception during the two evening and one afternoon performances.
Evening performances are Oct. 22-24, each at 7:30 p.m., with the Sunday afternoon finale being Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. Skipping the Friday night date is intentional to avoid conflict between football dates and any of the participants.
Members of the band and their instruments or duties include: Jack Reed, lead guitar; Dale Strahan, rhythm guitar; Bruce Nickle, bass; Debbie Nickle, keyboard/backing vocals; Jennifer Evans, piano/keyboard/backing vocals; Rocky Mills, trumpet/banjo; Jim Craig, trombone; Don Bowen, backing vocals; Brenda Beck, percussion; Greg Beck, drums; Ken Latscher, sound tech; Chris Seymour, lighting tech; and Carolyn Bowen, stage director.
In this group you can find industrialists, city officials, business owners and others in about every walk of life around town.
Most of The Show's vocalists include Josh Davison, John Lueckenhoff, Angela Seymour, Sarah Roper, Jeremy Hilburn, Bradley Lueckenhoff, Jordan Bailey, Brianna Hemphill, Mary Ellen Conrod, Shelby Jo Taylor, Jill LeCompte, Phillip Roller, Brooke Cornell, Cassidy Larson, Jeremiah Hilburn, Kristin Stettnisch, Laura Hollycross, Ryann Stewart, Kiley Wolf, Drake Thomas, Jaci Evans, Hope Boston, and the high school choir students directed by Mary Richmiller.
Special guests are listed as Jolie Evans, Rielynn Endicott, Alex Holycross, McKinley Runnels and Riley Ragsdale,
This group includes major educators, school administrators, law enforcement officials, people who have been performing since childhood and -- obviously -- a talented group from the Cassville school system that has been recognized in competition.
In time for color
This event, plus the Oct. 24 Chili and Salsa Cook-off around the public square, are all timed to run in conjunction with the Flaming Fall Review that visits this area in mid October every year. Mark Twain National Forest and the surrounding area will begin to be ablaze with the annual color show that arrives with shorter daylight hours.
Autumn's call to Cassville's square will feature a number of activities, all outside for public view and participation. In addition the usual Craft Fair, which will ring three sides of the square with only Main Street reserved for traffic. An overflow area adjoining the square usually provides spaces for a number of activities.
Cassville Fire Protection District's will hold its annual pancake breakfast for the public at First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. If you want to see how firemen can produce flapjacks, walk in, sit down and be served.
Chili and salsa
For the chili-salsa part of the downtown activities, there exists another list of volunteers working under the direction of Brittany Farris, Cassville's Chamber of Commerce executive director, to make sure events run on schedule to provide a full Saturday of entertainment.
The event committee consists of Farris, Justin Gates, Mike McCracken, Annette Henderson, Bill Shiveley and Randy Stockton. There are another 12 volunteers who will oversee other aspects of the daylong event.
There are 12 judges for the chili entries to attempt pleasing, and another five for salsa makers. Their names won't be published in advance of the event.
Crafts and booths
Filling in the public square space will be 90-100 booths, many including craft-makers from throughout the area. A number of organizations in the region will offer informational booths for the event.
Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.