SPRINGFIELD, Vermont – The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce has named Springfield Community Stakeholders Organization of the Year for 2021.
For over 100 years, the organization has presented at least one community theater production per year and an average of four per year. This includes 2020 when the comedy “Check Please” premiered via Zoom due to Covid. In 2021, they presented a live season of two productions at their Studio Theater at 165 South St.
The organization’s involvement in improving the Springfield community also played a big role in securing the award. In 2021, the Players provided before the live Broadway concert and similar music, as performed by some of their members, at the weekly August concerts at Comptu Park, provided a venue for the abbreviated event of the this year’s Apple Blossom Festival and helped provide meals for Springfield’s First Responders.
Jessica Martin, director of Springfield on the Move, was one of those who named the players. She appears on a YouTube video produced by the Chamber to announce the winner. She said she “can count on these people when Springfield on the Move needs help, even if it’s 94 degrees outside. [and] I need help setting up our tent for our concert in the park. Martin actually played with the Players herself in the ’80s. Taylor Drinker, the Chamber’s director of memberships and events, said they received an annual award for outstanding organization in addition to their citizen award. outstanding since 2014. She says their board of past honorees reviewed new nominations this year as well as some advancements from previous years.
John MacDonald has served as Players’ Chairman for the past few years, including the 2021 awards period. He said: “I was extremely surprised and yet honored that we were recognized not only for the past year, but also for our past work supporting our community for over 100 years. Community theater not only provides an alternative style of entertainment, it also brings families together.
Donald Gray is one of two current Life Members. He first appeared on their stage in 1974 as a member of the chorus in the musical “Brigadoon.” He has since worked in many other roles with them, as well as directing. He said he was thrilled and that “we’ve been around forever and people don’t seem to realize we’re there. It’s finally good that we got some recognition.
Players were formed in the fall of 1920. “Nothing But the Truth” was presented at City Hall in January 1921. A tradition of community involvement began after the 1927 flood when $100 of proceeds from “Adam and Eva” was donated to relief efforts in the town of Cavendish. In 1954, Bob Spindler directed “Of Thee I Sing”, the band’s first musical. This started a tradition of featuring a musical every season. In 1979, the former Southview School was leased to the city, and it is the current Studio Theater and home of the band. Over the past few years, through grants and major donations, they have made a number of improvements to the facilities.
Taryn Sidney became the Players’ new president this year. She has written their press releases and participated in other ways over the past few years. She says they are now preparing for a season that will start in the spring. She says she’s seen “moments of growth over the past few years” and they’re “moving on to new experiences now.”
More information is available about them at www.springfieldcommunityplayers.org.