With so many great groups and organizations in Toole County it’s easy to not realize what all is available, especially with new groups. It was just last summer that Crissy Bauman, Sandra Blosser, Doreen McKelvey and Lisa Welch formed Toole County Performing Arts & Entertainment, in an effort to bring and promote live theater, musical and art events in the area.
“After the dinner theatre last spring, there was a lot of positive feedback, as well as positive feedback for the KidsMAT summer camp,” said Bauman. “The Friends of the Library was kind enough to step up to bring the dinner theatre to Shelby, but without having the backing of another organization it was difficult to bring events to Shelby because I couldn’t ever come out ahead or else it was considered profit. It was also hard to get sponsorships and donations because there was no group name to make the checks out to. So last summer Sandra Blosser, Doreen McKelvey, Lisa Welch and I brought the Toole County Performing Arts & Entertainment into existence, so that we could raise money for funding to bring and promote events such as live theatre and live musical performances in our community.”
Dinner Theatre is returning again this year, mark your calendar for April 24 and 25, but before that happens the group is hosting another fun event on Sunday, March 8, starting at 2:30 p.m. in the SHS auditorium, a performance by The Wardens.
The Wardens hale from Canada, a trio that recently became a quartet. In Canada backcountry rangers are referred to as wardens and the members of this group are all either current or retired wardens.
“They sing original music and tell stories about their experiences working in the Canadian Rockies, primarily in Banff National Park,” explained Bauman. “Their performance is very family-friendly and their music has kind of a folksy bluegrass sound. Grandparents and parents should feel very comfortable bringing children and grandchildren of all ages.”
Having The Wardens come to Shelby wasn’t a last minute decision, but one that has been in the works for some time and that has had the help and support of the community. It started with the Toole County Community Foundation granting Toole County Performing Arts & Entertainment a membership so that not only do they have a 501c3 status, but total transparency with the foundation receiving copies of all the group’s bank statements. A couple successful burger nights at the Coyote Club last fall, along with donations from the Shelby TBID and Shelby Chiropractic ensured the performance would take place. Best Western Inn and Suites also stepped up to help, donating a couple of rooms for the performers to stay in overnight.
“We’re still hoping a local restaurant or two will offer to donate for the performers a snack prior to and a hot meal at the end of the show,” said Bauman.
The Wardens and Dinner Theatre are not the only two performances the group is hoping to offer this year. They are also bringing back KidsMAT Summer Theatre Camp for a second year with hopes that eventually they’ll have the funding to be able to support and promote local talent, maybe even bringing community theatre back to Shelby if there is enough interest. The group is also tentatively planning a “Boozefest,” slated for May 16.
“We have two breweries, a winery and a distillery that are interested in participating and we’d like to line up some musicians from the HiLine to perform,” said Bauman. “Obviously we’ll need more sponsors and donations for the Boozefest, and we’ll be holding more fundraisers, so we’re really hoping the community will support our little group in our endeavors.”
One big way you can help is by attending the performances already scheduled. The Wardens will get underway in the SHS auditorium at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, with tickets being $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens and students 12-17 and $5 for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased from Bauman, McKelvey at the Chamber Office or online at https://www.facebook.com/events/1820433458100930/ or https://tinyurl.com/v4ue9xm. Tickets can also be purchased at the door, but you are encouraged to purchase your tickets in advance.
Toole County Performing Arts & Entertainment is in existence mainly to provide fun and unique events for the community, but that can’t happen without community support. All too often it’s said, “There’s nothing to do in Shelby.” Here’s your chance to help support a worthwhile organization working to give all “something fun to do.”