Close to 40 attendees at the Rural Alliance for the Arts annual meeting Aug. 24 learned about a diverse slate of upcoming cultural events: • “Murder on the Rerun,” a comic murder mystery with local talent, will be performed Oct. 22-24 at the newly renovated RomWeber Marketplace. Tickets to the play with a 7 p.m. catered dinner Friday-Saturday are $25 for RAA members and $30 for nonmembers, while a 2 p.m. desserts-and-drinks show Sunday costs $15 and $20, respectively. • To kick off the holiday season, singer-songwriter Jennie DeVoe will entertain music lovers 16 and up Saturday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. after the Batesville Holiday Parade. “She's really good,” reports Vice President Mary Mattingly. The Indianapolis-based DeVoe, known for a striking husky voice and sly wit, has performed her mix of soul and blues all over the country. Attendees may eat dinner at Hillcrest Country Club between 5-7 p.m. or order from the snack menu and cash bar all evening. Tickets are $10 and $12. • Two Indiana University singing groups, Straight No Chaser and the IU Soul Revue, will dazzle the crowd Saturday, Feb. 19, starting at 7 p.m. at the Batesville High School auditorium. “They harmonize really well and have a nice sense of humor,” according to Mattingly. • The Community Art Show will be in June in conjunction with the Batesville Music and Arts Festival. • “Bye Bye Birdie,” scheduled for June 24-26 at the BHS auditorium, is the biannual community musical. The satire on American society, set in 1958, was inspired by the phenomenon of Elvis Presley and his draft notice into the Army. “We encourage you to get involved backstage or onstage,” the vice president says. • For its 12th local appearance, Minnesota-based Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre experts will bring in sets and costumes and coach local kids July 18-23 before performances of “Tom Sawyer ” at the auditorium. The art auction, Rural Alliance for the Arts’ major fundraiser, will remain in early May. For more information or to order tickets, administrator Joan Kuhlman can be reached at 933-0355. RAA’s net income for the period that ended June 30 was $39,930, noted Treasurer Barb Greene. The nonprofit had a year-end balance of $215,600. Income was $130,300, including grants, $61,735; art auction, $41,609; program admissions, $12,447; and memberships, $10,890. Expenses were $90,371, including cultural events, $34,136; Arts in Education Program at six public and private schools, $26,100; art auction, $7,579; and payroll, $7,626. Five were singled out for their contributions to the organization. The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Joann Call by Kuhlman. For years the Young Artist Showcase music chair, Call is “someone who has gone above and beyond what would be expected from a volunteer consistently year after year ... She is always willing to help.” Two were praised educational efforts. Jolene Rockwood, RAA’s founder and first president in 1988, “has worked tirelessly,” Kuhlman said. The longtime Arts in Education Program chair also will lead programming. Rockwood has held numerous RAA offices and helped on all committees. Rockwood, in turn, honored Batesville Middle School language arts teacher and BHS Drama Club adviser Lisa Barnett “for her love of the arts and commitment to arts education .... She epitomizes the teacher who knows how to integrate arts into the classroom curriculum.” In addition to directing 50 BHS plays and musicals since 1988, Barnett helps BMS students act in "The Christmas Carol" and “Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry” after reading those books. Rockwood observed, “Hundreds of students have benefitted from her projects.” Outgoing President Lori Feldbauer bestowed the President's Award on Bill Blank. “He’s continuously been there over the years to help us with sound systems,” most recently at the auction, “ABBAmania” and Cirque Extravaganza. Bruce and Mary Ellen Rippe of RomWeber Marketplace were honored as Business of the Year. While “we have many, many businesses that support the arts,” the Rippes allowed the auction to be held at Romweber Co. in 2002 and 2003 and will again open their doors for the fall play. Feldbauer noted, “The important word is we. The volunteers in this organization are amazing.” Outgoing board members Domenica Cohen, Roberta Cook, Bonnie Pratt and Michelle Schwettman also were applauded. In addition to Mattingly and Greene, incoming officers are President Darlene Brewer and Secretary Elaine Howell. Besides Feldbauer, Rockwood and Barnett, other board members, who were elected or re-elected at the meeting, are Chris Ault, Judy Amos, Leacarol Bennett, Connie Brunner, Mary K. Cambron, John Hillenbrand II, Katherine McElhoe, Janicee Miller, Chris Nichols, Anne Raver, Dr. Jim Roberts, Jen Saner, Regina Siefert and Lee Winters.

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