Springfield Community Players named Organization of the Year

The cast of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” presented by the SCP in 2019. Photo provided

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – The Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce has named the Springfield Community Players as Organization of the Year for 2021.

For over 100 years the organization has presented at least one community theater production a year and averaged four a year. This includes 2020 when the comedy “Check Please” was presented via Zoom due to Covid. In 2021 they presented a two-production live season at their Studio Theater at 165 South St.

The organization’s involvement in bettering the Springfield community also played a large part in its receiving the award. In 2021 the Players provided pre-concert live Broadway and similar music, as performed by some of their members, at the weekly August concerts in Comptu Park, provided a venue for this year’s Apple Blossom festival’s abbreviated event, and helped provide meals to Springfield’s First Responders.

Jessica Martin, Director of Springfield on the Move, was one of those who nominated the Players. She appears on a YouTube video produced by the Chamber to announce the winner. She said she “can count on these folks when Springfield on the Move needs help, even if its 94 degrees outside [and] I need help setting our tent up for our concert in the park.” Martin actually performed with the Players herself in the ‘80s. Taylor Drinker, Membership and Events Director of the Chamber, said they have had an annual Outstanding Organization award in addition to their Outstanding Citizen award since 2014. She says their Board of previous winners considered new nominations this year as well as some brought forward from previous years.

John MacDonald has been President of the Players in recent years including the 2021 award 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 in supporting our community 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 Lifetime 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 is delighted and that, “We’ve been around forever, and people seem not to realize we’re there. It’s finally good we got some recognition.”

Bob Spindler, director of the 1954 presentation of “Of Thee I Sing,” at the piano. Photo provided

The Players were formed in the fall of 1920. “Nothing But the Truth,” was presented at the Town Hall in January of 1921. A tradition of community involvement was started after the 1927 flood when $100 from the 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 group’s first musical. This started a tradition of presenting one musical each season. In 1979 the former Southview School was leased from the town, and it is the group’s current Studio Theater and home. In recent years, through grants and major donations, they have made a number of upgrades 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 putting together a season that will start in the spring. She says she has seen “moments of growth in the past few years,” and that they are now “moving into new experiences.”

More information is available about them at www.springfieldcommunityplayers.org.

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