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Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Thanks for supporting Egyptian Theatre

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors of the Egyptian Theatre, I would like to thank our volunteers, patrons, donors, sponsors, community organizations and the city of DeKalb for another outstanding season at the theater. You make the Egyptian Theatre a regional center for performing arts and preserve a historic jewel!

This past year, we welcomed more than 25,000 people for more than 100 performances, public events, film showings, weddings, tours and Amenti Haunted House nights. We are pleased to have worked with a number of community groups and organizations who utilized the theater, including: Northern Illinois University, the city of DeKalb, the American Heart Association, the Beth Fowler School of Dance, Celebrate Downtown DeKalb, the Daily Chronicle, the DeKalb Catholic Daughters of the Americas, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, the DeKalb Education Foundation, the DeKalb County League of Women Voters, the DeKalb Public Library, DeKalb School District 428, Fitworkz, FunMe Events, the Illinois Lincoln Highway Association, the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra, North Central Cyclery, ReNew DeKalb, the Sycamore/Rochelle Performing Arts Academy, Thrivent Financial and Gavin Wilson.

In addition to local events and partnerships, our 2012-2013 theater season included performances by national touring acts. The duo Switchback, the U.S. Air Force Concert Band, the Irish band Gaelic Storm, comedian Lewis Black, pop stars Aaron Carter, Ryan Cabrera, Teddy Geiger and Tyler Hilton, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, rockers Survivor and John Waite graced our stage and delighted audiences. With the support of the community, we plan to present more concerts and performances by well-known performers in the year ahead.

Events like these would not be possible without our dedicated, hard-working volunteers! We have a small staff of four, including our new membership and marketing director. We’re grateful to the 250-plus volunteers who contributed more than 5,000 hours of service this year. We couldn’t meet the needs of our performers and patrons without them serving as ticket takers, ushers, and concession stand workers! We are honored to have wonderful volunteers from the high schools, Kishwaukee College, Northern Illinois University, and the greater community.

We again want to thank the city of DeKalb and the community for helping to maintain and preserve our historic theater! We appreciate your support, generosity and attendance throughout the year and look forward to seeing you when our next season starts in September. You are the stars of the show! Thank you!

Alex Nerad

Executive director

Egyptian Theatre

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Fourth of July celebration was extremely enjoyable

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to thank the DeKalb Municipal Band, DeKalb Park District and DeKalb Police Department for one of the most enjoyable July 4 celebrations that my family has ever attended. Being from Arizona, I was surprised when a friend we were visiting in Sycamore suggested we attend the concert in the park. A bit apprehensive we decided to go and we were so happy that we did.

The musicians, vocalists and conductor were unbelieveably talented, and the music selections that they played were absolutely enchanting to listen to. The energy level that they conveyed throughout their performance was in comparison to none that we have ever seen.

If there was a CD for sale, we would have definitely bought one. The conductor was fabulous to watch, and surprised us when he played his trombone at the end of the song, “Stars and Stripes,” without missing a beat!

Our family has attended Fourth of July symphony concerts in New York, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis where we had to pay to enjoy the event, and this concert by far was just as good as those and it was free!

The DeKalb Park Distrcit and Police Department should also be commended at how they made the event with so many people run smoothly and with a sense of safety to the public.

I just wanted to let the people of the DeKalb/Sycamore area know, just how lucky they are to live amongst these jewels in the community. And if we are ever in the area again for the Fourth of July, we know where we are going to enjoy the holiday.

Michele Spina

Phoenix, Ariz.

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Fond memories of Wurlitzer

To the Editor:

Do you have a Wurlitzer piano or organ? Did you ever hear the Mighty Wurlitzer playing in Wurlitzer Hall? Are Wurlitzer jukeboxes a memory from your past? A name fast becoming a memory or completely unknown was once an important dynamic in the history of DeKalb.

In the early 1950s, when I was first employed by this company, my co-workers quickly became my friends. Wurlitzer, as did many companies of this period, encouraged business relationships to extend into personal and family lives, creating a larger “family.” Golf and bowling leagues, family Christmas parties and adult Halloween parties helped provide the binding glue.

In this decade of expansion and growth, our nation added two more states, and job opportunities abounded. While raising my family, I ran the gamut of full-time and part-time stints in purchasing, service and advertising.

Back then, the shrill siren call of Wurlitzer’s noon whistle, reminiscent of former air-raid test warnings, would settle in haunting sound-waves over the peaceful homes in the area. Many of these homes were still occupied by early Finnish settlers, who helped to fill the growing number of available manufacturing jobs. This need also drew from the southern migration.

Now when I see the flags of the many nations at Olympic games or world conferences, I am reminded of the different flags which, in later years, flew over the company’s corporate headquarters, a five-building complex. As the buyer, I had been asked to purchase the national flag of each country for every visiting dignitary.

Eventually this “family” was broken, and dispersed. The old factory on Pleasant Street closed and is now falling down, and the corporate complex on Gurler Road has been divided and broken. Yes, there is still a connection.

As many cling to relationships and memories, former employees have gathered from all parts of the nation for their “family” reunions, the first, and impressive three-day affair, each subsequently becoming smaller.

Additionally, a small number of this contingent meets each month to laugh, remember, support ... and sometimes to attend a funeral for one of its members. When I come to a restaurant, requesting seating for our group, I find many who do not recognize the name Wurlitzer. No recollection of the quality instruments produced at the once bustling factory, nor of grand Wurlitzer Hall before which flew the flags of many nations. The sands of time shift and erase.

Clara Nieman

DeKalb

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Thanks for making garden walk a success

To the Editor:

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners of DeKalb County would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to all of those involved for helping to make the Garden Walk and Plant Sale on July 13 a big success. We thank those who shared their gardens and all of the volunteers who planned and executed the event. We sincerely appreciated the plant contributions of local nurseries. We especially appreciate all of those who attended our event, for without them our efforts would be useless.

Plants were contributed by Blumen Gardens, Derbyline Nursery, Stran’s Landscaping,  DeKalb Garden Club, and Wiltse Greenhouse and Home Landscaping, as well as many of the Master Gardeners.

Proceeds support the programs of the Extension. These are described in detail at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo.

See you next year!

Barbara Pence

Publicity chairwoman,

U of I Extension Master Gardener Garden Walk and Plant Sale 

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