Hello and welcome to issue 6 of the Members News! As always, please be sure to let me know if you have anything you would like to include in this forum. If you want to share a special upcoming event involving our members or something theater related that might be of interest to folks, please send me a note at email@example.com.
I want to remind everyone that a new membership year began on July 1, 2021. Membership information was sent out to all previous members and I hope, if you haven’t already, you will consider renewing your membership for this membership year (2021-2022)
The membership cycle runs from July 1 to June 30. Regardless of when you join (or renew your membership), the period of membership will end on June 30. Membership dues are $20 per year for Adult (16 and older) and $15 per year for Junior. Your Adult membership in PTP allows you to vote each year for the people who will run this organization. And your continued membership allows you run for the board of directors and have input into the way we move forward.
There have been several changes since I last put out a Members News. New Board members were announced at the Winter Membership Meeting. Going off the board were Melissa Gilpin Ball and JaNeene Sanders. New members to the board were Ben Simpson and Kaitelyn Bauer Dieguez.
In June of 2021, Neil Twohig resigned from his position on the board and JaNeene Sanders was asked to return to the board – she agreed. She was voted back onto the board at the July Board Meeting.
In August of 2021, Stacey resigned from the board since she had moved to Arizona. Carol Russell was asked to serve on the board, and she agreed. She was voted on to the board at the September Board Meeting.
In October of 2021, JaNeene Sanders resigned from the board due to other commitments. Craig Hower was asked to serve on the board, and he agreed. He was voted on to the board by vote on Facebook. He attended his first meeting in November.
The people asked to serve on the board were selected based on the tallies from the Elections at the beginning of 2021. They were asked in the order of the voting. Their willingness to run for the board previously made them the best candidates to fill the vacated positions as they arose.
The current board of the Port Tobacco Players is as follows:
President/Facilities – Chris Magee
Vice President/Productions – Tara Waters
Secretary/Membership – Carol Charnock
Treasurer – Mike Gahan
Public Affairs – Jason Klonkowski
Costumes – Ben Simpson
Education – Carol Russell
History/Library – Kaitelyn Bauer Dieguez
Properties – Craig Hower
Updates from recent meetings:
Financially, we are still doing well. Thanks to several grants, including a Shuttered Venue grant that gave us funds to support many of the repairs to the building, such as the roof. We were contacted by Merle Turner (a past PTP supporter) who has made a $1,000 donation to the scholarship fund in the name of Norma Neergaard, a past member of PTP and a frequent actress on our stage. We have almost $82,000 in our Scholarship fund.
Our new season opened with 12 Angry Jurors, which was well received by our audiences. All Together Now! – a musical revue – is in rehearsal and will open on November 12, 2021. It will only run for 4 shows (1 Friday night, a Saturday afternoon and evening, and a Sunday afternoon). Ticket prices are $15 across the board. I hope you can get to see this talented group and since we are not paying any royalties for the performances, this is a great fundraiser for the theater.
Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol is in rehearsal. It is a wonderful family show and only runs about 45 minutes, so it’s a great show to introduce our younger audiences to live theater. Ticket prices are $10 across the board.
With our opening of the theater, came new requirements for our audience members. In order to try and keep everyone safe, we are requiring all attendees to provide proof of vaccination and wear masks while they are in the theater. These changes went into effect for 12 Angry Jurors. We had a few audience members who were not in agreement with the changes and we refunded the price of their tickets. In general, patrons were happy to comply with the requirements.
Our Winter Membership Meeting will be in person this year. It is scheduled to be held on February 19, 2022 at the American Legion Hall in La Plata. Details are still to be finalized, but it will be wonderful to see everyone again!
Along with the winter membership meeting comes the election of new officers to the board. Because of the resignations during the year, we have a total of 5 positions open for this year. There are 3 positions that will be for 3 years, 1 position for 2 years and 1 position for 1 year. The slots will be filled by the number of votes received. If you are interested in running for the board, you must have been a continual member of PTP since January of 2020 and must have participated in 2 shows since September of 2019 (time extended due to COVID shut down) or have been a member of a standing committee. Our nominating committee this year is led by Tara Waters and her committee members are Kathy Mead and Kyle Bailey. If you are interested in running for one of the open positions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee will verify your qualifications and then put you on the ballot.
Please consider helping us out by becoming a part of the team that will keep this group moving forward.
I don’t know if you are aware, but the one of the board responsibilities is to attend our shows and be there to help out, if needed, with ushering, seating issues, any questions from patrons, etc. Board membership doesn’t just mean sitting at board meetings.
I hope you have found this issue informative and welcome any input you have for including information and keeping the membership up to date on what’s going on with the community.
Carol Charnock, Membership Chair
Port Tobacco Players is now accepting nominations for our Board of Directors.
There are three 3-year positions, one 2-year position, and one 1-year position.
All interested members should email email@example.com by December 1st with a brief one paragraph biography to be distributed to membership. Please copy two members on the email who will be signatures to your nomination.
To be eligible as a candidate for the PTP Board of Directors, a person must:
1) have been a Regular member as of January 1, of the two consecutive calendar years prior to the upcoming Winter General Membership Meeting and
2) be a current Regular Member at the time of elections. During that time, the candidate must have participated in at least two (2) productions, at least one (1) of which must have been other than as a performer and/or actively served on a Standing Committee as attested by committee chair.
Port Tobacco Players mourns the passing of Frederick (Fred) Mower, a wonderful actor who has graced our stage, on May 22 2021 in La Plata, Maryland.
Written by the Mower Family.
Fred was born September 14, 1937 in Washington, DC, the second child of the late Richard Webb Mower and Mary Elizabeth Hager Mower. Fred attended Anacostia High School where he spent many happy summers playing ball at the Anacostia flats. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1956 and was honorably discharged in 1959. While in the Marines, he served as part of the USMC detachment on naval ships, including the U.S.S. Boston and the U.S.S. Intrepid (now a museum in NYC). He visited 22 countries during his service. After attending the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Academy, he served as a DC Police Officer at Precinct No. 10, earning honors and awards, including the Police Officer of the Month. He obtained his Maryland Real Estate Broker’s License and managed St. Charles Realty, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Prudential Real Estate, and established and managed the Waldorf office of Home Towne Real Estate.
Devoting decades of service to the community, Fred was appointed by the Governor to the Great Oaks Advisory Council. He was Chairman of the Board of Public Safety, a member of the Board of Directors of Parks & Recreation, President of the Waldorf Little League, a member of the Board of Trustees of Physicians Memorial Hospital (now the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center), Chairman of the annual Charles County Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair (four years), and a member of the Charles County Board of Appeals for 10 years, serving the last three as Chairman. He was an outstanding athlete and volunteered at Leonard Hall Junior Naval Academy as the basketball coach. One of his favorite pastimes in recent decades was watching the CHASM (Charles and St. Mary’s County) Baseball League.
Fred had a beautiful voice and starred in several musical productions of the Port Tobacco Players. He shaved his head for the role of Daddy Warbucks in “Annie,” starred as Beau in “Auntie Mame,” as Bill Sykes in “Oliver,” and Big Julie in “Guys and Dolls.” There is a plaque on the back of a chair at the theater with his name engraved.
Fred was known for his laughter, teasing, and affability. He was quite the character, whether playing Pitch with friends or sharing time with his wife’s Ohio family. He was devoted to his sisters-in-law, Nancy A. Johnson, Linda Johnson Dishon, and Beth Johnson Blauser, as well as to his many nieces, nephews, and two cousins. His many friends meant the world to him. Fred mourned the passing of his family members, sister Elizabeth June Mower White, and brother-in-law Ronald R. Johnson and James L. Dishon, as well as the recent passing of great friends, Norman Garrison and Larry R. Holtz.
Fred is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Scarlett Johnson Mower, his son J. Scott Mower (Suzanne), his daughter Tamara Elizabeth Mower, his granddaughter Katelyn Elizabeth Mower Drvar (Dan), his one-year old great-granddaughter, Riley Suzanne Drvar, and his lifetime friends since kindergarten, Steve Clarke and Jim Reesch. His daughter-in-law, Suzanne, gave him loving care and attention.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at Middleton’s Farm on Maryland Route 5 in Waldorf, Maryland from 2-5PM. All who knew and cared for him are invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, those who choose may send donations to Holy Angels School, 10450 Ellerbe Road, Shreveport, LA 71106, where Scarlett and Fred’s daughter, Tammy, is in residence. Holy Angels provides programs for the disabled, mentally and physically challenged and was established by the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrow.
Port Tobacco Players mourns the passing of Norma Stone Neergaard, a wonderful actor who has graced our stage, on August 2, 2021, after a slow decline.
Written by the Elliott and Thompson families.
She was born on June 23, 1933, to Charles and Minnie Stone in Winchester, Kentucky where she lived until after she met and married Charles Neergaard (died 1990).
Her early days on Boone Avenue in Winchester brought her to the 1st Presbyterian Church where she sang in the choir. There in the back row was her soon to be husband, Charles. They didn’t know one another until they met at a party months later. Norma intentionally rode with a friend expecting to find someone to give her a ride home. Smart and sassy, Norma found Charles. They were married 8 months later.
While living in the Carriage House on Belmont Ave, the couple had two girls. Soon, job changes caused them to move to West Virginia, Marcellus, New York and then LaPlata, Maryland. Always, the first order was to find a church home and sing in the choir. Norma was always willing to lead the children’s choir or play piano. She always had a neighbor or two sending kids over for piano lessons too. Music always filled the house. Norma would say that the most fun was performing with the Marcellus Chorale….especially in the Spring Broadway Review. At every party there was always a group circled around Norma playing the piano singing in harmony.
Norma was an avid golfer. She always remembered fondly the trophy won with Debbie in the Mother-Daughter Tournament.
After her husband passed away, and both daughters married, Norma enjoyed grandparenting the babies that came. She also dusted off her “actress” hat and was cast in several productions of the Port Tobacco Players. With a goal of visiting all 50 states, Norma and friend made big driving trips across the country and met her goal. Eventually, she relocated near her girls in Texas. There she was busy with new friends and the social recreation offered where she lived.
Throughout her career, she was an exceptionally detailed asset to each company. Her earliest profession was as a proofreader for the Winchester Sun and later for the Marcellus Observer. The Law firm of Bryant, O’Dell and Basso in Syracuse, New York hired Norma as a legal secretary. After her move to Maryland, she began work at the Law Office of Merle Turner in LaPlata. Norma also had a side gig as a high school gymnastics judge – she had a detailed, discerning eye.
Norma always put others to shame with her skill at Scrabble and Banana-Grams. The daily crossword puzzles were her morning challenge. She couldn’t start the day without the newspaper and her coffee.
“Nana,” as she became known to the family, was the matriarch. Always at family gatherings, she enjoyed the finer things, like Blue Crab and cheap red wine. She was a fine cook who could make fried chicken and pinto bean soup like no other. In the kitchen, she was known however, for her homemade hot rolls affectionately renamed “Nana’s Buns.”
Having lived through lean times, Norma was a frugal shopper and a coupon-cutter extraordinaire! She enjoyed finding treasures at garage sales and refinishing furniture. Her treasures are now housed in the homes of her daughters….along with the back-stories of each. Additionally, she used her skill in sewing, crochet, and knitting to supplement the wardrobes of her girls. Ask Karin about the knitted pants and top….
Part of Norma and Charles’ household was Norma’s mom, Minnie. Confined to a wheelchair, they took her into their home early in their marriage. They selflessly and lovingly cared for her for nearly 20 years.
Although Norma didn’t want to be a burden, she reluctantly agreed and lived the last 5 years of her life under the loving roof of Karin and Ed. Their willingness and ability to have her there was a gift to her and the rest of the family. For the last year, Norma was cared-for by loving aides provided by “Granny Nannies, Inc”. Especially of note were those at the end.
Norma was preceded in death by her husband, Charles. She is survived by her daughters, Karin Elliott (husband Ed) and Deborah Thompson (husband Scott); grandsons, Ardi Elliott, Bradley Thompson (wife Jessica), Matthew Thompson and Michael Thompson.
An early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease sent Norma’s daughters to a free course provided by the James L. West Alzheimer’s Center. This instruction provided a tremendous knowledge base from which to navigate through Norma’s decline. It is a recommended resource! Because of this, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Dementia and Caregiver Education program at www.JamesLWest.org