Follies returning to the stage
The Prineville Follies is emphasizing the number 40 this year.
Not only is the annual talent show presented with a "Fabulous '40s Radio Hour" theme, it is celebrating its 40th year of entertaining local audiences.
Next Friday and Saturday, 24 different individuals and groups will perform talents at Crook County High School's auditorium that range from singing and dancing to drama. Interspersed are live and silent auctions as well as a pre-show that will showcase the CCHS Jazz Band and two pianists.
"It first started with the Prineville Music and Theater Boosters," said Renee Moss, one of the event organizers. "For many years, it was under the direction of Marv Cochran and the Crook County Cadet Boychoir. Because of the Follies, they were able to go to Boston, New York City, Ireland and Japan."
Several years ago, the Music and Theater Boosters took over operation of the event and used the money raised to provide scholarships for local graduating seniors in band, choir and drama. In past years, the event provided enough money to award $200 scholarships, but now, recipients get $1,000 and more.
The Marv Cochran Scholarship goes to a senior involved in the Follies, the Lacey Barnhouse Scholarship is for a senior who was in choir, and the Gary Stephenson scholarship is awarded to a band student. Another scholarship it given to a drama student, but that one does not yet have a name attached, Moss said.
"Last year, we were able to award $6,250 in scholarships to students," she added.
The silent auction will once again take place when doors open for the show at 6 p.m. Just before intermission during the Follies, organizers will hold a live auction where people can bid on three different donated quilts and some hand-crafted jewelry. The silent auction will feature a variety of handcrafted items made by local artisans as well as some more expensive items like a round of golf at Meadow Lakes Golf Course and a vehicle alignment by Les Schwab Tires.
Performances this year will once again feature a lot of singing, dancing and drama.
"This year, our oldest performer (Jack Kerr) is 91 years old," Moss said. "The song that he is singing was written the year he was born, and he first sang it in 1943 at a high school assembly."
She went on to note that Cochran will return to the stage this year, meaning the founder of the Follies will perform once again.
"One of the reasons we chose the World War II entertainment for the troops radio show (theme) is because Mr. Cochran toured with the USO back in the day," Moss said.
The Follies will again feature oleos, or dramatic performances between the different acts, this time done in the style of the 1940s radio hour.
"That's what we use the oleos for is to bring out the theme of the show," Moss explained. "It also gives us the ability to make smooth transitions between the acts."
Moss credits the entire Crook County community and keeping the Follies going for the past four decades and is eager to see it happen once again next weekend.
"It is really neat to see something like this keep going and not only showcase what we have here in Crook County, but see people coming together," she said.