Lake Oswego, August 23rd, 2014. A sellout crowd of 230 filled Lakewood Center for the Arts for Lakewood Bandstand—a fund-raising event for Lakewood Center and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Bob Barman and Kristy Higgins were a hit on the dance floor. The event, which raised more than $90,000 for the two organizations, was co-chaired by Kristy Higgins, (producer of the event and owner of Step It Up Studios in Lake Oswego) and Fred Baldwin (owner of DePonte Cellars and Past President of the Lakewood Board of Directors). Similar to “Dancing With The Stars” in concept, audience members were encouraged to bid on their favorite dancer of the evening. Kelly Giampa—current member of Lakewood board of directors and an attorney with Hart Wagner LLP—raised the most funds from the audience and was crowned the winner. The title sponsor for the event was First Republic Bank.
Among the celebrity contestants were Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker, who danced the quickstep, and LO Fire Chief Ed Wilson, who danced a slow waltz.
Other stars included:
- Mark Birge, a partner with AKT Wealth Advisors, Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce board member and Rotarian, dancing a spicy mambo;
- Carol Winston, owner of Accessories from the Heart, Rotarian, president of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego and chairwoman of the Lake Oswego Business Alliance, dancing the Hustle;
- Samantha Richardson, a Lake Oswego resident, Rotarian, and Lakewood Center Asociate member, dancing the East Coast swing;
- Kelly Giampia, attorney with Hart Wagner and a Lakewood Center board member, dancing the foxtrot;
- Tenley Webb, voice actress and singer, dancing a Viennese waltz;
- Paul and Teri Graham, owners of Graham’s Book and Stationery, dancing a dramatic tango;
- Bob Barman, Lake Oswego School Board vice chairman, dancing a cha-cha;
The evening’s final dancer was ten-year-old Claire Sarnowski, who did a wonderful Lindy Hop. Claire has been an advocate for the National MS Society since the age of three; her mother has MS.
The evening began on Lakewood’s deck and courtyard with a sampling of beer, wine and food dishes donated by local vendors and restaurants. Left Coast Jazz provided musical accompaniment for patrons who took advantage of the outdoor dance floor to cut a rug before the main event.
From the Lakewood Theatre Company:
The Lakewood Theatre Company is a popular and financially successful member of the arts community, it is the cornerstone around which Lakewood Center has been built. Lakewood Theatre Company began in November, 1952, when a group of Lake Oswego residents decided that their community was not complete without a theatre and decided to organize what was known as the Oswego Players. From that first production of Blithe Spirit, the players performed in junior and senior high schools and halls throughout the Lake Oswego area, having no permanent home during its first nine years.
In 1961, a fund drive was launched that led to the purchase of a vacant Methodist church on Greenwood Road. Beginning with Arsenic and Old Lace, the company, then known as Lake Oswego Community Theatre, staged more than 110 productions there before they outgrew the facility. By then the I00 seat theatre was continuously sold out, the building provided no room for class and rehearsal space, and off-stage storage was extremely limited.
When the Lakewood School became available in 1979, an advisory task force determined that acquiring the building would encourage people to learn, teach, display and, above all, participate in the arts. With this in mind, the Lakewood Theatre Company nonprofit corporation decided to expand its purposes and became the Lakewood Center for the Arts.
A $1.1 million capital fund was established to purchase and renovate the school and put programs on line. After eight years, in 1987, the goal was realized and the final payment was made to the school board. The funds came from individuals, businesses, corporations, foundations and civic groups. None of the money came from city, state or federal sources.
In the fall of 1990 the theatre company changed its name from Lake Oswego Community Theatre to Lakewood Theatre Company. The name change was instituted to more closely identify the theatre with the programs at the Center and its mission of providing high quality entertainment and education.
In November, 2003 Lakewood completed a $3 million project to build a new stage house for Lakewood Theatre Company. The new auditorium features 220 seats with none further than 35 feet from the stage, a new stage house with fly lofts, traps and a new hearing-assisted sound system. Theatre programs now enjoy an average 85-90% sell out rate, mostly from pre-sold subscription packages.