Theatre 29 celebrated a wildly successful 2018 season, and its volunteers, the people responsible for its success, at its annual volunteer appreciation dinner Saturday night, March 2, at the Joshua Tree Community Center.
In an evening filled with fun, laughter, and artistic camaraderie, some 150 members of the Theatre 29 family were served a delicious meal from Bruce’s Coyote Kitchen and treated to memories of the 2018 season with video snippets and live performances. Theatre 29 Board President Gary Daigneault gave out honors to those who had distinguished themselves the past year.
An emotional moment was the announcement of the retirement of the last remaining founder from the Board of Directors. Brian Tabeling, who along with his wife Patty and John and Carol Calveri started Theatre 29 in 1991, was given a standing ovation. Tabeling is retiring from his job aboard the Twentynine Palms Marine Base and will be relocating later this year.
Winning the highest honor the non-profit organization gives, the “Volunteer of the Year” award, was Doug Peercy of Twentynine Palms, who has built most of the sets for the 2018 season and assists with upgrades, repair, and maintenance to the Theatre building on Sullivan Road.
Getting the “Above and Beyond” awards were the Bateman family of Twentynine Palms; Mom Jamie, and kids Gabe, Carly, and Tyler. From starring roles on stage, for both mainstage and Summer Youth shows, helping with costumers, props, cleaning, fixing, and wrangling youngsters, the remarkable Batemans are always ready to do whatever is needed with a smile.
Another “Above and Beyond” award went to Chris Fleischman, involved as a lead or supporting character in four of the six main stage shows this year. He also led, for a second year, the highly successful Baker’s Dozen Improv troupe. His level of commitment is impressive, and he strives to put on the best performance every time.
A special “Above and Beyond” nod went to Mark Stoker of Stoker Construction on Yucca Valley. Stoker arranged for the donation of barely used new seating for the Theatre. He then brought the 160 chairs to the theater, allowed his trucks to be used as storage, and then personally supervised the installation of the seats.
Two awards were also given out for “Unseen Heroes,” those volunteers who work behind the scenes out of the stage lights to improve the quality of the theatrical productions. Brandon and Brandy Hazel, who married in a ceremony at Theatre 29 in 2018, were recognized for their efforts building sets, lighting and set design, specialty make-up, costuming and a stint onstage.
The Board also recognized the Theatre 29 volunteers who were nominated for excellence in their theatrical specialties by the Desert Theatre League, made up of 39 producing organizations in the Hi and lo Deserts
All the volunteers were presented with personal certificates of appreciation and deluxe custom thermos containers.
Program/News Director, KCDZ, Z107.7FM
Associated Press Hall of Fame, 2010
President, Theatre 29
President, Rotary Club of Twentynine Palms