Good examples of community working together

Monday, March 21, 2011

Congratulations to the Southwest Nebraska Community Theatre Association for another fantastic production, The Music Man, which played to near sold-out crowds all weekend.

From the participation of perennial barbershoppers Don Blank, Merlin Brown, Russ Ankersen and Charles Coleman as the cantankerous school board through high schoolers that included the breakout female lead Kelsey Siebrandt as Marian the Librarian and the McCook High School Band that brought the production to a stirring climax, to youngsters such as Gabe Sehnert as Winthrop Paroo and countless other contributors to the massive undertaking -- it was "community" theater at its finest.

We are amazed and grateful for the many hours of volunteer time that bring all parts of our community together for nothing more than a couple of hours of enjoyment. In this age of polarization and division, that's quite an accomplishment.

As if the crowds at the musical weren't enough, both the book signing at the New Life Christian bookstore and the Todd Burpo family talk at the Fox Theatre were near standing room only. The Gazette's associate editor, Dawn Cribbs, covered the Burpo's and the current owners of the bookstore's first book signing, Oct. 30, and wrote one of the first stories about their book, "Heaven is for Real."

What a difference six months can make. From an initial run of 15,000 copies, there are now 1.5 million copies in print, and the Burpos have appeared on numerous national talk shows, including two appearances on the Today Show today.

We were impressed with the down-to-earth, hometown flavor of the Rev. Burpo's talk Saturday night, plus his no-nonsense challenge to his listeners.

Not content with a best seller, Burpo and his small Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial plan to take on world hunger with an ambitious project this summer through the Feed My Starving Children organization. He told the Fox crowd Saturday night that they need a thousand volunteers to assemble meals at an event set for late July in Imperial.

If even a fraction of his readers put their faith in action by volunteering to take part, they should have no problem getting the job done.

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