Arts Council honors Pruett

Monday, June 11, 2012
Joey Pruett shares a laugh with friends during a Celebration of the Arts eventwhere he was honored

The Clay County Arts Council, Inc., ended its 2011-2012 season Saturday night with a Celebration of the Arts honoring Joey Pruett.

Pruett was a perfect choice because of all he has done and continues to do for the community. Without a doubt he has been involved in just about every program performed in the Rector Community Center and almost all the school plays since he was in high school. He is the go-to man for sound, video, spotlights, personal computers and all things electronic.

It is impossible to imagine the Labor Day Picnics, Rector High School Helping Hands productions and church programs without Pruett taking care of something that makes it all run.

Almost every other community event has benefited from Pruett's skills as well. He has been called to help with other productions in surrounding communities, such as the Johnny Cash Music Festival at Arkansas State University, and is part of the Ultimate Oldies show group that so many have come to love. In other words, Joey Pruett is very deserving of the honor bestowed on him by the Clay County Arts Council.

As a husband, father and grandfather, Pruett has been a part of the Rector Community all his life. He and his wife Janice and daughters Sarah and Amy were involved with the student exchange program for many years and this brought all of them a lot of pleasure as well as bringing the richness of other cultures into the Rector community.

A little over 200 people were at the Rector Community Center to pay tribute to Joey Saturday night, and true to the image we have all come to know so well, Joey, unable to sit still, was the biggest part of the entertainment.

Before turning Joey loose, however, the Clay County Arts Council did a little showing off by presenting the fruits of their spring workshops. Two groups of young girls performed Scottish dances taught by instructor Sandy Furrer, who was brought from Little Rock for the class.

Girls in group one included: Anna Wimberley, daughter of Ashley and Neal Wimberley; Morgan Garner, daughter of Tracy and Amy Garner; Olivia Sutherland, daughter of Carla Essman; Karrin Henderson, daughter of Nate and Heidi Henderson, and Erin Baker, daughter of Elizabeth and Dax Fitzgerald and Kelly and Ann Baker.

Group two was made up of Sarah Robinson, daughter of Nate and Heidi Henderson and the late Josh Robinson; McKenzie Baker, Sarah Baker and Cecily Baker; daughters of Jeffrey and Barbara Baker, and Sophie Simmons, daughter of Jamie and Stephen Simmons.

Each group, dressed in red tams, dark skirts, white shirts and red plaid sashes, performed several of the Scottish Folk dances they had learned.

The drama workshop was directed by former RHS graduate and drama student Whitney Conley, who delighted her students by teaching them from the works of William Shakespeare. To illustrate, Erin Baker gave a dramatic recitation from Romeo and Juliet.

A visual arts workshop also was held by Carolyn Caldwell and Debbie Robinson. The product of those workshops were part of the table decorations and the brooches on the dancers' sashes.

Danny Ford served as emcee for the tribute, which began with the reunion of the first band Joey was a part of. "Country Stache" originally consisted of Jesse McEntire, Cheryl (Fairchild) Ward, Keith Manning, Orian Mears and Joey Pruett and the late David Williams. The next group, "Rockin' Country," was made up of Terry Schug, Teddy Schug, Jim Howard, Cheryl (Fairchild) Ward, Lois Ann (Bullinton) Wright, David Howard and Joey Pruett.

"Perfect Peace" is a gospel group made up of Joey, Mark Book, Jon Conley and Rhonda Haney. Sherrie Jennings, Debbie Adams (Chrissy Pazanowski substituted for her), Keith Manning, Don Pickler, Terry Schug, Mike Underwood and Joey, of course, made up "Patchwork."

This was followed by "Doc's Friends," who played bluegrass, led by Dr. Lance Monroe with Joey, Lance Wynn, Carmen Crocker, Tommy Gerrish and John Williams.

The Ultimate Oldies rounded out the evening with a fast-paced selection of good old songs from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Shannon Freeman, Mark Owen, Suzie Freligh, Richie Williams, Teddy Hoke, Ken Wadley, Keith Morris, Lori Dial, Chandler Gill, Ryan Fisher, Michael Newson, Josh Mobley and Kyle Gruien gave a good sampling of what you can see at their show.

Pruett received a portrait painted and presented by Paula Benton and a plaque with a certificate of appreciation from the community. The Arts Council also announced it has established a Joey Pruett music scholarship to be given in his honor.

Appreciation was expressed to area establishments who donated items for the silent auction. These are: RSA Farms, Now & Then, International Tours of Jonesboro, The Ultimate Oldies, Rector Downtown Drug Store, Harps Market, Haleigh's Boutique, Genny's Kitchen, Barbara and Sherland Hamilton, Copper Heron Cottage, Burns Farms, Delta Publishing, Dr. Bryan Blackshare, Serendipity Lane, Feather Your Nest, Sugar Creek Kids and Diva Nails and Spa.

These donors make the Council's scholarships possible. The auction items brought in $1,000 which will be used for future scholarships.

This year's scholarship winners were: Kailyn Conley and Travis Lee Laughlin from Piggott High School, Ryan La Rue from Rector High School and Rocio Cavazos from Crowley's Ridge College.

The Traveling Whisk catered the affair, creating beautiful tables and a delicious meal. A tiered cake and a cake in the image of a guitar provided dessert for everyone.

The CCAC has a host of events scheduled for the future, including a faux stained glass painting workshop on Sept. 22 followed by Clay County Has Talent, a membership drive in October. The annual Night of Chocolate will be Dec. 1, and the spring of 2013 will bring an art competition, new scholarships, educational workshops and the next Celebration of the Arts.

Next year's honoree will be Mrs. Demetra Shultz, who was surprised with that announcement during Saturday night's event.

The Clay County Arts Council is committed to: conducting combined fundraising for the organization; presenting the arts in area schools; developing proprietary arts experiences, and acting as a clearing house for the arts.

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