CCAC Celebration Honors Longtime Supporters
The Celebration of the Arts, held Saturday at the Rector Community Center, recognized the contributions of Piggott State Bank and Rector Downtown Drug to not only the Clay County Arts Council but to various organizations and citizens within the county.
To open the evening's festivities, Bro. Laramie LeQuieu offered the blessing, after which CCAC president Tracy Cole directed the patrons to the buffet tables, prepared by Traveling Wisk.
State Rep. Joe Jett served as master of ceremonies for the event and led the audience through the program beginning with Cole’s introduction of three of the four CCAC Scholarship winners. Drew Calhoun of Corning, Blake LaRue of Rector and Caleb Riddle of Piggott were on hand to address the crowd about the arts and how the various aspects of the arts have made an impression on their lives. Each also explained their goals for the future. The scholarship winners had received their award letters earlier in May and on Saturday evening each received a framed certificate noting their accomplishments. “It is because of your memberships and support of all our programming that the board is able to award these grants. It is the centerpiece of our organization,” Cole reminded the audience.
Another highlight of the evening brought Sherry Jennings and Chrissy Pazanowski to the stage with their beautiful harmonies. To begin, Jennings sang a crowd favorite, “Someone to Watch Over Me.” She was followed by daughter Chrissy singing the great love song, “At Last.” The audience was delighted as the duo combined for a final selection from the musical Grease. The duet “You’re The One That I Want” contained a skit about the various men Sherry pointed out. The girl-rivalry concluded with Jennings playing “the Mother card.”
At the heart of the testimonials for the bank and the drug store were words of care, love and a genuine desire to be of service. Piggott mayor Jim Poole and Sherland Hamilton shared comments about Piggott State Bank and Rector Downtown Drug, mentioning the various community connections of both businesses. Representing the CCAC, Cathy Norred and Jane Gatewood spoke in appreciation of Piggott State Bank and Rector Downtown Drug for sponsorships and their sincere desire to meet the needs of so many worthy organizations. The gratitude of Clay County Arts Council was highlighted with a presentation piece, given to each by CCAC founder Gail Burns. Polished cherry wooden plaques with a Roman-faced inset clock along with a fitting inscription served as the honorees’ gifts from the council.
In addition, Rep. Jett presented Cody Knight, president and CEO of Piggott State Bank, and Keith Hill, owner and pharmacist of Rector Downtown Drug, with framed, official proclamations for the service rendered to CCAC and others. The proclamation was signed by Rep. Jett and Rep. Jeremy Gillam, Speaker of the House.
With their acceptance remarks both Knight and Hill applauded their families and their staffs, the faces of the businesses.
As the evening ended, talk and picture taking continued with the patrons saying how much they enjoyed the event. “The food was excellent, as usual,” said former honoree Shirley Simmons. Sophie Simmons, Shirley’s granddaughter and junior member of the CCAC board, echoed her remarks, noting especially, “the rolls could be dessert.” White long-stemmed gladiolas presented in glass and silver appointed vases created centerpieces for each table that seated 12. Their stunning beauty drew many comments. A beautiful strawberry and chocolate double-tiered cake with white, butter-cream icing delighted the diners. Served by the catering staff of Traveling Wisk, the strawberry tier went fast. “I somehow got a piece of strawberry pie,” Johnny Williams said as he chuckled, “you’ve got to know people.”
Larry Norred’s keyboard selections provided the backdrop for an easy and soothing dinner. He and wife Cathy are former honorees of the Arts Council. The overall message of the evening seemed to portray a “Clay County Love Fest,” said John James, CCAC board member. It was an evening to recognize unity of purpose, sponsored by Clay County Arts Council and made especially celebratory by Piggott State Bank and Rector Downtown Drug.