United Way's Evening of Philanthropy, Willow Street Christian Church anniversary celebration among weekend festivities

The weekend brings opportunities for sharing warm feelings, as warmer weather moves in to the Hannibal area.

The weekend's highlights include the United Way of the Mark Twain Area Evening of Philanthropy, highlighting area individuals and families who have made a difference in the community and a classical jazz concert at the Apple Shed Theatre in Clarksville. The Hannibal Middle School Theater Club will present a light-hearted musical, and Willow Street Christian Church members and guests are ready for an event-filled anniversary with special guests.

United Way of the Mark Twain Area Evening of Philanthropy

The Star Theatre in downtown Hannibal will transform into an evening dedicated to families and individuals who have reflected the United Way's motto “Be the Change.” The Evening of Philanthropy will honor area individuals in four categories: Lifelong Philanthropist, the late Ralph Griesbaum; Philanthropic Couple, Kevin and Denice Blew of Clarence; Philanthropic Individual Kate Dougherty; and Philanthropic Youth, Robert Wealer. WGEM has produced videos featuring personal testimonials and examples of each person's community impact.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9 at the Star Theatre, with dinner being served at 6:30 p.m. Ticket sales have been strong, and minimal tickets will be available at the door, said United Way of the Mark Twain Area Executive Director Denise Damron.

“We are very excited and very blessed,” she said.

Winter Blues Sweet Cure

Jerry Epperson of Clarksville will take the stage with Patrick Joyce of St. Louis to perform classic jazz songs beginning at 2 p.m. in the heated Apple Shed Ludwig Theatre on Highway 79 at the south edge of Clarksville. “The Winter Blues Sweet Cure” concert is presented by the Raintree Arts Council. Raintree Arts Council board members will have homemade desserts for sale during the concert. Tickets are $15 for adults and free of charge for guests younger than age 18.

'HONK Jr.' at Hannibal Middle School

The Hannibal Middle School Theater Club will present “HONK Jr.,” a musical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's “The Ugly Duckling,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10 in the Hannibal Middle School Auditorium at 4700 McMasters Ave. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Students from Hannibal Middle School, Holy Family School and St. John's Lutheran School have been preparing since November to bring the production to the stage for families and audience members of all ages. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children. Family packages including two adults and two or more children will be available for $12.

Willow Street 145th anniversary celebration

Many members of Willow Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) can trace their heritage back six generations, said Pastor Minnie Smith. She grew up in the church as well, beginning as youth pastor before serving as pastor beginning in 2009. Smith will preach during the 10:50 a.m. service, and Rev. Angela Robinson Williams will be the guest preacher for the 2:30 p.m. service.

Smith said Williams grew up in the church and learned from “Miss Minnie” when she served as youth pastor. Williams is a full-time student at the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa Oklahoma, and the Willow Street Christian Church family members look forward to wishing her well as she prepares to serve as pastor at First Christian Church in Montgomery City.

A meal will be served between the services. Smith said that celebration will feature a 15-member dance troupe performing liturgical dancing, and Michael Miller will present writing and poetry during the afternoon service. Smith said she looks forward to a celebratory day bringing surprise guests by the church at 404 Willow St. Everyone is welcome to attend.

“This is something that we do every year, and in our particular congregation, it’s a big deal,” she said. “We just go all out, there’s a lot of excitement — and our church anniversary is right up there with Easter and Christmas — it’s the life of our congregation.”