The oldest continuously operating music organization in Greeley, the longest continuously operating community theatre in the City, and an iconic local visual artist are the three choices of The Board of Directors of the Greeley Arts Legacy for its Class of 2020. Following its inaugural 2019 Class of six honorees, The Board selected this year’s inductees from a pool of more than 25 individuals and organizations which had been nominated over the past two years by Greeley citizens.
The mission of the Greeley Arts Legacy, established in 2017, is to recognize, acknowledge, and preserve the awareness and history of those who have demonstrated a significant contribution to the excellence of the arts in our community. Recipients of the annual awards include, but are not limited to, visual and performing artists, literary figures, educators, leaders, benefactors, and creatives.
The Greeley Fortnightly Music Club was formed in 1907 by ten local woman: Katie Bullock, Louise Bunker, Katherine Darby, Lucy Delbridge, Alice Doane, Eva Earle, Blanche Hughes, Elizabeth Kendel, Mary Shattuck, and Edith Strong. The group promoted two goals: to stimulate musical interest among the citizens of Greeley, and to develop the musical talents of its members.
In its early years, the Fortnightly Music Club was successful in luring nationally and internationally known musicians to Greeley to give performances for the citizenry. And many of its members worked for and performed with the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as teaching music and other performance groups. In recent years, the Club has moved away from bringing in outside performers, but a good number of its members still work and perform with the Philharmonic and many music groups and organizations.
Among its hundreds of members since 1907 are many of the best known and most beloved Greeley musicians. Two of its past members, Howard Skinner and Ruth Savig, were inducted into the Arts Legacy Hall of Fame in 2019. Other local music luminaries who have belonged to the Fortnightly Music Club, and who may be familiar to modern Greeley music lovers, are Beverly Buss, Polly Cronin, Phyllis Eaton, Virginia Himmel, Bob and Sally Johnson, Germaine Johnson, Evelyn Kulp, Sheryl McBride, Sue Pfund, Fran Townsend, Sandy Varley, and Diane Westrup and many others.
The Club, now 113 years old, is still active in the Greeley musical scene, with members teaching, accompanying, directing, and performing.
The Greeley Independence Stampede Troupe was founded in 1974 by three Greeley men, Central High School choir teacher the late Harold Hamler, Central High theatre teacher Jim DeMersseman, and local artist and sign painter Kent Smith. Looking to fill what they perceived as a gap in performance opportunities for non-student aged singers, dancer, actors, and musicians, Hamler (music director), DeMersseman (artistic director), and Smith (technical director) chose “Annie Get Your Gun” as the Troupe’s first production, scheduled for June of ’74.
From “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Li’l Abner” in the ‘70s, to stunning performances of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Shrek the Musical” in the ‘10s, the Stampede Troupe, now led by President Ken Andrews and a governing board of 8, is looking forward to its 50th Anniversary in 2024. For more information on The Troupe, visit its website at stampedetroupe.com.
Lydia Ruyle (1935-2016) was an internationally recognized artist, leader, mentor, and scholar, as well as a community leader. She produced a dazzling array of visual art, including oil painting, sculpture, papermaking, and lithography. Her works have been exhibited around the world, including in England, Germany, France, Turkey, Russia, Peru, Korea, Nepal, and Italy, and at such iconic locations as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the United Nations World Conference on Women.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no public ceremony honoring the 2020 Class this fall. The Board will incorporate this year’s Class into the next September’s ceremony, which will honor the 2021 Class. Commemorative video tributes of the Class of 2020 will be added to the Arts Legacy website before the end of this year. Also, the names of the Class of 2020 will be added to those of the inaugural Class on a granite stele, currently located in the patio off the southwest corner of the Union Colony Civic Center. The stele is part of what will ultimately become the Arts Legacy Park, to be located on the east side of the UCCC.
For more information about the Greeley Arts Legacy, including how to nominate artists for consideration for the awards, how to volunteer, and how to donate, go to greeleyartslegacy.com.