REES stage will honor Plymouth eduator

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With the gathering of PHS Alumni in River Park Square for the Mayor’s Month of Music series, it just seemed appropriate to make the announcement that the new performance stage at The REES will be named in honor of an educator who dedicated his entire teaching career to the students of the Plymouth Community School Corporation.  At the completion of the REES Project it will be known as The Bob Pickell Performing Arts Stage.  The announcement was made by PHS alums, Jack Davis ’65, project co-chairs, Donna Pontius ’69, Randy Danielson ’72 and other members of The REES Project Committee.

“Bob loved all types of music, but he would have especially enjoyed the ‘60’s and ‘70’s performance of the band Magic Buswhile wearing his tie-dyed tee shirt.” stated Danielson. 

Bob retired at the end of the 2015/16 school year after a 38 year career.  He stated in a retirement story, that his reason for going into education was fueled by his love for music and working with young people.  His first 27 years was in secondary music and the remaining 11 years at the elementary level.  If not a presence, he offered support to every school in the district.  This announcement to preserve the legacy of Bob’s impact on so many students through the years, comes with the endorsement of the Plymouth Community School Corporation.

This would have been Bob’s 45th reunion year with Yorktown High School’s Class of 1973.  He continued his education in music at Ball State University where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

His sudden passing just weeks into his retirement left his family, former students, fellow educators and community heart-broken and knowing he had so much yet to offer even his church and community.  But, he indeed left his mark.  Jane Faulstich, a PHS theater teacher and member of the REES Project Committee had this to share; “Mr. Pickell left a lasting impression on so many of us. I have so many great memories of being in his classroom.  We sang, we danced, we laughed, and had so much fun.  When I found out that The REES Stage was being named in honor of Bob, I was overjoyed!  He loved performances of any kind!  He will watch over The REES and be continuously entertained by everything it will bring to our community.”

Bob’s wife, Chris, was endeared and excited with the news and called it a tremendous honor in his name and how he would have been right in there today making sure this effort becomes a reality.  She stated on behalf of herself and their two sons, Ryan and Jason: “We continue to be so grateful for the love and support given by the Plymouth community.”

A donor designation fund for The Bob Pickell Performing Arts Stage – The REES Project, has been set up in partnership with the Marshall County Community Foundation, 2701 N. Michigan St., Plymouth, IN  46563 or visiting www.reesproject.com 

PIDCO pledges $50K to REES Project

At its July Board meeting, voting members unanimously identified The REES Theatre Project as a catalyst for redevelopment in the downtown and a critical component in continuing to attract residential growth that will support business and industry.   It was agreed to invest a total of $50,000. into The REES Project over a period of four years.  This capital investment into the downtown business district will further support ongoing efforts of economic development in and around Plymouth.  “The sole purpose of this corporation has always been; to drive economic development through investment and that mission continues today.” stated current Board President Mike Miley.  “PIDCO has evolved over the course of time and continues in its quest to secure industrial growth in association with the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation along with a focus on the retail sector.”

Co-chair of The REES Project, Randy Danielson and his wife Eleanor attended the meeting and Danielson stated; “We were extremely pleased with the Boards level of financial support and commitment in joining the City of Plymouth and many others who are striving to meet the October 31st Regional Cities deadline to capture a $300,000. matching grant.”

Sixty-one years ago the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation – PIDCO, was established on July 9th 1957 and began selling 6,000 shares of common stock to raise capital for the purpose of making Plymouth more attractive and desirable for new industrial, business and housing development to advance the economy of Plymouth and the surrounding area.

The founding of PIDCO was described in an article published in the January 22, 1980 edition of the Chicago Tribune that described two brothers; Walter and Charles Glaub as two florid, friendly gentleman who run the G & G Supermarket.  Walter described how in the mid 50’s a Michigan based company tried to set up a factory in Plymouth but they didn’t want to buy a building, so they didn’t come.  That very loss led to PIDCO.   The initial sale of stock in 1957 led to the selling of 3,200 shares at $50.00 a share to 290 residents.

“This gave us $116,000.” Glaub said. “With this money we started talking to another Michigan company, the Young Door Co.  We said. ‘What if we built your plant, didn’t charge you a down payment, sold it to you on a 15 year deal?’  They accepted.”  The company operated by two brothers, Bill and Robert, moved in 1959 into a 32,000 square foot building at the north end of Western Avenue.  The corporate headquarters were moved to Plymouth and it evolved into a 120,000 square foot building currently occupied and further expanded by American Containers Corporation operated by the Isban Family.

Bill and Mary Young former co-owners of the Young Door Co. provided Plymouth a gift in The Young Amphitheater.  Successors to that location Leonard and JoAnn Isban established and continue to support the successes of the Boys & Girls Club of Marshall County.  This is only one example of how Plymouth benefited from the existence of the Plymouth Economic Development Corporation.  We should be ever grateful to the following eleven founding members and their personal contributions to the Plymouth community and how they were identified in 1957…

  • Max Ball – Owner and operator of Ball Motor Sales.  Past City Councilman and active participant in civic affairs.
  • Ernest Bixel – Mayor of Plymouth, Indiana.  Co-owner of Don’s Sporting Goods, and Democrat County Chairman.
  • Rosetta Casbon – Owner and operator of local Coca-Cola plant in Plymouth, Indiana.  A capable business woman, mother and housewife.
  • Walter Glaub – Co-Owner of G & G Supermarket.  Experienced civic servant and member of Plymouth Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.
  • Charles Howard – Owner and operator of feed and seed company in Plymouth.  Active in school and civic projects, with wide and diversified business and civic experience, both in our community and other communities.
  • Dr. James Kubley – A medical doctor in general practice in the community.  Former President of Marshall County Medical Association and active in medical, hospital, and civic affairs of the community.
  • Andrew Metheny – Active in Farm Bureau and Insurance businesses.  Wide experience and background in community agricultural affairs.
  • N.B. Pete Merriman – Owner and operator of Merriman’s Grocery (now NaRie’s next to The REES) and Farm Operations Business, farm and real estate experience in our community.
  • Lee O’Connell – Owner and operator of Plymouth Building and former owner of the Ross Hotel.  Former President Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, Inc. with extensive civic service, particularly in industrial affairs of the community.
  • Dr. L. W. Vore – Medical Doctor in general practice of Medicine.  Former County Coroner and County Health Officer.
  • Deane Walker – Public relations officer of the State Exchange Bank.  Former State and Marshall County Superintendent of Schools, wide experience and holder of many positions in State and County government.

As described, they were not commonly industrialists but rather merchants and professionals who were concerned with the economic status of Plymouth and took an active role in bringing about change for future generations.  PIDCO is a living testament of a true legacy.

Regional Cities Extension Granted

MORE LEADERSHIP GIFTS FOR THE REES RECEIVED IN PAST WEEK

“Encouragement for the REE Theatre Committee came this past week following the announcement of the Stillson Family gift that will continue to move this effort forward,” stated Rees co-chair Randy Danielson.  Danielson’s statement follows the receipt of news that the Regional Cities Board has agreed to a requested extension date of October 31st.  

The extension request was made following the extreme flooding in Plymouth that diminished efforts to raise the funds needed to receive a grant in the amount of $300,000.  “If the REES is to return, individuals, businesses and industry alike, need to become involved throughout all of Marshall County.  This is no great amount of time to yet capture nearly one million dollars in the form of in-kind gifts of services and/or materials, cash donations, pledges or even a tax exempt retirement fund gift now that the REES Theatre Inc. has received its 501(c)3 status.” 

Danielson continued, “We have received an enormous amount of verbal support for this project.  Now is the time for this to translate into dollars and cents.  All levels of giving are appreciated.” 

It was pointed out that donations may be done on-line through the Marshall County Community Foundation at:www.marshallcountygives.org or, for project details and specific donor levels, visit: www.reesproject.com.  Pledge forms are available at the Marshall County Community Foundation, Marshall County Historical Museum, Bowen Printing or by calling 574-286-2391.

Also this past week, Star Level leadership gifts were acknowledged from:  The Oliver Ford Family, Dave and Chris Morrow/Morrow Insurance Agency and First Federal Savings Bank.  Other levels of support were also received from Plymouth WalMart & Associates and Jim Masterson/Masterson & Associates.

A number of upcoming fundraising events are planned which include:

  • August 23rd The Coffee Lodge & Bakery will sponsor a Supportin’ & Pullin’ for the REES, BBQ pulled pork sandwich lunch to dinner event at the Lodge with carry out and limited delivery available. 
  • The REES will be highlighted in this year’s Blueberry Festival Parade and will be a featured stop in the Marshall County Museum’s history walk in September. 
  • Christo’s Banquet Center will be hosting the Puttin’ on The REES event on October 5th which includes a Prime Rib/Salmon dinner, live & silent auctions, raffle and 50/50 drawing.  A cash bar will be available and featured entertainment will be provided by PHS performing arts students. 

Tickets will be going on sale next week for Supportin’ & Pullin’ for the REES at The Coffee Lodge and Bowen Printing as well as any committee member.  Watch the REES marquee and playbills for more information and dates.

REES Theatre gets Regional Cities extension

For detailed information about the REES project, the vision in place for its future and a link to donate, please visit, www.reesproject.com.

Easter brings a celebration of new life. And The REES Theatre is moving ever closer to having a new life of its own.

On Tuesday the Plymouth Redevelopment Commission approved adding The REES to its project list.

In the days following the devastating flood of 2018 – where the theatre itself sustained flooding of the entire boiler room – the REES Project Committee submitted a request for a timeline extension to the Regional Development Authority Board that oversees all Regional Cities projects in the three-county area of St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall.

On Thursday, that request for an extension was granted with a new reporting date of June 30.

At risk is a matching grant of $300,000 from the Regional Cities Initiative.

The overall project goal is $3.46 million which includes an estimated cost of $2.86 million in construction costs and the remainder to be placed in an already established endowment. Pledges may be paid over a four-year period beginning in 2018.

They may be made in person, by mail or online at the Marshall County Community Foundation’s website, www.marshallcountycf.org, where all monies will be held.

In addition to traditional donations of cash and/or checks, donations to The REES Project may be made in the form of in-kind gifts such as materials or services, transfer of stock, and deferred income from individual retirement funds.

Project co-chairpersons, Randy Danielson and Donna Pontius are leading these efforts alongside a fundraising team which is making ongoing progress through personal contacts and presentations.

Reaching this goal will take community involvement from individuals, organizations, churches, schools, businesses and corporations.

“With all of the place-making projects that are occurring in and around Plymouth, there is no better time than now to bring this historic landmark back and further improve our quality of life right here at home,” Danielson said in a news release. “This is an investment in our lives and that of future generations.”

>>Read article

Easter brings a celebration of new life. And The REES Theatre is moving ever closer to having a new life of its own.

On Tuesday the Plymouth Redevelopment Commission approved adding The REES to its project list.  In the days following the devastating flood of 2018 where the theatre itself sustained flooding of the entire boiler room, the REES Project Committee submitted a request for a timeline extension to the Regional Development Authority Board that oversees all Regional Cities projects in the three county area of St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall.  On Thursday, that request for an extension was granted with a new reporting date of June 30th.

At risk is a matching grant of $300,000 from the Regional Cities Initiative.  The overall project goal is $3.46MM which includes an estimated cost of $2.86MM in construction costs and the remainder to be placed in an already established endowment. Pledges may be paid over a 4 year period beginning in 2018.  They may be made in person, by mail, or on line at the Marshall County Community Foundation’s website: www.marshallcountycf.org where all monies will be held.   In addition to traditional donations of cash and/or checks, donations to The REES Project may be made in the form of in-kind gifts such as materials or services, transfer of stock, and deferred income from individual retirement funds. 

Project co-chairpersons, Randy Danielson and Donna Pontius are leading these efforts alongside a fundraising team which is making ongoing progress through personal contacts and presentations.  Reaching this goal will take community involvement from individuals, organizations, churches, schools, businesses and corporations.  Danielson stated, “With all of the placemaking projects that are occurring in and around Plymouth, there is no better time than now to bring this historic landmark back and further improve our quality of life right here at home.  This is an investment in our lives and that of future generations.”

For detailed information about the REES project, the vision in place for its future and a link to donate, please visit:  www.reesproject.com

>>Read article

REES Theatre stories: Todd Shafer

A Rees Childhood

Few experiences as a child could compare to the moments when I would walk through the front doors of the Rees Theater. The whooshing of the front door as it opened. The aroma of the salty popcorn filling every space. The opening moments when the projector’s camera would flicker to life, showing the future. All of these helped me become the cinephile I am today. These film-centered childhood life events seemed to revolve around food, family, friends, and my father. The movie-going experiences I had with Dad are the ones that molded my thinking of all things cinematic.

The first big experience happened in 1975. I was only seven, but Dad wanted to take my brother and me to be a part of the biggest movie of the time: Jaws. There was one glitch; punctual was not a term that was used concerning my father. We were near the end of the line, waiting outside the Rees. Getting into the theater was easy, but this movie was such a blockbuster, nowhere could we find two seats together, let alone three. Dad worked strategically. He positioned himself in the middle section of seats, a handful of rows away from the screen. My older brother Mark was on the left side of the theater, and I was placed on the right side (4 rows from the front!), but we were both within Dad’s sight. Sitting in a group with three unknown viewers and me, I had nervous tension begin immediately. With the opening music accompanying the shark and the initial attack, I hightailed it to the lobby. I took a breather and told myself that I could go back and watch more. It was just a movie, right? Emboldened, I crawled over the strangers to get to my spot, and I forced myself to stay put. That worked splendidly until the next time good ol’ Bruce the Shark appeared, and I boldly crawled right back over those same strangers. I visited the lobby many times that night, telling myself each and every time that I could just live there if I needed to--it was comfortable, and the food was good. After each lobby visit, however, I would trudge back. That night at the Rees I learned two important movie-going guidelines-- 1: The concession stand can be your best friend in times of trouble and 2: Going to the movies to sit with friends and family is an important piece of any person’s life puzzle.

The year 1977 arrived. I was nine, and there were two words on everyone’s lips: Star Wars. That was it back then--Star Wars. It wasn’t Star Wars--Episode IV: A New Hope. It was Star Wars, and we were going to go see it. Dad was taking us to the 7:00 showing at the Rees. We were primed and ready. We arrived downtown, parked the truck on Michigan Street, and got our tickets. After the integral popcorn stop, we made it to our seats. Once again, the Angel of Punctuality didn’t bless us that night. At that moment, on the screen, we saw a white intergalactic door being blown open, stormtroopers and rebels battling, and the inaugural screen time of the one and only Darth Vader. It was amazing! It was beyond anything I could explain! It was, well, a bit confusing. Little did we know that the now-famous introduction crawler with a description containing the words “A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away . . . “ had been shown and was gone while we were still outside getting tickets. That evening, another basic tenet of cinema burned into my brain: Don’t miss anything! I now must be in my seat on time to witness every preview and every annoying commercial. Heck, I will even spend time staring at a blank screen to make sure I miss nothing.

Two years passed, and Dad was ready to take me to see my first R-rated feature, the sci-fi flick, Alien, and it was playing at the Rees! I was eleven and didn’t realize what was about to hit me. We sat toward the back of the theater, on time for once. The lights dimmed, and we began watching as the space vessel, the Nostromo, answered a call from a distant homing beacon.

The suspense slowly built, and my adrenaline crept up right along with it. I quickly noticed a group of high school students sitting two rows ahead of us also beginning to feel that adrenaline rush. I turned back to the screen. Jittery, fidgeting in my seat, harkening back to that darn shark, my eyes, ears, and every other sense was riveted to the action on-screen.

When the famous chest-bursting scene occurred, and my adrenaline level hit 11 out of 10, I sat and began having familiar thoughts, “I can wait in the lobby again. It will only be another hour or so. There’s popcorn out there.” Turning, however, I saw Dad watching with such intensity. At that moment, I also saw the high school group get up and leave from fright. That settled it; I was firm in my conviction to stay seated and stick this one out. As Ellen Ripley’s final alien battle finished on-screen, and the lights came on inside the Rees, I knew I had done it; I had conquered my fears. From that day on, I have not once felt the need to leave any theater because of the torturous nature of a movie. Films are there to let us escape reality and delve into another world. Movies became my passion, my sport of choice.

Two years ago, my father passed away three weeks before the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, was released. I went to experience the event once again, but this time, I went with my own family, my wife and two children. It wasn’t at the Rees unfortunately, but this time, I was on time and saw the previews. I sat there before the movie, thinking of my history with movies and began waxing nostalgic. Something unseen nudged me into leaving the theater briefly. To this day, I can’t remember if I went to get popcorn before the movie, took a quick trip to the men’s room, or if it was some other unknown issue. When I walked back into the theater, a major moment of reminiscence hit me. The movie had started, and I had once again missed the opening line, “A Long Time Ago, In a Galaxy Far, Far Away.” Sitting there, in the dark, I felt like I was nine again, back at the Rees. There are many theater experiences that have occurred in my life, but the ones that laid the solid foundation of my motion-picture-loving passion occurred with Dad at the Rees.

The REES receives nonprofit status after ownership transfer is complete

On March 14th the return of an historic theater venue came one step closer to reality with the transfer of ownership from the Wythougan Valley Preservation Council to The REES Theatre, Inc. In January, The REES was granted 501(c)3 status as a not-for-profit entity.

At the Wythougan annual meeting in February, the transfer was approved. Randy Danielson and other members of The REES Project Committee were present and personally thanked Wythougan for stepping forward in January of 2017 to assure the transfer from private ownership to begin steps toward restoration after the closing of the theatre in 2009.

In 2014, downtown business owners Brian and Lori Van Duyne together with Jim and Judy Vinall came forward and subsequently stabilized the building from further decay in hopes that one day the lights and activity would again return.

That day is getting closer and in the past year major masonry repairs were completed; the repaired and re-lamped marquee has returned a nostalgic look to the downtown streetscape with messages that spell out the pride and support that exists in Plymouth. The marquee is currently being featured in a regional television energy campaign by NIPSCO which assisted in the placement of energy saving LED chasing lamps.

A capital campaign, Pledging to Save the REES, is underway with a goal of $3.46 million which will allow the construction phase to occur in 2019 with sights set on a re-opening in its 80th anniversary year - 2020.

In-kind materials and services are being sought at this time and cash pledges payable over a four-year period are being held by the Marshall County Community Foundation.

It’s 2018 and time to tell some stories!

The REES Project Committee is looking for your favorite story or stories of your hometown theatre.  Through the month of January we are seeking from all ages, for that all-time best, Emmy Award winning story that you remember about The REES.  This story does not even have to be that of your own, it may have been a grandparent, parent, brother, sister or classmates story.  It may be one of an equipment glitch, a reprimand or Love Story. (PG-13 versions only please.)

Submitting your story before February 1st 2018 will make you eligible to win a single re-conditioned and platform mounted theatre seat for immediate use in your home, dorm or business.  Who knows, your story may just become the next premier showing at the soon to be restored REES.

We will continue to receive stories throughout 2018.  The project committee is planning to produce a souvenir 80th Anniversary of The REES, booklet featuring these stories and history highlights.  With permission along the way, these stories will be shared on The REES website and Facebook page.  

Please submit your story either on The REES Facebook page, the post as a comment below, or by email to: stories@therees.org or by mail or in person to: 

The Marshall County Historical Museum
123 N. Michigan St., Plymouth, IN  46563.

GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE REES!