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Until 2012 we lived in Winona. Charlotte is a retired WSU professor in the counselor education department, and John was the owner of Speltz Decorating.

Arriving late this summer, we snowbirds from North Carolina still had time to see each Great River Shakespeare Festival play more than once.

In 16 seasons, many changes have occurred. The children of actors were now performing on stage as a part of the company.

Last week’s “Callithump” showcased varied talents of the entire company and comic bits based on the four plays -- "Macbeth," "Cymbeline," "The Servant of Two Masters" and "No Child." At the "Callithump" fundraiser, the GRSF company hoped to raise at least $16,000, which would be one-half the $32,181 costs for one week of production.

A silent auction solicited funds toward specific endeavors such as costumes, props and sets. The live auction was great fun, with bidders trying to outdo one another. How thrilled we were when the total raised was tallied at $25,000 to support festival costs and apprentice scholarships for 2020.

Assuredly, this support of the Winona community means many have come to love and admire all the people associated with the festival, some of whom have been here 16 years. At the closing on Sunday, the company members expressed their heartfelt appreciation for Winona as well.

Our hope is that the collaborative spirit generated by the company can be experienced by everyone. We are proud of the caring people of Winona we witnessed at "Callithump," and we urge anyone who has not yet contributed to the 17th season to do so soon.

Charlotte and John Speltz, Apex, North Carolina

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