By Bill Tubbs
Four individuals were recognized for their support of fine arts in the greater North Scott community Sunday afternoon before aan enthusiastic audience at a packed North Scott High School auditorium.
The awards, which have been sponsored since 2004 by The North Scott Press and the Rotary Club of North Scott, were presented during North Scott High School’s winter concert by Rotary club member Bill Tubbs, who is publisher of The North Scott Press, and Linda Tubbs, who is co-publisher.
“This is our opportunity to publicly recognize these outstanding citizens who have supported the arts in the North Scott community for many years and say thank you for their service,” said Tubbs. “We are pleased to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a passion for the arts in the North Scott area.”
Nominations were received from community members with selection by the committee of department heads at North Scott. This year’s honorees, and the script from the presentations:
Drama: Terri Wittkowski
Our recipient of the theater award goes to a longtime volunteer of the North Scott community. She grew up in Des Moines where she started playing piano when she was 5 years old, and was the accompanist for Roosevelt High School in the Class of 1967.
Upon graduating from Wartburg College, she and her husband, Bill, came to Eldridge in 1972, where they raised a son, Paul, and daughter, Anne, who are graduates of North Scott.
Our honoree taught music for two years in the North Linn schools, and then for 25 years at Hayes Elementary in Davenport. She generously lent her musical talents – piano, organ and string bass – to benefit her community, as well. She has played the organ for 35 years at Faith Lutheran Church and is currently in her sixth year of accompanying the North Scott choir. She was proud to be part of the first show for Countryside Community Theatre – “Music Man” – and others, including “Sound of Music,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Mame,” and “Guys & Dolls.” More recently, she has been a pillar of strength for Lancer Productions, providing expert accompaniment for “Oklahoma,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “9 to 5,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Bye-Bye,Birdie,” “Spitfire Grill” and “Brigadoon.” Colleagues consider her an exceptional musician with a witty personality who is always willing to come early, stay late and do the “extras” that benefit our students. She never gets rattled and brings out the best in others.
Vocal Music: Sally Riewerts
Our honoree for vocal music graduated from the University of Iowa, and received her master’s degree from Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State). She and her husband, Keith, moved to Long Grove in 1977 and she has been making music ever since.
Her life has been dedicated to vocal music and the performing arts – whether playing piano for church or musical auditions or giving private lessons to North Scott and area students, there has always been a song in her heart for our community.
Her vocation took her to Davenport, where she was vocal music director at Sudlow Junior High from 1969-1980, and director of choral activities at Central High School from 1980-2003 and again in 2004-2005.
At North Scott, she was a charter member of Countryside Community Theatre and served on the board. She appeared in numerous Countryside shows – as the mayor’s wife in “Music Man,” Vera in “Mame,” Elsa in “Sound of Music,” Mother Superior in “Nunsense,” Aunt Sally in “Big River,” and in the ensemble in “Quilters, Working and Follies.”
In the summers of 1984 and 1985 she created the Eldridge Children’s Community Chorus, where students from 3rd to 8th grades 3-8 came together from all over the community and performed a concert at summer’s end.
She has been been the director of the Eldridge United Methodist Church Chancel Choir for 23 years. Under her leadership the choir has grown to over 40 members and has even recorded a CD of religious standards. Most everything she has given to this area from church to stage has been done as a volunteer. She has dedicated her life to the choral art and has instilled in those who have had the privilege to work with her – including sons Randy and Ryan (who directs choruses at Davenport North) – a sense of why we come together to sing.
Instrumental Music: Jennifer Kolwey
For many years, this year’s honoree has selflessly given time and resources to help the North Scott band program in many ways.She is always in attendance at performances, whether it is marching band, jazz band, or concert/symphonic band concerts.
She has also become one of the most active Music Boosters at North Scott, serving as chair twice and co-chair twice, working on nearly every committee, fitting and handing out band uniforms, washing dresses and gloves, tirelessly working the concession stand – a lot! – reading scholarship papers, organizing dinners for guest artists, chaperoning band trips – and the list goes on.
She is always someone who can be counted on to help, no matter the task or how much time is required. And even though her daughters have graduated, she has not slowed down her involvement with Music Boosters one bit. “Having individuals like her makes our jobs so much easier, and this program would not be successful without people like her.” Those are the words of Mike McMann, and are echoed by others.
Visual Arts: Billie Davids
The recipient of our award for Visual Arts is a Princeton, Iowa, native whose paintings capture the humor, depth and opinions of local people and subjects. Art is a process for her that included being honored as the Artist in Residence at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in 2009, a workshop with the nationally known Maquoketa artist Rose Frantzen, and working with area artist groups who have guided her development.
A gallery above the Crane and Pelican Restaurant in LeClaire features the work she has painted for a second line of fabric based on music that will be available in December at Fern Hill Quilt Shop in South Amana. These works, and more, can be seen on her yellowstudio.com website, and in the future she hopes to include cards, calendars, puzzles and books among her man projects.
Our honoree has also been involved in various community groups including Princeton Days, Princeton Players, and teaching cubism at a Boy Scout camp last summer.