Presser's annual gala is one good time

By Dave Faries, Editor
Posted 10/16/21

It's likely impossible to track down the first organization ever to turn the phrase "put the fun in fundraiser," but the most recent? That's easy.

Presser Arts Center's annual gala, scheduled for …

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Presser's annual gala is one good time

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It's likely impossible to track down the first organization ever to turn the phrase "put the fun in fundraiser," but the most recent? That's easy.

Presser Arts Center's annual gala, scheduled for Nov. 6, is a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, with some jazz, R&B, show tunes and dinner theater thrown in. Some guests don flashy costumes -- it's an interactive performance -- and there's a live auction tucked somewhere amid all the action.

Not surprisingly, this year's theme is Variety Show.

"We'd like to have more variety, but we couldn't get any flame throwers," Presser board member Barb Green said with a laugh.

The gala represents Presser Arts Center's largest fundraiser of the year. It helps the facility operate and aids many of the programs and performances that take place on the center's two stages, classrooms and gallery.

Twenty eight-top tables will fill the Black Box theater. Performers will work the room or fill the stage (there are four ensemble pieces scheduled and a surprise during the grand finale).

"They will fill this room with sound," Green promised.

It will be the fourth time Presser has hosted a gala, and it sold out every year in the past. As with every other event emerging from the bleak uncertainty of the pandemic, however, 2021's gala comes with some hedging.

Board members will only say that they believe the event will fill up once again.

"I think people are ready to be out and be entertained again," observed Cara Miller, president of Presser's Board of Directors.

In some ways the hiatus has directed a lot of attention to this year's gala, especially in the preparation.

"We've been planning this for two and a half years," Green observed.

Tables seat eight guests each. Tickets can be purchased individually, in twos, threes or however many a family needs. Entire tables can be bought for the night, as well.

As of Friday, 11 of the 20 tables were full.

Over four years the gala has gained quite a reputation. The talent is local, and there's a lot of it. The audience can be colorful. Treat baskets and drinks can be purchased. It's a frenzy.

"You forget you are in small town mid-Missouri," explained board member Brooke Edge.

Presser also uses the opportunity to thank those who have supported the center, as well as the people who volunteer to help productions and arts education throughout the year.

It's just that the board chooses to say thank you with a raucous, dazzling, charming, emotional, hilarious, something-for-everyone blowout.

"Presser is a special place," Jameson said. "The gala is representative of that."

"It's a fundraiser," Green added, "but it is really fun."

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