by Jennifer Yarbrough
Cindy Funkhouser, President and CEO of the Sulzbacher Center in Jacksonville was the speaker for the third “Women’s Wednesdays,” presented by “She is Fierce.” And she is fierce! She brought her sense of humor and her business experience together to implore women to find their purpose and then use their skills to achieve that purpose. She explained her story of coming from a sales background in corporate America to the moment that changed everything---August 24, 1992, the day that 175,000 people in southern Florida became homeless because of Hurricane Andrew. She recounts going into the hurricane ravaged areas with her church group and being struck by how people were living in horrible conditions. It was through that experience that she realized she wanted to be a homeless advocate. Many years, a relocation, and a lot of hard work later, she is now the President and CEO of the Sulzbacher Center in Jacksonville. The Sulzbacher Center is the largest homeless shelter and outreach in NE Florida, they help feed, educate and house hundreds of needy families every year.
Cindy Funkhouser has found joy in serving and that joy was evident in her demeanor and the excitement with which she described the things happening at the Sulzbacher Center to help the homeless. She encouraged the women in the audience to serve, saying that everyone can serve, wherever they are, that there are people around us that need help. We must figure out what our interests are and use our skills and gifts to help others.
It’s no surprise that her favorite quote is from Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” she is changing the world for many people in our area every day and calling on us to do the same.
Next week’s talk (June 24th) will be presented by Kate Taylor founder of Taylor Made Coaching. The “Women’s Wednesdays” talks take place at “The Treasury,” in downtown St. Augustine. Free tickets can be obtained at SheIsFierceHQ.com/Events. Please note that Kate Taylor will also present a workshop after her talk for a fee, please see the She Is Fierce website above for more information.
Fierce Woman: Melissa Ross, Host of First Coast Connect Inaugural Speaker for SHE IS FIERCE! St. Augustine!
By Debbie Gaylord
Master of Arts, Women’s History, University at Albany
Publisher, St. Johns Magazine
“She was a vixen when she went to school; And though she be but little, she is fierce!”
- William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night’s Dream
As women, many of us resonate with this Shakespearean quote. The sentiment is the inspiration for –she is FIERCE! A new a global website, speaker's series and community dedicated to inspiring women to live boldly, all based out of Saint Augustine.
She is FIERCE! held its first event, Women’s Wednesdays, at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine and it was amazing! Women empowering women, providing advice and words of wisdom is what it seeks to deliver. It was the first in a series of educational talks for she Is fierce! occurring over nine nights during June and July. Every Wednesday, doors will open at 5PM and the Fierce Speaker will begin at 6:15PM. By sharing herstories and allowing questions from the audience, She is Fierce! engages women in a public dialogue that helps them grow.
Melissa Ross, First Coast Connect host and award-winning journalist offered life lessons to a large crowd of women about branding, ambition and achieving your goals. Branding is essentially you or your company’s reputation. It is what you are trying to put out there in the world. It begins the minute we interact with others in any capacity.
During her talk Melissa reminded us of a great quote from Nora Ephron’s 1996 commencement speech at Wellesley College: “You are not who you will be forever.” Melissa shared the story of how she went from T.V. newsperson to Public Relations Executive to her current position in public media. Each time she changed gears she had to take a chance and enter unknown territory. She felt small and unsure but she took the “leap of FIERCE”! Reminding listeners, “We regret the things we didn’t do, not the things we took a chance on”.
Think about it? If you were to describe yourself with five words when you were 25 and then 35 and then 45– WOW!! Those are very different lists. But have you ever thought about how you got there?
I am a literally a small woman (5.1) and as I prepared to attend Women’s Wednesday, even before I arrived, I felt stronger and taller and more confident just saying the words in my mind – She is FIERCE! My experience at the event helped remind me of the power of women’s energy when gathered together and how we can learn from one another.
The event taught me that our brand may change over time but we should never give up on our goals and also accept our shifting mindset for what it is. One of our strongest traits as women! As Melissa Ross said, “Celebrate you for your resilience! Challenge the status quo when necessary; fearlessly speak out; dare to do something fearless!” Yes! As we all know, you should never underestimate a woman… “though she be but little, she is fierce!” Thank you sisters at she is Fierce! for this incredible event!
She is Fierce Founder Kelly Youngs, is an Emmy-nominated Executive Producer who had a dream to provide something that could change women’s reality with an online resource for women, Fierce Talks Speaker Series, a Fierce Life Masterclass, and the ability to grow as a community of Fierce Women supporting one another.
Next up for Women's Wednesday on June 10th is Debbie Powers, Call Her Coach!
Debbie is an advocate for women in sports. She grew up playing basketball before there were girls’ leagues. She went on to lead Indiana University to the Final Four and eventually became head women’s basketball coach at Ball State University. She is the author of the award-winning memoir, Meeting Her Match.
For a complete list of upcoming speakers and to acquire tickets to the Women’s Wednesday tab on SheIsFierceHQ.com
To hear more highlights from Women's Wednesday below:
At the end of the program, Melissa answered questions from the audience:
To the young woman who was on the cusp of shifting from working professional to Mom. “A glass of red wine provides balance”, said Ross. I had to laugh at this because women of the 21st century, the wise ones at least, have realized that the only way to juggle everything is to enjoy wine!
To the young woman in the audience who just graduated from UNF and wanted to know how to begin branding herself, Ross had sage advice. Find a mentor. Someone who speaks up for you and tells others how great you are, someone in a power position. These people may ultimately help you throughout your life in achieving your goals.
I thought about my words. Who was I at twenty-five and who am I today? At twenty-five my words were: Free-Spirit, Adventurer, Intellectual, Daughter, Policy Wonkl! Today in my forties my words are: Mother, Organizer, Entrepreneur, Seeker, Writer. What are your words?
by Renee Unsworth
St. Augustine, FL — “And what do you do for a living, Mrs. Levi?” asks Ambrose Kemper in the first scene of Hello, Dolly. “Some people paint, some sew. … I meddle,” replies Dolly.
This classic musical opens June 5 and runs through July 5 on the Matuza Main Stage at Limelight Theatre, 11 Old Mission Ave., uptown St. Augustine.
Hello, Dolly was first produced for Broadway in 1964, winning a record 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. This was a record that stood for 35 years. Hello, Dolly won Best Musical over Funny Girl starring Barbara Streisand, who would later star as Dolly in the Academy Award winning movie adaptation.
With lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, songs include “It Takes A Woman,” “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Love, Look In My Window,” “Before the Parade Passes By,” and the title song, “Hello, Dolly.” The original cast recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.
“I love this show for the same reason I believe all audiences do,” Blake Osner said, Director of the production at Limelight. “Because it’s essentially a story of underdogs taking a risk at chasing their dreams.”
Hello, Dolly is the story of Mrs. Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, and send his money circulating among the people like rainwater (the way her late husband, Ephraim Levi, taught her).
Along the way she also succeeds in matching up the young and beautiful Widow Molloy with Vandergelder’s head clerk, Cornelius Hackl; Cornelius’ assistant, Barnaby Tucker, with Mrs. Molloy’s assistant, Minnie Fay; and the struggling artist, Ambrose Kemper, with Mr. Vandergelder’s weeping niece, Ermengarde.
The lead of Dolly Levi is played by Kristin Pidcock, a Flagler College alumna who graduated in 2003 with a Theatre Arts degree. Pidcock was last seen as Lady of the Lake in Spamalot in 2013 at Limelight.
What did she do to prepare for her role?
“Making matches! Just kidding. Listening to the music. … A LOT!,” Pidcock said.
“And working out so I don't huff and puff while I sing and dance. I also like to read the script. … Just read it for the story, not actually memorize lines, but look for new little things every time I pour over the script.”
The cast also includes Chase Lawless as Ambrose Kemper; Peter Gutierrez as Horace Vandergelder; Cathy O'Brien as Ernestina; Ella Romaine as Ermengarde; Joe Kemper as Corneilus Hackl; Craig Wickless as Barnaby Tucker; Nicole Outlaw as Minnie Fay; Megan Morton as Irene Malloy; James Desmond as Rudolph Weisenweber; Cathy Swann as ensemble and Rose; Tim Colee as ensemble and Cornelius understudy; Praniti Kudre, Savannah Lawless, Alexander Lawless, Wendy Parkulo, Kyle Thompson, Izabella Noelle Unice, Graciela Fernandez, William Nance, Alex Metrakos, and Paxton Peterson, all in the ensemble.
The musical is choreographed by well-known St. Augustine dance instructors/directors Stephanie Burkhardt (The Dance Company), and Carole Dickens (St. Johns County Center for the Arts at Murray Middle).
Samantha Mack is the Costume Designer, with Alison Zador as Assistant Costume Designer. Other production crew members include Richard Curran-Kelley as Stage Manager, Amanda Arany as Assistant Stage Manager, John Bondi as Set Designer; and Andrew Crews as Sound Designer.
Shelli Long is Musical Director (and keyboard), with live music by musicians Jack Miller on drums; Damon Martin on bass; Greg Balut on trumpet; and Alex Hernandez on woodwinds.
“On the surface, the show first appears to be about fluffy, cupid-style romantic love. But under that superficial surface is a real story of risk,” Osner explained.
“Every character walks out on a limb to find adventure, happiness, success, and yes, love. They are all underdogs, even Horace, and we, the audience, love to see the underdog win in the end.”
In his director’s notes about the cast: “Like the characters they play, each and every member of this cast, crew, and production team has taken risks. I appreciate and admire all of them for facing the challenge head on.”
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 per person. There are no performances on July 4; and two performances on July 5, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
For reservations, call 904-825-1164 or purchase online at limelight-theatre.org. Limelight Theatre is a nonprofit organization located at 11 Old Mission Ave., in uptown St. Augustine. Free parking is available streetside and in the theatre’s parking lot.
LIMELIGHT’S 2015-16 SEASON
Limelight’s new season is just around the corner … with Ring of Fire opening in September. See the schedule below and reserve Early Bird Subscriptions by June 9. Subscription packages are extremely versatile! Choose 16 and use in any combination — 1 ticket to 16 performances, 16 tickets to 1 performance, or anything in between. Call the box office at 904-825-1164 to order a subscription.
Ring of Fire (Musical)
September 18 – October 18, 2015
Matuza Main Stage
24th Season Party: Sept. 17 at Raintree (not included in
subscription) No preview — Terrific Tuesday: Sept. 22
Johnny Cash hits! In 38 musical numbers, a mosaic of American experience is pieced together in Ring of Fire! FAMILY
The Christians (Drama)
October 23 – November 15, 2015
Koger-Gamache Studio Theatre
Preview: Oct. 22 — Annual Gala: Nov. 7 (no show)
Terrific Tuesday: Oct. 27 and Nov. 3
A thought-provoking play which asks, “What does it take to be a Christian in today’s world?” ADULT
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Holiday/Family)
December 11, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Matuza Main Stage, Holiday/Family
Preview: Dec. 10 — Terrific Tuesday; Dec. 15
No shows: Dec. 24-25
New Year’s Eve Event: Dec. 31
A couple struggles to produce a church Christmas pageant. They must cast the Herdman kids — the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem! FAMILY
The Grapes of Wrath (Drama)
January 22-February 14, 2016
Matuza Main Stage
Preview: Jan. 21 — Terrific Tuesday: Jan. 26
A classic by John Steinbeck. Desperately proud, but reduced to poverty by the loss of their farm, the Joads pile their few possessions on a battered old truck and head west for California, hoping to find work and a better life. FAMILY
A Facility for Living (Dark Comedy)
March 4-26, 2016
Matuza Main Stage, Dark Comedy
Preview: March 3 — Terrific Tuesday: March 8
Joe Taylor, a retired actor, moves into a prison-turned-elder care facility shortly after the demise of Medicare and the election of Dick Cheney as President. PG-13
The 39 Steps (Mystery/Whodunit)
April 15-May 8, 2016
Matuza Main Stage
Preview: April 14 — Terrific Tuesday: April 19
Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, and add a dash of Monty Python — this whodunit will keep you on your toes and roaring in your seat! PG-13
Laundry & Bourbon, Lone Star (Two One-Act Comedies)
June 3-26, 2016
Matuza Main Stage & Koger-Gamache Studio
Preview: June 2 — Terrific Tuesday: June 7
Laundry & Bourbon centers on the discontent and very funny gossip of three small-town wives, Elizabeth, Hattie and Amy Lee, whose marriages have turned out to be less than they hoped for. Lone Star is set in the cluttered back yard of a small Texas bar with Elizabeth’s macho husband, Roy, who just returned from Vietnam with tales of war and amorous exploits. ADULT
The Last Five Years (Musical)
July 29-August 21, 2016
Koger-Gamache Studio Theatre
Preview: July 28 — Terrific Tuesday: Aug. 2
An emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The two characters only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show. ADULT
by Debbie Gaylord
First Published in July 2014
THIS SUMMER......2015 ....SWAMP RADIO LIVE!
Friday, June 12 at 8pm
HOW’S YOUR SUMMER?
Join Swamp Radio’s sun-filled evening of songs, stories, sketches and interviews that celebrate the summer season in Northeast Florida. Special musical guests include The WillowWacks, Herd of Watts, and Mama Blue.
FLORIDA THEATRE, 128 East Forsyth, Downtown Jax
Read our take on Swamp radio from the July 2014 issue of St. Johns Magazine
Who are we? This is an age old question and one that Playwright and Creative Director, Ian Mairs and his band of storytellers, musicians, poets and performers has materialized for our community with the live show SWAMP RADIO, a celebration of the culture, arts and history of northeast Florida. This July, Swamp Radio will perform its latest with “Summer in the Ancient City” at the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College July 18-19 at 7:30 pm.
Playwright, and Creative Director Ian Mairs says the Swamp Radio was inspired by NPR shows like The Prairie Home Companion and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Ian enjoyed these shows and thought it would be amazing to develop something similar for northeast Florida, the place where he grew up and which he loves dearly. “I hope Swamp Radio will chronicle the story of our community, and help people celebrate and mythologize where they live”. Ian moved here in 1970 and noticed right away that northeast Florida has what he calls a different flavor. Overall, he says, Floridians are optimistic.
Mairs describes his experience best. “My father moved us to Jacksonville from Los Angeles in 1970. From the minute we crossed the state line, I felt I had set foot on a new planet. The air was hot and wet. The trees were lush and green. Everyone spoke with a funny accent. It didn’t take long for me to be hypnotized by the place. I came to understand folks in North Florida had a certain way of doing everything: cooking vegetables (frying them), making iced tea (with a ton of sugar) and answering your elders (with a “yes ma’am” on the end of every response.) “
The name Swamp Radio first came to Ian about two years ago. He wrote it down on a post it note and stuck it on his refrigerator where it stayed for a while until the ideas began to flow and it gained a momentum of its own. He says the response has been amazing. The idea attracted many unique contributors and Swamp Radio was awarded a Spark Grant from the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, allowing them to produce two highly successful shows focusing on Jacksonville this past Spring. The podcast (available on at swampradiojax.com) has listeners from all over the world.
This summer (2014) Swamp Radio will turn its attention on St. Augustine:
The best darn day trip you’ll ever take. Gas up the car, grab a Big Gulp, hop on Interstate 95 South and before you know it you’ll be parked in the oldest city in America. In this live episode, Swamp Radio will highlight the winning charms of St. Augustine — checking in with the groovy sounds of The WillowWacks (hometown duo), a quirky and not-so-serious side to the city’s rich history (provided by historian Wayne Wood) and the secret to making a Watermelon Mint popsicle from the folks at the Hyppo.
Here’s the lineup:
The WillowWacks — folksy, lyrical husband and wife singing duo from St. Augustine.
Derek Coghlan — Irish storyteller (and Swamp Radio audience favorite) will recount the day he landed on the shores of north Florida (from his hometown of Castlepollard) and discovered the sun, the sea …and the thong. (This is a great tale.)
Tim Gilmore — author and history buff, Gilmore will tell the story of Fanny and Butch, a pair of notorious sea lions known for their numerous escapes from Marineland.
Ask Swamp Lady — think Ann Landers with a north Florida country spin on things.
The Winter 2015 show....
UP NORTH Fasten your seat belts, grab your subway Metrocard and a bottle of water as Swamp Radio heads Up North to check in with a group of artists with significant ties to the Greater North Florida. As listeners make their way through the streets of New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, a group of formerly 904 folks wax poetic on their yearning for honest-to-God sweet tea, lament the absence of anything that resembles a Publix grocery story and wonder if they are ever really able to leave home.
Musical guests include Four Families, Walter Parks, The WillowWacks and the Middle Church Collegiate Community Choir.
Fasten your seat belts, grab your subway Metrocard and a bottle of water as Swamp Radio heads Up North to check in with a group of artists with significant ties to the Greater North Florida. As listeners make their way through the streets of New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, a group of formerly 904 folks wax poetic on their yearning for honest-to-God sweet tea, lament the absence of anything that resembles a Publix grocery story and wonder if they are ever really able to leave home.
You can listen to this hilarious show on the swamp radio website
For more information and to buy tickets to the show visit www.swampradiojax.com
St. Johns Magazine