Three months until Season 11

Friends of Will volunteer team chairs are beginning to plan for Season 11!  The Friends welcome new members.

It’s easy to join the FOW. Select one of these methods to complete an application.

1. Use the easy Friends of Will online membership form!
2. Download and print a PDF copy of the Friends of Will Membership Form
3. Stop by the GRSF office at 79 Lafayette Street to fill out a membership brochure.

shakespeare_2699766bAll Front of House sign up (Ushers, Will Guides and Concessions/parking during the apprentice production) will be online using Volunteer Local beginning in early May.   Check this page for announcements!

Learn more about the Friends of Will  volunteer teams

For the Love of Arts: Make a basket for a silent auction

two_heartsDear Friends of Will Volunteers,
The Minnesota Marine Art Museum and the Great River Shakespeare Festival are joining forces to hold one of the greatest Valentine’s Day events Winona has ever seen.  On Friday, February 14th beginning at 6:00PM, MMAM and GRSF will host For the Love of the Arts an event that consists of a silent and live auction, appetizers catered by the Boathouse, indoor and outdoor live music, actors and poets performing works related to love, access to one of the most prolific art museums in Minnesota, and an outdoor ice bar and luminary walk by the beautiful Mississippi River.

We’re looking for assistance to fill out our silent auction offerings.  Please consider helping your favorite Winona arts organizations by contributing items or services for our Silent Auction.   Read more about creating and donating your basket!

F0r the Love of Arts

A Fantasy of Trees and Cozy Winter Nights

GRSFTREE The Great River Shakespeare Festival was represented at Winona Health’s annual Fantasy of Trees.  The GRSF tree features the cliff swallows from Julia Crozier’s painting which will be used for the festival posters for Season 11.  Along with the tree, the winning bidder received one Great River Shakespeare Festival Season Pass for Season 11 valid for a ticket to each of the 3 main stage productions: Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  The original painting will be auctioned off during the season.  Friends of Will Dee Cipov and Kathy Benke designed and decorated the 2013 tree.

Falstaff_GRSFThe GRSF office windows and office are filled with the Holiday spirit!
The Hamlets and Merry Wives of Windsor, along with their friend Falstaff, greet visitors and people walking by. Friends of Will Bob and Terry Hawkings created a delightful display for this years’ Holiday Window Walk Competition that began during Main Street’s Not-So-Black Friday event that Nov. 29th.  There are people’s choice and juried awards for best windows! This year’s theme is Cozy Winter Nights.  Voting continues through December 20!Hmletshouse

Chamber of Commerce Holiday Window Walk Voting!

Friends of Will
at work behind the scenes, every day (every day) of the Year!

Friends of Will Season 10 Annual Report

Photos by Dee Cipov and Lee Gundersheimer

Season Ten Annual Report

I am deeply moved and humbled by the level of commitment the Friends of Will have for the Festival. The intertwining of volunteers within GRSF amazes me. We truly would not be able to exist without your efforts and that is what makes GRSF unique. Our FOW members are invaluable. 
Lee Gundersheimer, Managing Director

 Season 10 at a Glance

Over 370 Friends of Will contributed nearly 5000 volunteer hours to the Great River Shakespeare Festival throughout Season 10. Members include 48 Winona friends who joined the organization in 2013 and 32 Rochester Friends. The Friends of Will provide Company and Festival support, Front of House support, and Community outreach. Successful new initiatives this season were using Volunteer Local online for Front of House volunteer scheduling, distributing the Friends e-newsletter via Patron Manager, expanded use of Google Docs for registration and collaboration, and a Friends of Will recognition reception in July.

View the full report of Season 10 Friends of Will team activities.

Volunteer Local Blog Feature: Great River Shakespeare Festival Volunteers 

Celebrating Ten Years!

Thank you CakeOver 130 Friends of Will attended the July 14 recognition event in the WSU Science Laboratory Center atrium.  Heather Bach spoke on behalf of the GRSF Board of Directors;  Steering Committee Co-Chairs Mary Alice Anderson and Terry Hawkings presented FOW celebration pins to attendees. Founding members Karen Fawcett and Kathy Peterson shared a brief history of FOW (more below) and GRSF Artistic Director Doug Scholz-Carlson shared his appreciation!
Photo: Mary Alice Anderson
~ ~ ~ FOW who did not receive a 10-year celebration lapel pin at the July event or while volunteering during the season should stop by the GRSF office, 79 E. Third Street, to pick up their pin. Please call (474-7900) before stopping by so you know someone is there to help you.

Honoring the Past,  Celebrating our Future

FOW RecognitionThe Friends of Will started during a casual discussion in the WSU East Lake Apartments parking lot at the end of Season One.  A GRSF volunteer approached the founding directors Paul Barnes, Marc Hauck, and Alec Wild and asked if a volunteer group could be formed. The conversation led to the creation of the official volunteer group known as the Friends of Will.  Three hundred volunteers were ready to serve by the opening of Season Two in 2005.  During that first year teams were organized for the various roles that emerged and a steering committee with officers and team chairs was formed.  Friends learned new Festival vocabulary; a Rochester Friends of Will under the leadership of Sheri Lu Pappas was organized in 2009. The FOW organizational structure continues to work well, providing sincerely appreciated ongoing support to the Great River Shakespeare Festival.  (Information shared by Karen Fawcett and Kathy Peterson, July 14, 2013.) Photo: Kathy Greden Christenson

Appreciation FROM Doug Scholz-Carlson

Doug_June30When I walk though the lobby before a show, when I head to dinner on a long day of tech, when I meet an intern who stayed in someone’s house, or when I encounter a volunteer in any of their many other roles, I’m always humbled by the generosity of the Friends of Will. It is amazing to me that so many people of such varied backgrounds give of their time to come together to support our little (yet sophisticated) game of make believe. I suppose communities have been coming together to tell stories since we climbed down out of the trees. But, given all the ways our modern world offers to keep us entertained, the fact that so many of you are willing to give the most precious thing you have, your time, to support live people telling stories to live people all gathered together at the same time and in the same room tells me that we have a strong community here in this corner of the world. I’m so grateful that you’ve allowed me to be a part of your community, and I’m so grateful for all you have done to build this community we share in the Great River Shakespeare Festival. I know my colleagues agree that there is no more generous group of volunteers than the Friends of Will anywhere.  Thanks for a great season.
Doug Scholz-Carlson, Artistic Director, August 2013
Photo: Kathy Greden Christenson

Karen Fawcett honored at CallithumP!

Rob_Brian_Karen_KGCRetiring GRSF Board member, founding member of the Friends of Will, and avid Festival supporter was honored at the July 30 Callithump for ten years of outstanding contributions to the Festival!  GRSF actor Brian White and Company Manager Rob Thomas presented Karen with an autographed GRSF t-shirt. Photo: Kathy Greden Christensen

FOW by the numbersKarin_Jim_Jon

~ 330 Winona Friends
~ 30 Rochester friends
~40 new friends in 2013
~ 1,780, the hours contributed by just the Ushers, Will Guides, and other Front of House volunteers.
~ $2,430, the amount raised by the Callithump! Quilt Raffle
~ THOUSANDS, the number of hours worked by FOW during Season 10!
~ Watch for an annual report later this fall!
GRSF actor Jon Daley and FOW Karin Worthley visit at the reception.
Photo: Mary Alice Anderson

Not TO be Missed!

~ WHYnona? The Noisy Neighbor, Arts, Music, Food & Culture Winona MN and the surrounding area. Corey Allen’s blog.
~ Volunteers Bolster Blossoming GRSF. Winona Post, July 13, 2013.

Click the image below to view archived FOW newsletters
and the Season 10 Thank You Poster!



Thank You, Friends of Will!


Volunteer Recognition, Kudos for the Hospitality Team

Invitation.jpegVolunteer Recognition

RSVP  for the FOW Volunteer recognition before July 7 to get complimentary tickets to the 12th Night matinee and to attend the reception by calling the GRSF box office at 507.474.7900

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The Front of House needs you!


What a great opportunity our ushers have to sign up this coming week!   I hope that you will seize the chance to work.  Over 40 slots are open!  The Saturday Chill With Will is in need of 12 slots to be filled!!!   Sign up with Volunteer Local.

Usher and Will-Guide and Concessions/Parking sign up for remaining opens spots is online at Volunteer Local.  Select a date and what you are volunteering for.  You will be asked to enter your name, phone number and email address.  You will receive an email confirmation and a phone call reminder the day before.  A Concessions and Parking job description is  at the bottom of this newsletter. 

An additional  training session  for new Will Guides and Ushers  is  July 10 at the Performing Arts Center at MLangowskiWinona State University in the front lobby from 6 – 7:30 p.m.  If you training before your first shift, please contact Judy Rusert  to make other training arrangements. You may also contact Judy if you have questions about Volunteer Local. judy46@hbci, 507.454.1193

Photo: New FOW Martha Langowski ushered at a preview performance. Photo by Mary Alice Anderson

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It’s so good to see what these meals do.
It encourages camaraderie, people are MFarrell_Foodtalking to people they don’t work with.

Jim Edmonson, Director, King Henry V.

We had another successful week of feeding the GRSF Crew and Cast during tech week.  They were excited to see some of their favorite dishes and equally excited about the new ones!  They are ALWAYS so thankful for you and what the hospitality team does.  I wish I could adequately convey their gratitude! We provide enough food ServingFoodfor each tech day for 140 meals.  So for all 6 days YOU ALL made 840 meals!!    This would not be possible without your generous support and effort!  For that I am grateful. There is one more day of tech  for the Apprentice show in July.  If you would like to help out and are not a member of the hospitality team please contact me.   Thank you. Kris Blanchard, Hospitality Team co-Chair,

Photos: Mary Farrell delivers food; Terry Hawkings, Leslie Albers, Kris Blanchard and Diane Stevens prepare a delicious meal. Photos by Kathy Christenson.

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 Paul Barnes praises FOW

PaulMarkWinona Mayor Mark Peterson proclaimed June 30 Paul Barnes Day.

Our 300-plus member Friends of Will volunteer organization, which logs over 7,000 hours of service to GRSF each season, is remarkable in and of itself — and just one of several ways that the people in and around Winona have demonstrated their support and their faith.   Q & A with Paul Barnes, Winona Daily News, June 30, 2013.
Read the article  Photo by Kathy Christenson

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Get your Callithump! Quilt Raffle Ticket

The quilt is hanging in the PAC lobby; raffle tickets are available close-by in the Quiltinggroupgift shop, at the GRSF office, and from some Friends of Will.  It’s just $5.00 for a chance to win this beautiful quilt made from costume shop fabrics.   Photo by Kathy Christenson

Hire an Apprentice

There is still time to hire an apprentice to help you with yard and home work!  They are generally available on Mondays.   Read more about hiring an apprentice in the May 23 newsletter.

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Concessions and Parking

As I’m sure you’re aware, our fantastic apprentice acting company covers concessions and also directs patrons toward parking and the theater.  They also have their own production of MacBeth opening soon!  Between rehearsals and productions the apprentices are unavailable to cover concessions and parking for a total of 13 shifts.  We’re looking for some folks (lots of folks) who would love the interaction with our patrons that only comes from serving refreshments!  We’re also looking for volunteers who would love to wave as the “first” face of the Festival and welcome our patrons as they arrive.  We’d like to encourage you to think about involving your children or grandchildren (age 11 and up)!  What fun it would be to see this generation being involved and committed! Parking consists of placing the parking signs in the designated areas , standing outside (pre-show only), helping people find the correct parking lot, and directing people toward the PAC.  Please check in with the Lead Concessions person in the lobby for information regarding your specific shift before going to the parking lot.  Uniform will be black bottoms with a GRSF t-shirt if you have one or a white top if you don’t.

Both jobs are incredibly easy, fun and important!  Concessions help is needed pre-show and during intermissions. Everything sells for $1.00 so the math is easy.  Concessions volunteers will likely not be able to see shows during their volunteer shift. 

Thank you for considering!  Questions? Contact Terry Hawkings    507-459-0289

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KarinJimWoWCommitteeFOW Karin and Jim Worthley enjoy the Wills Opening Weekend picnic and concert.    Photo by Mary Alice Anderson

Thank you WOW Committee for a Wonderful Weekend

Committee members Irene Erkenbrack, Jane Bartz, Corwin Osterloh, Arvie Osterloh, Laura Feller, Ray Feller, Pat Langowski, Michelle Langowski.   Photo by Kathy Christenson.