Thank you Friends of Will for all of your contributions throughout Season 12


Over 200 active Friends of Will contributed 3800 volunteer hours to the Great River Shakespeare Festival throughout Season 12. Front of House volunteers, the FOW in black and white who work at each performance, are the largest and most visible FOW team. Other teams worked behind the scenes providing Festival support, Company support, and Community outreach throughout the season and calendar year. The large hospitality team prepared and served very much appreciated meals to the company during June tech week. Other teams provided assistance in capacities such as transportation and housing, distributing Festival brochures, assisting in the costume shop, creating the raffle quilt, helping at events, helping with special projects such as building the Steamboat Days float and communicating within the Friends of Will and with the company. The Friends of Will volunteer organization has over 300 members including many new members who volunteered for the first time in 2015, and Friends of Will-Rochester. Calculated at the Corporation for National and Community Service hourly wage ($24.83) for Minnesota, the Friends of Will contribution is more than $90,000.00.

Read the complete report

Thank you from Lee Gundersheimer and Doug Scholz-Carlson

In my two years of working at GRSF, nothing yanks harder at my heartstrings than working with our volunteers in FOW. Whether it is building a float with Bob Hawkings, serving meals with the Worthleys and many others, attending board meetings with Terry Hawkings, watching the work of the quilters led by Mary Alice Anderson, seeing Rev Jim pull up with another car load of company members, Judy Rusert tirelessly guiding some new ushers, Jean Hayes sudukoing a schedule of serving food, the mover and shaker Tom Hoffman, Dee Cipov gathering the troops to Will Run or to poster up the region- you name it, and I have had the pleasure of witnessing the hard work across countless areas being carried out with such expertise and ability it often brings tears to my eyes.

And here I am with the chance to say a bit of thanks. How does one show the gratitude for all that the FOW accomplish? How can one thank each of you enough for making this festival possible, year after year? How can one possibly say enough for the many tireless years of outstanding service from Terry Hawkings? She embodies so much of the simple dignity, passion, joy, and discipline that are the key ingredients of our volunteer spirit. She has co-chaired for several years and has assured us she is still ready to roll up her sleeves and contribute as co-chair and in other roles. Each of us that have had the pleasure of collaborating with her understands just what she means to GRSF and to Winona itself.

I deal in numbers a great deal in my job, both quantifiable and those not as easy to pin down. Simply put, $90,000 this year is what the FOW saved GRSF, if you use the government statistic for counting the cost of their service. But truly, we who work in the arts know this is not an easily countable sum. It is impossible to say what the FOW actually add, but I will leave it to Shakespeare, who has a way with words, to sum up what might be at the heart of all in our beloved FOW.  Their spirit to forever pitch in to build a better Festival (and perhaps a bit of essential madness- if one factors in the original quoted context) is at the heart of Ophelia’s lines from Hamlet: We know what we are now, but know not what we may be.”   ~ Lee Gundersheimer, Managing Director
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The Great River Shakespeare Festival exists thanks to the generosity of our community. Nowhere is that more clear than in the generosity of the Friends of Will. Thank you for giving the most precious thing you have to GRSF: your time.

While it is easy to quantify how much money your donation of time is worth to GRSF, the Friends of Will give something even more important. You create our community. At its heart, the Great River Shakespeare Festival exists to bring us together, to challenge us with great plays, and to spark the conversations that make our community our home. The Friends of Will lead the way in helping our community engage with GRSF in a meaningful way.

The Friends of Will meals during tech week certainly brighten the day for a weary company and saves money for GRSF, but they also cement the bond between the patrons and the artists, the volunteers, the paid staff and everyone else who is part of the company of the Great River Shakespeare Festival. It matters when our patrons are welcomed into the theater by an usher who truly loves the plays. It matters when our out of town company members are met at the airport by someone who values the their work. It matters when the rest of the community comes to an event and sees people they know giving their time to a cause they believe in.

We couldn’t do this work without the Friends of Will. Logistically and financially, it just wouldn’t be possible. But maybe more importantly, without you, without our community, we wouldn’t want to. Thank you for all you do.
~ Doug Scholz-Carlson, Artistic Director

Friends of Will Annual Reports

Letter to the Editor (Winona Daily News)

Congratulations to Mary Lee Eischen!

Congratulations to Mary Lee Eischen, winner of the 2015 Great River Shakespeare Festival raffle quilt! Mary Lee lives in Winona and won the quilt at Callithump 5, the annual GRSF benefit.


Designing and Creating the Quilt and its Symbolism

Front of House Openings

There are several open positions for Front of House volunteering including helping sell quilt raffle tickets on a few dates before Callithump (July 28 ) and Front of House Flex, a new position for selected dates.

Dates with openings as of July 19: July 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, August 1, 2
Volunteer Local.

Front of House Flex

This volunteer will act as an extra capable body who may help welcome, take tickets, direct groups to extra bathrooms, or assist wherever it is needed. This position mainly covers the area not including the inside of the theater.

Shift notes
Experienced GRSF volunteer acting as welcomer, ticket taker or assisting wherever needed. This is mainly Front of House, not inside theater.

Sign up for a position with Volunteer Local.


FOW and GRSF Board Member David Marshall greets patrons.

Thank you Hospitality Team! FOW Activities, Check your Volunteer Status

Kudos to the Hospitality team

Eating2The hospitality team has outdone themselves again! Throughout the two weeks of tech week FOW served 580 separate meals at 8 different times.
47 Friends of Will contributed food. Two groups led by Dee Cipov served 130 meals; an Exchange Club group chaired by Terry Hawkings  provided 60 Apprenticesmeals and a Rotary Club group led by Terri Sim served 40 meals. Other FOW who hosted meals are Kris Blanchard, Martha Langowski, Bea Hoffmann, Mary Alice Anderson, Caroline van Schaik, John and Grace Marter, Kathy and Greg Peterson, Debbie Sheets, Ray and Carolyn Felton, Pat Berkley, Bob Hawkings. Guest hosts Heidi Ryan, Margie Glynn and GRSF staff Lee Gundersheimer and Marci Franklin, offered help at the last minute when we really needed it.  Thank you!


Karin and Jim Worthley, on-site hospitality chairs and coordinators, helped at every meal and coordinated in-between meal needs.   A HUGE thank you goes to Jean Hayes for extensive months-long menu and logistics planning.
Special thanks to
* Daryl Reidel, Steak Shop Catering for providing and delivering a commercial warming table, salad bar and large refrigerator free of charge. This was a tremendous help!!!
* Winona Bread and Bagel, Blue Heron and Bloedows for donating bread
* Pete Suardi, GRSF Company Manager who helped at every meal took care of so much else.
*Terry Hawkings for her tremendous support. She pitched in with everything where she was needed.
* WSU Arts Administrator and FOW Kathy Peterson who helps GRSF with all facilities needs.

Company members look forward to these wonderful meals; they spread the word to incoming company members who are eager to see what it’s all about!


MaryAlice-PattiQuilt Raffle Tickets For Sale

FOW Patti Neal purchased Raffle Ticket #1 from Mary Alice Anderson.  Raffle tickets are available in the lobby during all performances through Callithump, at Concerts on the Green, from FOW, and in the GRSF downtown office. Raffle tickets are just $5.00 and a wonderful way to support GRSF.


Steamboat Days Parade

GRSF was well represented in the Steamboat days Parade with assistant director Stephen Miranda and SYA actor Lauren Callahan as Romeo and Juliet.  FOW Bob Hawkings created the float which received an award in the novelty float category.  FOW Dee Cipov, Maggie Lambert, Raelynn Peter, Kathy Benke, Michelle Langowski walked the parade route with GRSF staff.


Front of House Team

Thank you for all of the excellent Front of House work during the start of Season 12.  Judy Rusert, Team Chair

Reminder!  Check your Volunteer Status and for open positions in Volunteer Local.  Select the Volunteer Local check your status link;  enter your email address.  A list of what you have volunteered for will arrive in your email.

You may also cancel a shift online.
If you need to cancel the week of the event please contact Judy Rusert,

Ushers, ticket takers and quilt raffle ticket sellers working during each performance will receive an email confirmation reminder the week they are working.


Volunteer Local Tip, Front of House Openings

updateD June 29

There are a few Front of House volunteer shift openings.  Select  Volunteer Local to review these positions. and sign up for those that you are interested in.

Check your Volunteer Status

Front of House ushers, ticket takers and quilt raffle ticket sellers working during each performance will receive an email confirmation reminder the week they are working.

Want to check your Front of House volunteer status now?   Select the Volunteer Local check your status link;  enter your email address.  A list of what you have volunteered for will arrive in your email.

You may also cancel a shift online.
If you need to cancel the week of the event please contact Judy Rusert, Front of House Chair.


Season 12 begins in 3 weeks! Steamboat Days, Training Dates, Volunteer Needs, the Callithump Raffle Quilt!

Front of House Training & Openings

Thursday, June 11, 2:00 pm, WSU Science Laboratory Center Atrium
Thursday, June 18, 7:00 pm
, WSU Science Laboratory Center Atrium
Pre registration is NOT required   ~   WSU Campus Maps

VolunteerLocalThere are still a few remaining FOH positions. Visit Volunteer Local for specific dates and positions.
FOH waiting list:  If you would like to be on the standby list for assisting with Front of House positions please contact Judy Rusert, Front of House Co-Chair.


Hospitality Training & Needs

Hospitality Training, Tuesday, June 9, 5:30 pm,
WSU, Minne Hall, room 104   ~   WSU Campus Maps
~ Registration.

There are a few openings for FOW who would like to contribute food for company meals during tech week. Helping is a great way to interact with other FOW and GRSF Company members who LOVE the hospitality team. Please review the pre-planned menus to see what is needed by clicking the Doodle Links. You may also sign up to contribute using the Doodle.
Questions? Contact Jim or Karin Worthley, or call 474-4360. They will be happy to answer your questions.


Steamboat Days 2015

GRSF will have float in the Steamboat Days Parade, June 21. Shakespeare for Young Adult actors will portray Romeo and Juliet.   Lee Gundersheimer, GRSF managing director, would like 4-6 FOW volunteers to walk along the float to hand out information about the Festival and Will Run.   The float is #33 in the parade; walkers will need to arrive at 11:45 for the 12:31 start.   Needed! One large plant (can be artificial) or garden statue for Romeo to hang onto.  ~ If you would like to walk in the parade or have a plant/statue to loan please contact Lee Gundersheimer.


Callithump Raffle Quilt

The Festival season theme and the season poster designed by Wisconsin artist, Pete Sandker were the inspiration for the 2012 Callithump raffle quilt. The Will Quilt team created a quilt featuring costume shop fabrics in an abstract tree in the quilt’s center. 10 solid roots pay tribute to the first decade and artistic director Paul Barnes. 12 branches represent growth and Season 12. A heart in the root mass represents the season theme, What love dares. A piano key border, made largely from costume shop fabric, honors the music that contributes so much to many of the plays and the Festival.  Winona’s Knitcraft Corporation also donated several fabrics for the quilt. All FOW are invited  to sell raffle tickets to family and friends. Stop by the Box office to get them; it’s a great way to support GRSF!


Will Quilt team members Connie Lrson, Dee Cipov, Lori Krumholz, Mary Alice Anderson, Mary Kaser and Ann Kendrick sewed the binding on the built June 2.


FOW behind the scenes, Hire an apprentice, FOW Volunteer opportunity updates (UPDATED June 2)

Late May/Early JUNE UpdateS

  • Accessibility usher positions have been added to each performance on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.  There are also other openings. Sign up using Volunteer Local
  • Front of House training is June 11 at 2:00 and June 18 at 7 pm. The specific location and other information TBA.
  • Callithump Quilt Raffle tickets are ready. FOW who would like to help by selling tickets may pick them up in the downtown GRSF Box Office.
  • Watch for upcoming information regarding a GRSF float in the. Steamboat Days Parade. We’ll be looking for walkers!”


Behind the Scenes: FOW provide Company & FESTIVAL Support

maggie PeteTeam Chariot team members brought company members to Winona from area airports in early May. Early Housing team members hosted 35 GRSF company members who stayed in family homes before they moved into the WSU’s East Lake apartments. Move in/Move team members assisted with moving bins of apartment supplies from the Johnson St. warehouse to the East Lake. Photos: Maggie Lambert and other FOW helped Company Manager Pete Suardi inventory and pack bins of kitchen necessities for company apartments. Kudos and Thank You to FOW and Exchange Club members who helped with a bulk mailing project.  The volunteer hours saved GRSF $700.00!


Volunteer OPPOrtunity updates

Hire an Apprentice GRSF Apprentice company members are once again available to help you with house and yard projects.  Apprentices are generally available on Mondays. The suggested pay is $15.00 per hour.  If you would like to support these hard working college and university students please complete this Google Form.   Please send any questions or concerns to Stephen Miranda, Assistant to Artistic Director.  2014 Apprentice Company members, Caroline Amos and Silas Sellnow, are acting interns this summer. Caroline will play the title role in Rome and Juliet; Silas will play Paris. Photos: 2014 Apprentice Company Production, Troilus and Cressida


Help a lucky person win the Callithump quilt quilt_2015Each season the quilt designed and created by Friends of Will contributes to GRSF fund-raising initiatives. FOW can help with this fundraiser by helping  promote the quilt and selling  raffle tickets before each performance and during intermission in the theatre lobby! Selling tickets is an easy and a fun way to interact with theater patrons. Information about the design process, the fabrics, and quilt completion will be available to help you. Sign up with Volunteer Local.  Other Front of House positions are still open.


Tech Week Hospitality There have been some meal schedule changes for June Tech week.  The new schedule and sponsoring groups: 6/14 Sunday evening (FOW pasta bar) 6/16 Tuesday evening (FOW Taco Bar) 6/17 Wednesday noon (Early Birds) ~ 6/17 Wednesday Evening (FOW potluck) 6/19 Friday evening (Carpe Diem) 6/20 Saturday noon (FOW Salad bar)~ 6/20 Saturday evening (FOW potluck) 6/21 Sunday evening (FOW Salad bar) 6/23 Tuesday evening (Exchange Club) 6/28 Sunday evening (FOW potluck) 6/30 Tuesday evening (Rotary) Check your email for revised sign up Doodles! Anyone who already signed up and affected by the change will be contacted individually.  If you would like to help and have not yet volunteered or been contacted, please contact Hospitality team chair, Jean Hayes Reminder: Hospitality Training is June 9!


2015 Friends of Will Steering Committee

SC_15 Front: Karin Worthley, Dee Cipov, Mary Alice Anderson, Terry Hawkings.  Back: Jim Worthley, Jean Hayes, Blandine Berthelot, Marsha Yancy, Judy Rusert, Jim Nelson. Not pictured, Tom Hoffman, Tracy Morgan, SherriLu Pappas