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A captivating -- and at times side-splitting -- performance by renowned Indiana University-based a capella group Straight No Chaser provided what attendees doubtless found the perfect end to a perfect evening, at the Culver Boys & Girls Club's annual auction and banquet.
Running through several comedy-laced musical numbers, the group even brought Dianne Osborn, one of the principle organizers of the event, to the stage to croon their rendition of "My Girl" to her, earning appreciative laughs and cheers from the crowd.
Bringing the group -- which tours internationally and has garnered rave reviews for its performances -- to Culver was something of a coup in itself, but is representative of the level of attention and care given to the event on an ongoing basis.
Held for the first time with a reconfigured format at a tastefully decorated Culver Academies' Legion Memorial Building, the June 17 evening included both a silent and live auction, in addition to a lavishly-catered meal. It also brought the announcement that longtime CBGC board President Alan Loehr would soon be stepping down from his role.
Loehr told the audience he'd moved to Culver 26 years ago and endeavored to help create an environment in which area children could feel safe and loved, as well as to attract young families with children. Under his leadership, the Culver Community Youth Center would later transform into a remarkably successful chapter of the Boys & Girls Club of Porter County, Indiana, as it continues today.
Loehr thanked Culver Community Schools and its administrators for making the school building available for the Club, which boasts over 350 members and more than 100 elementary-aged youth in attendance daily. In addition to thanking the Culver Citizen and its editor, Loehr lauded Bill Rhoades of Park N' Shop, and Dan Bickel of the Edgewater Grille, for providing the evening's drinks, as well as Culver Academies and its Head of Schools, John Buxton, for supporting the Club as "silent partners" in many ways.
Loehr also thanked the CBGC's board members, citing five in particular whose hard work made the evening possible: Cheryl Rhoades, Leslie Sheppard, Dianne Osborn, Ginny Bess Munroe, and Carol Zeglis; he also lauded Porter County BGC's Chuck Leer.
Auctioneer Jim Szymusiak, noting Loehr had joined the board ten years ago, praised him for "never giving up the charge (or settling for closed doors)" in his efforts to establish the Club. Szymusiak said Loehr would continue to play an active role on the board, and added, "We should consider ourselves blessed to have him."
Cory Monnier, Unit Supervisor at the Culver Club, reminded audience members of the importance of their contributions through the sobering story of a 3rd grade local member whose unruly behavior one day led to the revelation that the boy spends visits to his father's house locked in small room with his brother, devoid of games or entertainment and sleeping on the floor with bugs crawling across them through the night.
"Why should a child have to live like that?" Monnier asked. "I'm a firm believer there's a light at the end of even the darkest tunnel. For several youth in the Culver area, that light is the Culver Boys & Girls Club...a place to leave their burdens at the doorstep."