By Meghan McCaffrey Contributing Writer
---- — Cherry Valley
The Cherry Valley USA Dance and Show for Armed Forces Day on Saturday was a tribute to veterans and to America’s past.
The dance was hosted by Cherry Valley American Legion Post 1360 and Cherry Valley Artworks at the Star Theater on Main Street in Cherry Valley.
The Star Theater houses both organizations within its historic walls. Cherry Valley Artworks reopened the doors to the theater in 2010 and has been working to rehabilitate the space for the past three years.
“The building was dormant for many years,” Pam Noonan, an Artworks board member said. “We brought the building back. It’s a little unknown gem.”
The theater was decorated with old military uniforms and black and white photos of soldiers from the local community who had served in one of the divisions of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The dance on Saturday evening included live music from Four of Hearts and The Small Town Big Band. Four of Hearts, a female acappella quartet from the City of the Hills Chorus in Oneonta included three patriotic tunes to their repertoire, “America the Beautiful,” “My Country” and “God Bless America.”
“We typically perform at community events or anything military,” Karen Adolfsen, a member of Four of Hearts, said. “We love performing.”
The Small Town Big Band played ‘30s and ‘40s big band music that moved people to dance.
“I just love this music,” said Jan McGrath, a Four of Hearts singer about the Small Town Big Band’s music.
The dance was put together in an effort to fundraise for the theater, but also to celebrate America, said the executive director of Artworks, Jane Sapinsky.
“We are doing something with the Legion so it brings in a different part of the community that might not come in otherwise,” Sapinsky continued.
Cherry Valley Artworks typically hosts concerts and theatrical events at the Star Theater. This is their first time hosting a dance, according to Sapinsky.
Larry Thompson, a member of the American Legion and a veteran of the Navy recalled the former uses for the Star Theater. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, the Emblem Finishing Company owned the building and manufactured patches for each division of the U.S. Armed Forces, Thompson said.
The Thompson family currently has five American Legion members in Post 1360 and they “served proudly,” he said.
Thompson said his brother, Gary Thompson enlisted in the Navy and was sent to Vietnam and was injured.
“He was awarded the Purple Heart,” Thompson said. “He’s the real hero of the family.”
“Artworks and the Legion doing this together, I think it’s great,” Thompson said. “We share the same building and here we are doing a dance together.”
More than 30 community members came to the event, and those who attended showed great enthusiasm.
“I have received so many phone calls from people saying it was the best time they’ve had in a long time,” Sapinksy said in a phone interview on Monday.
For information about future events at the Star Theater at 44 Main St. in Cherry Valley or the mission and goals of Cherry Valley Artworks, visit http://www.cvartworks.org/.