2020-21 Membership Awards

We are thrilled to announce our 20/21 Membership Award recipients and look forward to formally recognizing them at our January potluck meeting! Congratulations to all of our honorees!

Our 2020-2021 Volunteer of the Year has been giving his time to SLOC for many seasons. A fabulous musician, he has donated his time to play in over a dozen of our pit orchestras since 2013. He has proudly arranged the musical scores for Jesus Christ Superstar and Sister Act to sound their best with our SLOC instrumentation. This year, in one of our most fiscally challenging seasons, he took on the role of the company’s Finance Director. In addition to managing our cash flow, negotiating contracts and leases, preparing, and presenting monthly finance reports to the Board, working to lower our insurance costs, and helping to create a balanced budget for next season, he stepped up to the plate to spend the last 12 months working to secure funds from our DASNY reimbursement grant to keep SLOC going throughout the shutdown. Along with our treasurer, Mark Viscusi, our Business Manager, Nell Burrows, and his finance committee, he is one of the reasons the company can return to the stage next season. We are so grateful and pleased to present this year’s Volunteer of the Year award to Mr. Thomas Coon.

I have chosen to present this year’s President’s Award to someone who has been tirelessly working with and for SLOC since she became the Director of PR and Marketing for our 2017-2018 season. Since she has taken over this position, SLOC has widely increased our social media presence, has been seen on TV and at outreach events throughout the Capital District, and has begun selling out full runs in our Franklin Street Theater. She has made SLOC more well-known and accessible in the upstate theater scene and continues to bring new volunteers and audience members through our doors. This year, she was presented with a new challenge when I asked her to market a “Digital Season”, and, as always, she rose to the occasion. With her team, she spent countless hours posting content, attracting views, and helping to secure donations and support. I am so grateful to Audrey Carlton for her continued support of the company and am thrilled to present her with this year’s President’s Award.

Many in the theater community have had the pleasure of being musically directed by this year’s Gwen Fraser award recipient, the soft spoken, hardest working woman in the area. She joined SLOC’s family in 2013, beginning to get to know SLOC and its volunteers. Within the next few years, she not only became a go-to music director and piano player but a great friend and pillar to the overall success of SLOC. Those of us who have had the pleasure to work with her know how detail oriented she is, that she expects our best but expects it with patience and kindness. She is willing to go above and beyond to help us sound our best and always offers a smile to boost our confidence. With her coffee in hand, she leads with empathy and passion, her friendship and talent bringing actors back again and again. From one-on-one rehearsals to shared rehearsal tracks, there’s little she’s unwilling to do to make sure the performers and pit musicians feel prepared and enjoy success. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention a small piece of the substantial work, she does once the curtain closes on the productions. The hours she’s spent volunteering at opening night parties, membership meetings, board meetings and more. The baking she consistently brought to board and leadership meetings is just a sample of her kindness. If a gathering, meeting, email needs to be arranged, guaranteed she’s the one taking on the bulk of the work. SLOC currently runs as well as it does thanks in large part to her continued hard work and dedication. We hope she continues to share her skill and talents with our community for years to come. Congratulations to Adrienne Sherman.

This year’s Etta Moore award recipient has been involved at SLOC since 1998. Over the past two decades, she has served multiple terms on the Board of Directors, including two years as Vice President. She has been the driving force behind SLOC’s traditional Opening Night Parties, planning, decorating, and hosting countless events in the Franklin Street theater. She has served as Director of Audience Services, worked in the box office, co-chaired the 90th Anniversary Gala committee, and has been a longtime usher, house manager, scenic painter, subscriber and donor. She is most recognized, however, , for the more than 30 productions she has beautifully costume designed. Actors are always thrilled when they have the privilege of wearing a “Connie original.  She has created and/or curated some of SLOC’s most memorable pieces. She continues to be an integral part of our SLOC family, and we are so proud to present the 2021 Etta Moore award to Connie Rauhauser.

This year’s Thelma Zeh honorees have been with SLOC since the 70’s.  He started in 1979 and has worked as a stage manager, set designer, crew member, and actor. Most notably, however, he has served as lighting designer for almost 50 productions over the last 40+ years. She began her SLOC experience in 1976, appearing as leading roles in many productions, most recently Sister Act in 2018. She has also served as a lighting assistant throughout her time with the company. As a couple, the two chair SLOC’s High School Musical Awards program each year, attending dozens of local productions and providing feedback and support to local schools, a program that would not be possible without their time and dedication. They are the true definition of longtime SLOC family members, and we are thrilled to present Greg and Sue Rucinski with their well-deserved spots on the Thelma Zeh Wall of Honor.