I’ve been humming the song Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Misérables the last few days. Restrictions on entertainment, community gatherings, fundraisers, and restaurants could prove almost as devastating as the coronavirus. Humans are social animals. We need company. We need connections. If our non-profits are to continue achieving their goals, they need donations and assistance. There is nothing like live entertainment. Most local entertainers do not get rich doing what they love, but they do need encouragement.
For instance, my wife Peg has two women’s groups that she participates in. The restriction on events by the coronavirus threat could possibly hurt both organizations. The P.E.O. Chapter AY’s primary fundraiser is the Garden Party Luncheon with a silent and live auction that her chapter puts on. The former Star Bazaar’s is now called the Garden Party. P.E.O. International has grants, scholarships and low interest loans for the post-secondary education for women in the US and Canada. AY also has established and funded a scholarship through the PEO International that is open to women in Western Washington.
Peg is also a member of Soroptimists International – Tacoma. Its primary fundraiser is a golf tournament at Oakbrook that consists of 18 holes of golf and a dinner including a silent and a live auction. Peg says, “This allows us to provide scholarships for women who have changed their lives with our grant. Both organizations help women to have a chance to change their lives. SI – Tacoma has self-improvement courses that help women define what they want to do in their future. One is Dream It Be It with a focus on girls. Last year the participants were girls in foster care and we are doing it again this year. We also give annual donations to several non-profits, such as the Tacoma Community College Foundation to help fund the scholarships for their students.”
Every year I look forward to Lunch & Laughter, a fundraiser for Community Health. The highlight of the meeting features a professional comedian as the major laughter portion of the meeting. This year they booked Olympia funny man, Gabriel Rutledge. Gabriel is a nationally ranked comedian whom you may have seen or heard on Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Laughs on Fox, or streaming on Amazon Prime.
Our community will also miss out on major entertainment. So far, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder was cancelled before opening night at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. In addition to these possible losses, bars and restaurants will be closed.
We have a solution. Since many fundraisers and theaters have already spent money and done passels of hard work, The Suburban Times will provide reviews just like we would normally do, but the luncheons, dinners, plays and musicals will be made up. Here is our disclaimer: “Corona Virus Causes Non-Events: The best reviews of plays, meetings, and fund raisers that never happened!” By posting reviews of events that could and should have been, those involved will have a chance to be thanked for their hard work, effort, and skills. Events and gatherings will have an opportunity to explain what they do and what would have transpired. We hope these reviews will keep everything in perspective and keep us connected with our neighbors and the world. We can also conduct interviews with local business people, chefs, actors, musicians, and community leaders. Perhaps, we’ll review “take-out” and “to go” orders from restaurants.
We’ll put you in the audience. Please, email Don Doman at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on what we can do to help your organization, business, or restaurant. With a little luck we’ll enjoy ourselves, encourage participation, and get us through the pandemic the best we can.
“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken,
There’s a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables,
Now my friends are dead and gone.”
– Empty Chairs at Empty Tables