11/05/06 — Goldmasquers reunion weekend attracts alumni attention

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Goldmasquers reunion weekend attracts alumni attention

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 5, 2006 10:31 AM

Tickets are now on sale for two performances of "The Shepherd's Song" that will tie into a weekend reunion of the Goldsboro High School Goldmasquers next month at Wayne Community College.

Organizer Jack Kannan, director of the college's Foundation, said the event is creating a lot of buzz among alumni from the school.

"The Saturday night performance is filling up quickly and the Sunday matinee is not far behind," he said. And that was before tickets had even been printed, he added.

Originally, two performances were scheduled for "The Shepherd's Song," which was written by Clifton Britton, popular drama teacher at Goldsboro High from 1942-1962.

Once word got out that the first weekend in December would be devoted to "Remembering Mr. B," Kannan said the interest level has grown.

And with it, the list of events being planned.

Play performances will be in Moffatt Auditorium at the college on Saturday evening, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m., with a matinee performance on Sunday at 3 p.m. Both will be followed by receptions.

Another reception and reunion opportunity will be held in the atrium Saturday morning from 9:30 until 11, Kannan said. At each reception, there will be an opportunity to view memorabilia relating to the high school and Goldmasquers.

With so many coming from out of town, Kannan announced a Friday evening gala has been added.

"David Weil has opened up the Goldsboro Hotel lobby for a reception," he said. The gathering will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The location is fitting, Kannan said, since the Center Street hotel was the site for the original outdoor performances of "The Shepherd's Song." Horse-drawn carriage and trolley car rides will also be available for patrons to enjoy the Christmas lights and downtown decorations, he added.

Even though the weekend contains elements of reminiscing, Kannan said, "You do not have to be a Goldmasquer to come. This is open to the public."

Those who weren't a part of the high school drama group can still appreciate the era, he said. Prior to each of the performances, the opening segment will showcase Britton and tell the Goldmasquer story.

There will also be tributes paid by former students, followed by the performance of the rewritten version of "The Shepherd's Song" by A.G. "Bert" Allen.

Kannan said the event might be generating so much interest because of Britton's untimely death in 1963, one year after leaving the school.

The Goldmasquers only had one reunion, an awards night, to make their 15th anniversary in 1957, Kannan said.

"I did not know this until we started working on this," he said.

"I feel like due to Mr. B's health, they were not able to have a 20-year awards night. I get a sense that this is the reunion that a lot of these people wanted. It's almost like they need this closure to this part of their life."

Kannan said he has been hearing a lot of touching comments from former Goldmasquers. Even those unable to attend are finding ways to participate.

"Some people want to help contribute to the cost of the weekend, add to the scholarship endowment," he said. "When people that can't come are willing to send money, that's telling you they want to do something."

More than 40 years have passed since Britton died, Kannan said. So for them, the event could be the perfect way to pay tribute to the favored teacher of their youth.

"These people may not have been able to send flowers, or only later realized what he meant to their lives," he said. "Just so many different stories that I'm hearing are being told. ... It's worth every story I get to hear."

There is a nominal charge for the weekend's activities. Each $10 ticket covers the Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon shows plus the Saturday morning reunion. The Friday evening cocktail party will be a separate cost.

A limited number of seats are still available, Kannan said. Checks should be sent to Foundation of Wayne Community College, P.O. Box 8002, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533. Designate which performance is being requested.