Ann Carson Dater awarded Elisabeth F. Ruffner service award
The Elks Theatre and Performing Arts center turned 111 years old on Saturday, Feb. 20 with a celebration on Friday, Feb. 21 with Lonely Street Productions’ “My Funny Valentine” show. During intermission, James Pool, chair of the board of directors for the Elks Opera House Foundation, presented the Elisabeth F. Ruffner Service Award to Ann Carson Dater for her efforts in ensuring the Elks Theatre will continue to be a center for performing arts for generations to come.
The anniversary celebration remembered the past and looked toward the future as the Elks Opera House Theater has gone through a number of transitions in
the past and has since transformed back into its original state, Pool said.
“The restoration of the Elks Opera House Theater was the mission of the Elks Opera Foundation,” Pool said, noting the foundation was established in 2002 to raise funds for the restoration and preservation of the theater. “Through the generous contributions of the James Family Trust, the City of Prescott and innumerable individuals, the theater was restored essentially to its original state and
reopened for performances on July 24, 2010.”
The Elisabeth F. Ruffner Service Award was established at the 2010 grand opening, Pool said. It recognizes individuals who have supported the Elks Opera House through service and dedication with the first awarded to Ruffner, he said. Other recipients include the Elks Opera House Guild, Michelle Young, Marilyn
Henze, Gail Mangham and John Olsen.
The Elks Opera House Foundation’s mission to restore and preserve the Elks Opera House has been achieved and the foundation will dissolve in the near future, Pool said. However, one of the foundation’s last acts was the presentation of the award for 2016, he said. This year, the award was made to the individual whose generosity insured the preservation of the building and theater for the coming generations, Pool stated.
Dater spent her childhood on a farm in southeast Ohio, learned to play the piano and the violin during her school years and attended Rio Grande College, Pool said. She went on to have a continuing lifelong interest in music and the performing visual arts.
“Through her generosity, a new foundation was formed, the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center. This foundation purchased the Elks Building and is restoring the entire building. We now look to the future,” Pool said. “This foundation is committed to the preservation of the Elks and the continued development of a center for the performing arts.”
Pool thanked the audience in attendance for joining the foundation in honoring Dater and her daughter, Andrea Smith, who is the President of the Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center, and in recognizing their commitment to the theater and the Elks Building as Prescott’s “preeminent center for the performing arts.”