GREENVILLE — Two of the greater forces behind arts and music in the Greenville area are now the faces of the fund striving to save those types of activities in the community.
The OUR3 campaign, which started three years ago, has raised more than $526,000 with an initial goal set at $1,000,000.
Bob and Ruth Hansen of Greenville have been chosen to represent the fund for the next year.
“The education foundation in Greenville, and the OUR3 campaign in particular, are proud to announce a year-long tribute to the Hansens to raise money for the OUR3 performing arts fund,” Campaign Chairman Jeff Cook said. “We just want to thank them for everything they’ve done, whether its the Hans Christian Anderson Theatre, the middle school and high school plays.”
Cook said the efforts the Hansens have put forth over the years can’t be measured.
“The Danish Festival Band was formed in the Hansen basement. The Flat River Big Band was born from the Danish Festival Band,” he added. “They’ve done a lot for this community over the years.”
Bob and Ruth Hansen accepted the announcement with joy at Thursday night’s dress rehearsal of the second annual OUR3 Melodrama at the Greenville Performing Arts Center.
“Bob and I are very pleased and honored that we have been chosen to represent the OUR3 campaign,” Ruth said. “We’re both very passionate about the arts, music and theatre, and visual arts as well.”
Ruth stressed in statement to everyone in the crowd the importance the arts have on the youth in the community, not just from an acting standpoint.
“Some people choose to be on stage, some work as musicians, some work on lights and sound, some paint the set and then of course there are those who choose to be on stage performing,” she said. “In the performing arts, there is a place for everyone.”
Bob said with school budget cuts resulting in programs being cut, the endowment fund is crucial for the survival of programs at Greenville High School.
“In this day and age, if you don’t have some outside help, it isn’t going to continue the way it is,” he said.” If you want to keep the same level of heart going into this system, it has to come from the local people. It’s kind of sad, but that’s the only way you can keep it going.”
Bob pointed to the success of the Greenville programs as evidence that they play a crucial and important role in children’s lives.
“We’re pretty fortunate in Greenville to have a solid choir, solid band and solid orchestra,” he said. “It’s getting tougher for kids to make choices, having to take extra classes combined with extracurricular activities. It used to be you could take a lot of these type of classes, but that’s not the case anymore.”