By Bill Robinson
Redbud trees were blooming, the grass was green, the air was cool and the sun was shining Saturday afternoon.
Those were the signs of spring outdoors, but other signs of spring could be found indoors in First Presbyterian Church’s Christian Life Center at the Salvation Army Auxiliary's annual tea.
For the 19th year, about 210 ladies, some wearing fancy hats, sipped tea from fine china and ate light delicacies. They also bid on some bargains in a silent auction of gift baskets to benefit the Richmond Unit of the Salvation Army.
But the afternoon’s highlight came when members of the cast and chorus of Madison Central High School preformed several numbers from their spring musical.
The theme was “Tea Time on Broadway,” and the young people delighted the audience with a professional-like exuberant performance laced with humor.
Fans of the TV hit show “Mad Men” could detect some of its antecedents in the songs and skits from “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
The musical’s caricature of the 1950s and '60s New York business world and the talent exhibited by the performers drew lots of smiles and laughter from the audience.
The musical will be performed in the MCHS theater Mother’s Day weekend.
The menu also borrowed from Broadway. It featured Broadway wrap-ups, Big Apple on toast, Smash Hit tomatoes, Puttin’ on the Ritz and Cats Meow among others.
As more than 200 enjoyed the tea and the show, the Salvation Army Auxiliary’s 50 members kept tea cups and plates filled. After preparing and serving the food and tea, the volunteers remained afterward to clean up.
Tickets for the tea, $20 each, generated about $4,200 for the auxiliary, its biggest fundraising event of the year. The total from the silent auction was not available.
The auxiliary provides about $1,000 in utility assistance every month, according to the event’s program. The group also has pledged $11,500 to renovate the local Salvation Army Shelter. It has provided two computers that shelter residents use for job searches.
Auxiliary members also prepare and serve lunch at the shelter each Monday and Friday for residents and others in need, an average of about 70.
The Salvation Army's Richmond unit serves individuals and families in Madison, Estill, Lee and Rockcastle counties.
In addition to their work in the shelter kitchen, auxiliary members volunteer at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, provide food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas and coordinate Christmas stocking and Angel Tree gifts.
Bill Robinson can be reached at email@example.com or at 624-6690.