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Roanoke Rotary Club supports 'crowning jewel' on Main Street

Roanoke’s Rotary Club meets every Thursday to discuss projects over lunch. I attended a weekly meeting in the basement of the Main Street Baptist Church.

During the meeting, Rotarian Tina Leath announced a multitude of events the Rotary Club will be facilitating in the coming months, including concerts and movies to be projected onto a new 19’ by 19’ screen Rotary provided for the Main Street Theatre.

The Rotary Club envisions the Main Street Theatre as being a community space to host concerts, movies, high school and community plays, special events near holidays, class reunions and more.

On August 19, Sweet Grass Sally will present a concert at the Theatre on Main Street.  This fall, movies and concerts, including holiday movie screenings, are being scheduled.

Paula Hicks explained that on July 19, 2011, Bob and Mary Schoenberner donated the theater building to the Roanoke Rotary Club.  With contributions of time and money from local corporations, businesses, schools, churches, government agencies and individuals, she noted, the Roanoke Rotary Club was able to raise approximately $300,000 to renovate the theater.

Just five years later, the restored space is providing an event space where the community can gather.

Hicks said, “The Roanoke Rotary Club continues their vision to make The Main Street Theater the "crowning jewel" in our revitalized historic city.”

Teams of Rotarians now take care of maintenance and event planning for the Main Street Theatre. “What we’ve done to spread the work load is set up committees and assignments. Each committee has three non-consecutive months to be in charge,” Leath explained.

Vickie Cummings said, “Our hope, Rotary, has always been that the Theatre would be used for years to come and would only be limited by one’s imagination.”

She added, “We as a Club hoped, as we have this year, to be able to have sponsors for movies and events that we could offer free to the public.”

From its inception in downtown Chicago in 1905 to today, Rotary Clubs have provided communities with a vehicle to affect positive change.

One of Rotary International’s main projects over the years has been the eradication of polio. So far, Rotary International has contributed to the immunizations of nearly 2 billion children worldwide.  In addition to this monumental task, Rotary Clubs offer scholarships, promote literacy, and have a student exchange program for students in secondary education.

And the Roanoke Rotary Club is clearly having a major impact right here at home.

For more information on the Main Street Theatre, visit