Meet the Geises

Melanie and Russell Geise have always enjoyed experiencing the arts and since they have retired they have enjoyed giving back to their community in the Town of Clayton. Because of their passion for giving back, becoming an Annual Partner and supporting the arts in the Fox Valley seemed like a natural fit.
“It’s well worth supporting because it dictates a quality of life that this area has. It’s something we are proud of and want to help promote,” Russell explained. “Part of attracting employers and employees to the area is showing that we have these things available. (For example, you could say) here’s what you can do in your community if you decide to move here or bring your company here. When you talk about the P.A.C. it brings with it a value to the community.”
The pair first visited the Partners Lounge with friends and learned about the benefits that being an Annual Partner provided. It wasn’t until after their first tour as Annual Partners that they heard about the bigger impact their donation was making.
“I thought the money just went for upgrading the stage and all that, which is great but I didn’t realize all of these other programs were working in the background to provide experiences for the kids,” Melanie said. “We believed in it. It seemed like a good idea to put some money to it.”
Annual Partner tours invite you to explore backstage, learn more about all of the work the Center does thanks to your support and hear stories of all of the elements it takes to put on the show.
“I thought it was interesting to see where the stars are when they are here and hear a little about what they go through or how they handle things like Alice Cooper’s snake or the handlers that travel with children,” Melanie said. “You just don’t realize what it takes and it just blows your mind that a group can travel around like this and put on shows from city to city. It was also fun to be on stage and made me realize I could never ever be a performer.”
“You get a total understanding of the venue and the effort that goes into all these shows,” Russell said. “There’s a whole television show about how it’s made…but this is how it’s done.”
“Understanding increases appreciation of anything,” Melanie added. “Yes, you can appreciate the building at face value but when you have a deeper understanding you have a deeper appreciation as well.”
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