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Chapter IX - May Eve Madness

Oct 3, 2013
Chapter IX - May Eve Madness
  • Chapter IX

    May Eve Madness is best described as an annual variety show. This Harbour event was originally conceived by Don and Ila McCoy who had a background and interest in theater and the performing arts. It had its origin in 1976 with a show presented at the Yacht Club (since renamed Harbour Inn) to raise money for the then financially ailing facility. The 1976 show showcased the talent of about 20 residents with mostly singing and a few dance numbers for variety.

    April 30, 1977 marked the first show called May Eve Madness the name being chosen for the evening before the first day of May and the beginning of Spring weather. Successive shows continued to be held the weekends closest to May 1 in celebration of Spring. The show ran for eight consecutive years.

    The show was moved out of the Yacht Club venue to the inside, covered ring at the Aquia Harbour Stables in 1979, in cooperation with the Aquia Harbour Saddle Club. This move enabled the show to accommodate growing audiences and provided the opportunity to perform on a stage with formal stage sets. The 20 x 20 foot stage was built and donated by J & J Construction with financial assistance from our developer Bill Roth, the AHPOA, Ginny Lee Mortgage Co., Hohmeyer and Bachman Realty Co., and Aquia Realty, all of Stafford, Virginia. Until the Aquia Harbour Police Department was established and could provide security, some participants and their children slept in the stables at night to protect the sound system and sets prior to opening night.

    Beginning in 1977, each show had a theme, such as Circus,Show Boat, County Fair, and Truck Stop. The casts of performers grew in size and the sets and costumes became quite elaborate. The wealth of talented residents willing to perform was amazing. But, whether talented or not, any resident wishing to perform in the shows was welcome and a place would be found for his or her performance. Each show had a band to accompany musical acts. Some memorable acts included a belly dancer, Ben Blankenship and his barber shop quartet, a chorus line of ladies doing the Can Can, a blue grass band, Jack Andrews buddies performing as Old McDonald's farm animals and Mad Hatters, Harvey Van Buren rendition of Ole Man River, and the McCoys songs from Broadway. Occasionally, members of North Stafford High School band and Madrigal Singers also performed. Behind the scenes, numerous residents provided technical support, like operating the lights, building sets, making costumes, handling tickets, ushering, serving as stage hands, and providing food and refreshments. The Boy Scouts helped direct traffic in the parking lot.

    May Eve Madness was never performed without giving the proceeds to some worthy cause. Proceeds were used to buy a piano and a sound system which became the property of the AHPOA. Donations were also made to the North Stafford High School Music Department. One cause was to help finance the constructing of an AHPOA Community Center. However, this cause turned out to be overly ambitious and never came to fruition. Funds collected for the community center were ultimately used by the AHPOA to purchase swimming pool furniture.

    These were the years when the Aquia Harbour community was small, having only 200 or so families and everybody knew everybody else. And everybody enjoyed the inside jokes performed onstage at May Eve Madness, as well as their friends, neighbors, and family members singing, dancing, and sometimes just being silly.

    May Eve Madness thrived as long as the community remained small with few other events or activities competing for the residents' time and attention. With the growth of the Harbour, interest and participation in the show eventually waned and the event was discontinued. Nevertheless, May Eve Madness takes its place as a significant event in the Harbour's History by helping establish a sense of community in the Harbour and providing an opportunity to make lasting friendships. Although May Eve Madness is gone, it is not forgotten. Those who participated in or attended the show still remember it fondly and look upon the early years when the show was produced as The Good Old Days.
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